Five proven ways to reverse diabetes, say experts
If you're living with type 2 diabetes, there is hope: While the disease cannot be "cured", it can be put into remission.
"In the past, type 2 diabetes was thought to be a progressive disease with no hope for reversal or remission," says Adele Hite, PhD, MPH, RDN. "People were — and sometimes still are — taught to 'manage' type 2 diabetes, rather than to try to reverse the underlying process. But now people with type 2 diabetes can hope to regain their health!" Here are five ways to put type 2 diabetes into remission, according to doctors. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
Research shows a healthy low-carb diet can stabilize blood sugar. "Many people with type 2 diabetes are now choosing a diet based primarily on low-carb foods, and many clinicians are catching on as well," says Dr. Hite. "A person with type 2 diabetes will often notice that, starting with the first low-carb meal, their blood sugar improves. The need for medications, especially insulin, is usually dramatically reduced. Substantial weight loss and health marker improvements often follow. Finally, people usually feel better and have more energy and alertness. Choosing foods low in carbs is an effective way to help you control your blood sugar and is safe for most people. However, if you are taking medications for your diabetes, you must work with your healthcare provider to adjust your medications when you change your diet since the need for medications, especially insulin, may be greatly reduced."
Losing weight is a highly effective method of putting type 2 diabetes into remission. "The strongest evidence we have suggests that diabetes is mainly put into remission by weight loss," says Diabetes UK. "If you have obesity, you are more likely to put your diabetes into remission if you lose a substantial amount of weight – 15kg (33lbs) – as quickly and safely as possible following your diagnosis. If you do want to start losing weight quickly to work towards remission, it's important to talk to a healthcare professional before you begin, to make sure it's right for you. Also, you may need to reduce or stop any medications – insulin or sulphonylurea, for example – before you begin losing weight. Rapid weight loss is not advised if you are a healthy weight, under 18, pregnant, breastfeeding or have ever been diagnosed with an eating disorder."
Regular exercise is essential not only for good health, but for fighting insulin resistance. "By burning calories and reducing fat in your body, you reduce insulin resistance, which brings your blood sugar under control," says Narinder Bajwa, MD. "Building an exercise routine isn't always easy. So if you're struggling, sit down with your provider to create a plan that works best for you."
Try a Monitored Low-Calorie Diet
Research shows a diet of 800 calories a day can help reverse type 2 diabetes. "The low-calorie diet of 800 calories a day is made up of four soups or shakes. These have all the essential vitamins and minerals," says Diabetes UK. "Our findings show that, at 12 months, almost half of participants achieved remission to a nondiabetic state and off anti-diabetic drugs." It's very important that you should NOT try this without medical supervision.
Talk to your doctor
"It's imperative that you adhere to your physician's guidelines because it helps them keep an eye on your progress," says Dr. Bajwa. "It also gives them the opportunity to explore other possible avenues to help reduce your A1c [your average blood sugar over three months] levels."