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YES! And here’s how:
First, let’s define what reversing diabetes actually means (also referred to as “diabetes remission”:
A true definition would be getting the HgA1C < 6.4%. (Prediabetes is defined as having an A1C of 5.7-6.3%, Type 2 Diabetes is diagnosed when A1C is 6.4% or greater). However, some people would consider being able to control their blood sugars “medication-free” just as good.
Understanding what causes diabetes is the key to understanding how to reverse it. Type 2 Diabetes is related to excess weight gain (could be genetic or from eating too much sugar) which can cause fat accumulation in the liver and in the pancreas. This is what causes insulin resistance – meaning insulin doesn’t work as well as it should.
There is a lot of evidence that weight loss can reverse type 2 diabetes. This means the obvious steps of exercising more as well as eating less carbs and sugar. Weight loss is the primary driver in diabetes reversal since this is critical to reducing the excess body fat that affects insulin function.
In a new study (https://www.thelancet.com/journals/landia/article/PIIS2213-8587(19)30068-3/fulltext), a weight management program provided by a dietitian or nurse showed the following diabetes reversal/remission rates based on amount of weight lost over 2 years:
No remission in 76 participants who gained weight
7% of 89 participants who maintained 0-5kg weight loss
34% of 56 participants with 5-10 kg loss
57% of 28 participants with 10-15 kg loss
86% of 36 participants who lost 15kg or more.
This shows how the more weight you lose, the higher the likelihood of reversing diabetes.
So how many carbs should you eat? This topic certainly seems up for debate. There are so many different diet recommendations from plant-based diets to ketogenic diets to intermittent fasting - and all claim to be the best one. Remember, carbohydrates turn into sugar in the body. The best idea is to start small – while its recommended to eat some carbs, almost EVERYONE benefits from cutting down on the amount of carbohydrates and sugars in our day (https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/good-carbs-bad-carbs#section7). A great place to start is by eliminating or cutting back on the “bad carbs” such as sugary drinks, fruit juices, white breads, pastries, cookies, cakes, ice cream, candies, chocolates, french fries, and potato chips. Specifically, watch out for foods and beverages with fructose. What is cutting back? Trying eating only ½ of the amount of these carbs and sugars you would normally eat, for starters.
OTHER NATURAL THERAPIES
There are various herbs, vitamins, and minerals that act as natural insulin sensitizers. This means your insulin works better, and the pancreas doesn’t have to fight as hard to over-produce insulin as it tries to combat insulin resistance (which can cause the pancreas to “wear out” over time, worsening diabetes). Cinnamon, Magnesium, Chromium, Banaba, and Milk Thistle can be helpful. The key is looking for a supplement that will provide you with a high enough dose to see benefits, since most combination products only contain trace amounts. Research supports the following daily doses for effects on insulin function and blood glucose levels:
- CINNAMON 500 mg
- BANABA 50 mg
- CHROMIUM PICOLINATE 1000 mcg
- MILK THISTLE (silymarin) 200 mg
- MAGNESIUM OXIDE 100 mg