The Story Of The Pima Indians
Research has found3 that the Pima Indians are a perfect example of how powerfully our environment can dictate who gets obese and diabetic, and who doesnt.
Today, two main groups of Pima Indians live on earth. The first group lives high in the Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico a rural environment. The second group lives in Arizona on the Gila River reservation. Both groups are thought to be genetically identical. Scientists estimate they were separated about 700 to 1,000 years ago. For DNA evolutionary development, thats a mere pittance of time.
But physically, the two groups today could not be more different.
The Science Of Diabetes Reversal
In 2019, the American Diabetes Association stated that reducing carbohydrate intake was the most effective nutritional strategy for improving blood sugar control in those with diabetes.18
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.
Tips To Help You Reverse Diabetes By Losing Weight
To increase your chances of weight loss success, consider the following:
1. Whats your motivation? Make sure its positive. Phrases like I can increase my life expectancy, enjoy better life as I get older, and take less medication will show you the bigger picture to help keep you on track, says McKittrick.
2. Change habits gradually. Its a lot to ask yourself to start going to the gym six days a week if you dont exercise now. A better option may be first building activity into your day, says McKittrick. Exercise is such an important component to prevent type 2 diabetes or put it into remission. It encourages muscle cells to suck in sugar for energy, which helps lower blood glucose, she explains. If you havent developed a full-blown exercise regimen, make part of your commute a walking commute, commit to taking your dog out for two short walks per day, or get out during lunch and walk.
3. Think about your diet. An eating plan that works for one person might not for another. For instance, you may thrive on a very low-carb diet, while someone else needs some healthy carbs, like quinoa, at their meals to feel satisfied, points out McKittrick. Working with a registered dietitian specializing in diabetes can help you fine tune your diet, she says.
6. Monitor yourself. Its crucial to keep your blood sugar in check. Monitoring can give you important feedback on how your actions affect your levels, McKittrick says.
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Should We Pick Up Plows And Return To The 19th Century
Of course not. But we can learn a lesson from the Amish in the Lancaster area of Pennsylvania, notes Gomer.
They shun all modern conveniences. Theyre physically active throughout the day, growing and producing their own foods in much the same way their ancestors did 150 years ago. While the Amish diet is a lot higher in fatty dairy products than the Pritikin Eating Plan or the U.S. Dietary Guidelines would recommend, only about 3% of the Amish are overweight, and almost none is obese.
Can I Reverse Insulin Resistance
Insulin resistance has several causes and contributing factors. While lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly and losing excess weight, can increase insulin sensitivity and decrease insulin resistance, not all causes are reversible.
Talk you your healthcare provider about what you can do to best manage insulin resistance.
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Giving Patients A Choice
Doctors stress that patients should be supported in making diabetes management a priorityhowever they choose to do soregardless of whether the aim is remission.
The majority of patients dont achieve remission, but the goal is to keep their blood sugar under good control, says Dr. Gwendolyne Jack, endocrinologist and clinician-educator at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City. To achieve this, she says, some patients will continue to need lifelong medication, including insulin. Thats OK. That is not a failure on their part, Jack says.
But the impact of a diagnosis on patientsand the desire many patients have to control blood sugar without medication or insulinshouldnt be ignored, Taylor and others emphasize. Survey results published in Diabetic Medicine in February 2018 show this is the No. 1 question patients want researchers to answer about the disease: Can Type 2 diabetes be cured or reversed, what is the best way to achieve this, and is there a point beyond which the condition cant be reversed?
Taylor acknowledges that many people with the chronic condition see it as something the doctor will deal with patients often get help with controlling blood sugar, but their goal isnt remission. However, at least 40% of people with Type 2 diabetes hate their condition and would go to lengths to get rid of it, he says. They describe the moment of diagnosis as a hammer blow. Many doctors do not understand that.
What Are The Complications Of Insulin Resistance
The majority of the complications that can result from insulin resistance are related to the development of vascular complications due to elevated blood sugar levels and elevated insulin levels .
Not everyone who has insulin resistance will have complications. If youve been diagnosed with insulin resistance, Type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome, its important to see your healthcare provider regularly and follow your treatment plan to try to prevent these complications.
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Carbohydrates And Blood Sugar
Carbohydrates, or carbs, usually come from starches or sugars and turn into glucose when they are digested. When glucose enters the bloodstream, its called blood glucose, or blood sugar.
