The Science Of Diabetes Reversal
Research shows that low-carb diets are a safe and effective option for treating type 2 diabetes. This body of evidence includes systematic reviews and meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials .19
A meta-analysis from 2017 found that low-carb diets reduced the need for diabetes medication and also improved certain bio-markers in people with type 2 diabetes. This included reductions in hemoglobin A1c , triglycerides, and blood pressure; and increases in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, sometimes called the good cholesterol.20
Additionally, in a non-randomized trial from Virta Health, the intervention group of subjects with type 2 diabetes followed a very low-carb diet and received remote monitoring by physicians and health coaches. After one year, 94% of those in the low-carb group had reduced or stopped their insulin use. Furthermore, 25% had an HgbA1c in the normal range without needing any medications, suggesting their disease was in remission, and an additional 35% did the same with only metformin.21
At the two-year mark, a high proportion of subjects continued to demonstrate sustained improvements in glycemic control.22
This evidence suggests that type 2 diabetes does not have to be a progressive and irreversible disease. It is clearly a treatable disease.
The Science Behind Diabetes Reversal Through Diet
Two types of dietary intervention have been shown to have the potential to reverse type 2 diabetes. These are extreme calorie restriction , and a very low carbohydrate diet, commonly known as a keto diet.
In a typical VLCD, total calories are restricted to anywhere between 600 and 800 calories per day. With such limited energy available from food, the body turns from using dietary carbohydrates for fuel and instead begins to use fat for energya state known as ketosis.
In ketosis , the body converts fats to something called ketone bodies which it then uses for energy rather than glucose derived from carbohydrates. This results in rapid weight loss, beginning with fat in and around the liver and pancreas. This loss of fat in and around theses vital organs is what leads to remission of type 2 diabetes.
In a very low-carb diet, the body also enters ketosis . In this case, total calories arent restricted, but carbohydrates are. The missing carbohydrates are replaced with dietary fat. And without the constant influx of carbs, the body must turn to fat for fuel.
Since fat doesnt cause the body to produce insulin, insulin levels drop. Fat has little effect on blood sugar, so blood glucose also drops. And since it takes far less fat than carbs to make us feel full, most people eat much less on a keto diet than on the standard carb-filled diet. Not surprisingly, this results in weight lossincluding loss of fat in and around the liver and pancreas.
How Do You Get Type 2 Diabetes
An individual can get type 2 diabetes because of a number of factors that reduce insulin action or quantity in the body. The disease involves complex interactions between the environment and genes and confounded by a diabetogenic lifestyle . Some studies propose that pollutants in the environment may play a role in the development and progression of type 2 diabetes mellitus.;
Some of the main risk factors causing type 2 diabetes are:
- 45 years of age and older
- Areas of darkening and thickening of skin especially on the back of the neck and armpits
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British Columbia Specific Information
Diabetes is a condition where your body is not able to regulate levels of glucose in your blood. This results in too much or too little sugar in your blood. There are 3 types of diabetes: type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes occurs when your pancreas stops producing insulin. If you have type 1 diabetes, you will need to use an insulin injector to make sure your body gets enough insulin. For more information about type 1 diabetes, visit the Diabetes Canada Living with Type 1 Diabetes web page.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when your body does not respond properly to the insulin it produces. Treatment includes medication and lifestyle changes to your diet and exercise routine. To learn more about how healthy eating can help you manage your blood sugar, see our Healthy Eating Diabetes and Hypoglycemia web page. For more information about diabetes, visit the Diabetes Canada Living with Type 2 Diabetes web page.
Gestational diabetes may occur during pregnancy if your level of blood glucose becomes too high. This may cause problems for you and your baby. Controlling blood sugar levels with treatment and a healthy lifestyle will minimize the risks. To learn more about healthy eating with gestational diabetes, see our Healthy Eating Guidelines for Women with Gestational Diabetes web page. For more information about diabetic screening when pregnant, visit BC Womens Hospital Diabetes and Pregnancy web page.
Who Can Help Me Reverse Diabetes
People with diabetes should start with their primary care provider for guidance on reversing the condition and diabetes care. Their provider may refer them to a Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support service. A DSMES healthcare team includes diabetes educators such as doctors, nurses, dietitians, pharmacists, and other healthcare providers with special training and experience. The team helps diabetes patients to learn more about the condition and diabetes management.;
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Can You Reverse Diabetes
Diabetes occurs when your blood sugar levels are too high. Blood glucose is the bodys primary source of energy. Its absorbed from food and enters cells with the help of the hormone insulin, which the pancreas makes.
More than 34 million Americans have diabetes, and around 90%-95% of them have Type 2. It mostly affects people over the age of 45, but there is increasingly a higher incidence in children and young adults.