The more carbohydrate eaten in a meal, the more sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream and usually the higher the blood sugar will be.
Although very few people would agree that sugary foods are good for you, some foods that we think of as healthy such as fruit can have a lot of sugar. And many people dont know that starchy foods such as bread, rice, pasta, and potatoes quickly turn to sugar when you digest them.10
For some people, eating a potato could raise blood sugar as much as eating 9 teaspoons of sugar! It can be hard to predict exactly how someones blood sugar will respond, as this will likely vary based on genetics and baseline insulin sensitivity.11 By testing your blood sugar before eating and every 30-minutes after eating for up to two hours, you can quickly learn how different foods affect your blood glucose level. The results may surprise you!
Chart: Dr. David Unwin
Type 2 Diabetes Is A Reversible Condition
- People with type 2 diabetes can reverse the condition through a low calorie diet.
A body of research putting people with Type 2 diabetes on a low calorie diet has confirmed the underlying causes of the condition and established that it is reversible.
Professor Roy Taylor at Newcastle University, UK has spent almost four decades studying the condition and will present an overview of his findings at the European Association For The Study Of Diabetes in Lisbon.
In the talk he will be highlighting how his research has revealed that for people with Type 2 diabetes:
- Excess calories leads to excess fat in the liver
- As a result, the liver responds poorly to insulin and produces too much glucose
- Excess fat in the liver is passed on to the pancreas, causing the insulin producing cells to fail
- Losing less than 1 gram of fat from the pancreas through diet can re-start the normal production of insulin, reversing Type 2 diabetes
- This reversal of diabetes remains possible for at least 10 years after the onset of the condition
“I think the real importance of this work is for the patients themselves,” Professor Taylor says. “Many have described to me how embarking on the low calorie diet has been the only option to prevent what they thought — or had been told — was an inevitable decline into further medication and further ill health because of their diabetes. By studying the underlying mechanisms we have been able to demonstrate the simplicity of type 2 diabetes.”
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What Is Insulin Resistance
Insulin resistance, also known as impaired insulin sensitivity, happens when cells in your muscles, fat and liver dont respond as they should to insulin, a hormone your pancreas makes thats essential for life and regulating blood glucose levels. Insulin resistance can be temporary or chronic and is treatable in some cases.
Under normal circumstances, insulin functions in the following steps:
- Your body breaks down the food you eat into glucose , which is your bodys main source of energy.
- Glucose enters your bloodstream, which signals your pancreas to release insulin.
- Insulin helps glucose in your blood enter your muscle, fat and liver cells so they can use it for energy or store it for later use.
- When glucose enters your cells and the levels in your bloodstream decrease, it signals your pancreas to stop producing insulin.
For several reasons, your muscle, fat and liver cells can respond inappropriately to insulin, which means they cant efficiently take up glucose from your blood or store it. This is insulin resistance. As a result, your pancreas makes more insulin to try to overcome your increasing blood glucose levels. This is called hyperinsulinemia.
As long as your pancreas can make enough insulin to overcome your cells weak response to insulin, your blood sugar levels will stay in a healthy range. If your cells become too resistant to insulin, it leads to elevated blood glucose levels , which, over time, leads to prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes.
You May Need Medication
If you are at high risk of developing diabetes, your doctor may recommend medication to help you manage it. Medications to control cholesterol and high blood pressure may also be prescribed.
If youre concerned about having prediabetes or are experiencing symptoms of diabetes, its a good idea to contact your primary care physician for advice.
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What Is Diabetes And Who Should Care
Diabetes is a problem of energy processing. At the root of the problem is insulin, a hormone made in the pancreas, an organ in the abdomen.
Insulin helps the body regulate the amount of glucose in the body. This is how the body knows how much glucose is needed for energy now, and how much needs to be saved for later.
There are four main types of diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes
Other rare types of diabetes
All have a different problem with insulin, but the end result is the same: harmful, high blood glucose levels in the blood.
Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are chronic conditions. This means that people with diabetes need to live with the condition and usually take medications for the rest of their lives. Diabetes can also cause a myriad of other health problems, so the emotional, physical, and financial costs of living with diabetes really add up.
Type 1 diabetes affects fewer than 5% of people with diabetes. It is usually diagnosed in childhood or the teenage years, and there is nothing you can do to prevent it.
Type 2 diabetes is much more common, affecting about 95% of all people with diabetes. The pancreas often produces enough insulin, but the body doesnt recognize it. Many people with T2D have a family history of diabetes, but with healthy lifestyle changes, the condition can be prevented or slowed down.
How Do You Reverse Diabetes
The strongest evidence we have at the moment suggests that type 2 diabetes is mainly put into remission by weight loss. Remission is more likely if you lose weight as soon as possible after your diabetes diagnosis. However, we do know of people who have put their diabetes into remission 25 years after diagnosis.
If you have obesity, your diabetes is more likely to go into remission if you lose a substantial amount of weight 15kg as quickly and safely as possible following diagnosis.
Its important to know that not everyone who loses this much weight will be able to put their diabetes into remission. But losing 15kg comes with a lot of health benefits, even if you dont lead to remission. Research shows that getting support to lose just 5% of your body weight can have huge benefits for your health. Losing extra weight can lead to:
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What Is Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes, the most well-known type of diabetes, is a sickness that happens when your blood glucose, likewise called glucose, is excessively high. Blood glucose is primarily your principle wellspring of vitality and comes predominantly from the food you eat.
The pancreas made the hormone insulin that undoubtedly assists glucose with getting into your cells to be utilized for vitality. Firstly, your body doesnt produce enough insulin in type 2 diabetes or, secondly, doesnt use insulin well.
An excessive amount of glucose at that point remains in your blood, and insufficient arrives at your cells. Undoubtedly, you can find a way to forestall or defer the improvement of type 2 diabetes.
Safety Of Nutritional Ketosis
Reversing diabetes with nutritional ketosis is fairly simple in theory, but very complex in practice. A ketogenic diet causes rapid improvements in blood glucose, blood pressure, and changes in how the body processes electrolytes and minerals in important ways. To avoid problems with over-medication, these changes typically require daily physician monitoring of your bodyâs response to carbohydrate restriction in order to deliver prompt modifications and reductions in diabetes and hypertension medications. In addition, certain conditions such as prolonged QT-interval can make nutritional ketosis dangerous. This condition is uncommon, potentially linked to magnesium depletion, and can only be diagnosed with an EKG.
Citations and Footnotes
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So What Foods Increase Insulin Production
All carbohydrates to some degree at least will raise your blood insulin levels. That is why I consider type 2 diabetes a form of carbohydrate intolerance. Protein can also raise levels but to a much lesser degree. The only macronutrient that keeps your insulin levels and, therefore, your blood sugar stable is FAT! Therefore, if you are trying to reduce insulin levels, you need to reduce your amount of certain carbohydrates and replace them instead with healthy, natural fats.
What does that mean in terms of actual FOOD CHOICES though?
When I say healthy, natural fat think nuts and seeds, avocados, omega 3 fats , extra virgin olive oil and whole eggs.
And when I talk about reducing certain carbohydrates, I mainly mean reducing your intake of refined carbohydrates such as pasta, rice and bread. Non starchy vegetables are fine and can be eaten in abundance. Many fruits are packed with carbohydrates, so if youre trying to reduce your carb intake, try and limit your intake to low-carb fruit, such as rhubarb, watermelon, berries, peaches and blackberries.
It is really important to say that I do not believe that there is one perfect diet for everyone. Different people respond to different diets.
However, if you have a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes or if you have been told you are at high risk or if you have significant abdominal obesity, here are 11 ways to start reversing the effects immediately:
The Fattest People On Earth
The Pimas of Arizona are among the fattest groups of people in the world. The only populations more obese are people living on some isolated Pacific Islands. On the Gila River reservation in Arizona, children as young as six and seven are so obese they cannot run. They lumber across baseball fields, out of breath before they get to first base.
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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.
Moderate Your Starch Consumption
Starches are separated into glucose and different sugars by processing. Thus, the more starches you eat, the higher your glucose will be. To control diabetes, you likewise need to maintain your starch consumption.
Restricting your starch will diminish the weight on your body to create enough insulin and decrease glucose levels.
It is likewise essential to take a base measure of sugar, at any rate, to guarantee your metabolic cycles continue running. So balance is significant, excessively little or a lot of, can both be tricky.
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