The Short Answer It Depends
Diabetes mellitus is not curable: There is no treatment that will eliminate the disease completely.
That being said, weve come a long way since the days before insulin, when diabetes was often a fatal disease.
There is growing evidence that certain treatments involving major lifestyle and behavior changes canreverse certain aspects of the disease. More on this below.
Reversing diabetes is not easy, and it requires true dedication. Research shows that the most lasting reversals only happen with significant and sustained lifestyle changes.
Heres a guide to what treatments are available for diabetes, and those that come as close as currently possible to a cure.
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Managing Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that often develops during childhood. It occurs when the body mistakenly attacks the beta cells of the pancreas, removing their ability to produce the insulin that the body needs to use blood sugars correctly.
Receiving a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes can be daunting, yet many people manage the condition well, keeping symptoms and severe complications at bay.
The Future Of Diabetes Treatment: Is A Cure Possible
Diabetes has become an epidemic, sentencing over 422 million people worldwide to lifelong medication. Science is striving to find a diabetes treatment that can cure this chronic disease, but how close are we?
Diabetes is the major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attack, and stroke. The number of people affected by all types of diabetic disorders is now over four times higher than just 40 years ago. This has led the World Health Organization to consider diabetes an epidemic, predicting it will soon be the seventh biggest cause of death worldwide.
Despite its huge impact, there is still no cure for any type of diabetes. Most treatments help patients manage the symptoms to a certain extent, but diabetics still face multiple long-term health complications.
Diabetes affects the regulation of insulin, a hormone required for glucose uptake in cells, resulting in high levels of blood sugar. While there are some similarities in symptoms, the two main types of diabetes develop in different ways. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that destroys insulin-producing beta-pancreatic cells. In contrast, patients with type 2 diabetes develop insulin resistance, meaning that it has less and less effect on reducing blood sugar.;
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Statistics And Facts About Diabetes
Diabetes, Credits: pixabay
- The number of people with diabetes rose from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014.
- The global prevalence of diabetes* among adults over 18 years of age rose from 4.7% in 1980 to 8.5% in 2014 .
- Between 2000 and 2016, there was a 5% increase in premature mortality from diabetes.
- Diabetes prevalence has been rising more rapidly in low- and middle-income countries than in high-income countries.
- Diabetes is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke and lower limb amputation.
- In 2016, an estimated 1.6 million deaths were directly caused by diabetes. Another 2.2 million deaths were attributable to high blood glucose in 2012.
- A healthy diet, regular physical activity, maintaining a normal body weight and avoiding tobacco use are ways to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.
Tests For Type 1 Diabetes
There are a few tests a doctor may perform to diagnose type 1 diabetes.;
This test looks for specific antibodies that the body makes when it attacks the beta cells in your pancreas. This test is usually given to direct relatives of people with type 1 diabetes because it can help to predict whether or not someone may develop type 1 diabetes up to one year before they have any symptoms.;
This test may also be given to people with close relatives who have type 1 diabetes. It can help to identify if someone has a genetic predisposition to getting the disease.
Fasting plasma glucose test
This test checks your blood sugar levels. The fasting test is taken after you have not eaten anything for eight hours. There is another non-fasted version of this test. Either one can give a snapshot of blood sugar levels to help determine if you have diabetes.
Hemoglobin A1c test
This test measures how much glucose is found in your red blood cells. High glucose levels shown in this test can be a sign of type 1 diabetes.
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What Is The Best Way To Reverse Diabetes
The first step in diabetes remission for those with prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes is blood glucose control. Thats done through medication if needed, eating healthy food, and losing extra weight to help the body respond more effectively to insulin. These actions can help reverse insulin resistance and prevent or delay Type 2 diabetes in people with prediabetes.
The Diabetes Prevention Program , an ongoing research study started in 1996 and funded by the National Institutes of Health, shows that people at a high risk of diabetes reduced their chance of developing the disease by losing 5%-7% of their starting weight. For someone who weighs 200 pounds, thats 10 to 14 pounds. People who participated in the study lost weight by changing their diet and exercising more.
Diabetes: Will It Ever Be Cured
While the end to diabetes is still in the distant future, strides in genetic research are showing promise.
Immunology and beta cell function have long been two core areas of research in the hunt for a cure for diabetes. But in recent years, scientists have made discoveries that could lead to genetic therapies that allow the bodys own cells to combat and even rid itself of the disease. Researchers are learning to turn gut cells into insulin-producing cells, replenish beta cells once thought decimated beyond hope, and use viral vectors to deliver genes into beta cells that may protect them from attack by the immune system.
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A Diet That Helps You Manage Or Reverse Your Condition Should Include:
Healthy food, Credits: pexels
Your doctor can help you plan a healthful and balanced diet, or they can refer you to a dietitian.
- reduced calories, especially those from carbohydrates
- healthful fats
- a variety of fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables
- whole grains
- lean proteins, such as poultry, fish, low-fat dairy, soy, and beans
- limited alcohol
Exercise And Weight Loss
An active lifestyle can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
A healthful diet and regular exercise are the first steps to managing type 2 diabetes. Weight loss is the cornerstone of treatment for people with this condition.
A study from 2010 has shown that increased physical activity and modest weight loss can reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes by up to 58 percent.
The article in Diabetes Care stated that people with type 2 diabetes should partake in 150 minutes a week of aerobic activities, including:
- brisk walking
- bicycle riding
Breaking physical activity into five 30-minute sessions throughout the week can help a person manage this amount of exercise. This may be enough to help the body manage diabetes symptoms.
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Is There A Cure For Diabetes
There is no known cure for type 2 diabetes. But it can be controlled. And in some cases, it goes into remission.
Keys to control
For some people, a diabetes-healthy lifestyle is enough to control their blood sugar levels. That means losing weight if you are overweight, eating healthy foods, and being more active. But most people with type 2 diabetes also need to take one or more medicines or insulin.
What Is A Fast Anyway
Strictly speaking, fasting is abstaining from all food for a prescribed period of time. Its where the word breakfast comes from; we have dinner, then we abstain from food until we wake up the next day and eat our morning mealwhen we break our fast. Historically, people might also fast from certain foods. For instance, until the mid-twentieth century Roman Catholics fasted from meat on Fridays.
The modern definition is a bit more slippery, but generally means to abstain from solid food for a prescribed period of time, usually anywhere from 24 hours to 7 days. Some fasts allow fruit juice, tea or coffee. Some fasts ask you to consume smoothies made with special ingredients. A few ask you to abstain from all but one selected food.
Whatever the rules for the specific fast you undertake, all forms of fasting do one of two things: they either force you to focus very tightly on what, when, and how youre eating, or they take food completely out of the picture so that you dont have to worry about it. The first can be a good thing for anyone with a problem dietwhich includes everyone with type 2 diabetes. The second, not so much.
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What Tips Have People Found Helpful
Marcia;Kadanoff was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in June 2017. With the help of diaTribe and Adam Brown’s book, Bright Spots & Landmines, she;discovered that type 2 diabetes can be put into remission;with lifestyle changes.;Here are some habits that Marcia found useful when making lifestyle changes to reach remission:
Check blood sugar frequently with a meter or ideally a continuous glucose monitor to see how your blood sugar responds to different foods and eating styles. Marcia uses FreeStyle Libre and the LibreLink app.
Establish a low carb, healthy fat way of eating. Incorporating fats like avocado, unprocessed nut and olive oils, cheese, and Greek yogurt reduced her cravings for unhealthy foods.
Have low-carb, go-to snacks on hand; Marcia likes macadamia nuts.
Take a walk and drink a glass of water when blood sugar levels are high .
Aim for 10,000 steps per day, and try not to let more than two days in a row of inactivity go by. Walking is the most underrated exercise strategy!
Aim for seven or more hours of sleep, including going to sleep at a regular hour and waking up at the same time each day.
Finding additional motivation besides weight loss, such as having more energy throughout the day or not wanting to rely on medications.
To Fast Or Not To Fast
The dietary interventions above have been clinically shown to reverse type 2 diabetes in anywhere from 40% to 80% of people. Fasting too restricts calories and carbs. So will fasting have the same effect as these diets? Probably not.
While for a handful of people a fast of five to seven days might be enough to bring fasting glucose levels back into the normal range, thats only the tip of the iceberg. Studies show that complete reversal through calorie restriction takes roughly eight weeks, and reversal via a keto diet may take anywhere from six to eighteen months. A fast of more than a few days, however, is impossible and in fact is downright dangerous.
The bottom line? You can reverse type 2 diabetes through diet, but fasting is probably not the answer. Instead, look into a VLCD-based program such as the DWD Lifestyle Blueprint or plan your own ketogenic diet. Once you have reversed your diabetes you can revisit the topic of fastingparticularly intermittent fastingas a tool for maintaining health.
How Can I Get Rid Of Diabetes Permanently Topic Guide
- Diabetes insipidus is a rare condition in which the body produces too much urine. There are two main forms of diabetes insipidus: Central diabetes insipidus and Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus. Diabetes insipidus is not the same as diabetes mellitus or diabetes.