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More than 25 million people in the U.S. suffer from diabetes. Most have type 2 diabetes, which usually develops later in life. But type 2 diabetes can be reversed.
CNN reports what some of us have known for a long time now – by making changes such as adding exercise and improving their diets, many type 2 diabetics can drop their glucose or sugar numbers back to the normal range, reversing their condition.
Diabetes is caused when your body isn’t making enough insulin, or it can’t properly use the insulin it is producing. As a result of this, too much sugar stays in the blood, which can cause serious problems.
According to CNN:
“People who carry excess weight, especially in their midsection, are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes because the fat in their tissues causes an imbalance of insulin in the body. The condition is called insulin resistance. If they can eliminate that fat by exercising and limiting carbohydrates and alcohol, then many can drop their glucose levels. And for some, they can drop them back into the normal range.”
Sources: CNN January 28, 2011
Dr. Mercola’s Comments:
I’ve been educating readers on how to reverse type 2 diabetes for years now, and conventional media has finally caught up with this rare report. The conventional drug treatment for this disease has done nothing but exacerbate the problem, and a large portion of the standard diabetes recommendations are downright disastrous. Together, drugs and improper dietary advice has caused diabetics to die prematurely.
According to the National Diabetes Fact Sheet, 2011 from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), type 1 and 2 diabetes now affects 25.8 million people, or 8.3 percent of the U.S. population. That number skyrockets in older age groups: nearly 27 percent of American seniors had diabetes in 2010. If you add in pre-diabetics (insulin resistance), the number jumps to more than 1 in 4 Americans across age groups!
While type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that shuts down your body’s insulin production, type 2 diabetes is directly caused by an unhealthy lifestyle. Type 1 diabetics do need to inject insulin several times a day to stay alive, but type 2 diabetics do NOT need drugs. In fact, taking insulin if you’re a type 2 diabetic is one of the WORST things you can do. Any physician recommending insulin regularly for type 2 diabetes suffers from profound ignorance of insulin physiology.
Your Diet Will Make You or Break You, Especially if You’re Diabetic
Type 2 diabetics need to address the root of the problem, which is insulin resistance – caused by faulty leptin and insulin signaling, which is directly attributable to incorrect diet and lack of exercise.
This is one of the very few conventional media reports I’ve seen that actually gets it right, and doesn’t advocate some sort of flawed dietary advice. The subject of their story, Jonathan Lugg, did exactly what needed to be done. He cut out most of the sugar and carbs from his diet (including alcohol, which also equates to sugar), and increased his protein intake, along with regular exercise.
Why does this work?
Because this combination corrects and restores your body’s insulin/leptin signaling.
For the last 50 years or so, Americans have followed the dietary recommendations of a high complex carbohydrate, low saturated fat diet – the exact opposite of what actually works! High complex carbohydrates include legumes, potatoes, corn, rice and grain products. Aside from legumes, you actually want to AVOID all the rest to prevent insulin resistance.
“Conventional wisdom” also states that table sugar is okay for diabetics, as long as you readjust your medications to compensate appropriately. And using toxic artificial sweeteners like aspartame in lieu of sugar also gets the green light, despite the evidence showing it rapidly stimulates the release of insulin and leptin (which diabetics need to avoid), and actually lead to greater weight gain than sugar…
Unfortunately, industry lobbying and various conflicts of interest have a lot to do with why diabetics have been given such flawed advice for so long.
I’ve explained the mechanics of insulin resistance and the role of leptin and insulin before, but let’s review it again.
- Leptin is a hormone produced in your fat cells. One of leptin’s primary roles is regulating your appetite and body weight. It tells your brain when to eat, how much to eat, and most importantly, when to stop eating. And leptin tells your brain what to do with the energy it has. Leptin is largely responsible for the accuracy of insulin signaling and whether or not you become insulin resistant.
- Insulin – Sugars and grains (complex carbs) raise your blood sugar. When this happens, insulin is released to direct the extra energy into storage. A small amount is stored as a starch called glycogen, but the majority is stored as your main energy supply – fat. Insulin’s major role is not to lower your blood sugar, but rather to store the extra energy for future times of need. Insulin's effect of lowering your blood sugar is merely a u201Cside effectu201D of this energy storage process.
As you can see, these two hormones work in tandem, creating either a vicious cycle or a health-promoting circle, depending on what you eat.
If you consume loads of sugars and grains, your blood sugar spikes will lead to increased insulin, which leads to increased fat storage. The extra fat then produces more leptin. The problem arises when your leptin levels become chronically elevated. At this point, you become leptin resistant – your body can no longer “hear” the hormonal signals telling your brain you’re full and should stop eating.
As your fat stores increase, your weight goes up, and insulin resistance sets in. Now your body has become “deaf” to the signals from both hormones (leptin and insulin), and disease follows; one of which is diabetes.
Why Conventional Diabetes Treatment is All Wrong
The mechanism described above explains why diabetes treatments concentrating merely on lowering blood sugar can actually worsen, rather than remedy the actual problem of metabolic miscommunication. This is also why taking insulin is one of the WORST things you can do for type 2 diabetes, since it will actually worsen your insulin and leptin resistance over time.
The only known way to reestablish proper leptin (and insulin) signaling is through proper diet.
Diabetes is a well-known risk factor for a number of other serious diseases, including heart attack and stroke, for which additional drug therapy is typically prescribed. However, four different studies published last year concluded these drug therapies are useless at best and dangerous at worst.
They found that:
- Using antihypertensives to lower systolic blood pressure does nothing to lower a diabetic’s risk of heart complications
- Diabetics get no health benefit from adding a drug to raise HDL “good” cholesterol levels if they're already taking a statin to lower their LDL cholesterol levels
- There were no heart benefits associated with two different drugs given to lower high blood sugar levels
Evidence is accumulating that diabetics may actually be worse off when treated with a number of diabetes medications. Again, the take-home message is that those with diabetes need to address their lifestyle. Losing excess weight, increasing activity levels, and improving nutrition will lead to better control of diabetes and lower your risk of associated diseases such as heart disease.
Top 10 Guidelines for Preventing and Reversing Type 2 Diabetes
Following these simple guidelines can help you do at least three things that are essential for successfully treating diabetes: recover your insulin/leptin sensitivity; help normalize your weight; and naturally normalize your blood pressure:
- Severely limit or eliminate grains and sugar from your diet, especially fructose which is far more detrimental than any other type of sugar. This is extremely important! Drinking just one sweetened drink a day can raise your diabetes risk by 25 percent compared to drinking one sugary drink per month, so you really need to evaluate your diet and look for hidden sources of sugar.
This also means avoiding most processed foods of all kinds as they are loaded with fructose. You may even need to avoid fruits until your blood sugar is under control.
- Following my nutritional type diet will help you do this without much fuss. I now offer the entire online nutritional typing test for free, which makes it even easier.
It's important to realize that while nearly all type 2 diabetics need to swap out their grains for other foods, some will benefit from using protein for the substitution, while others will benefit from using more vegetable-only carbohydrates. Therefore, along with reducing grains and sugars, determining your nutritional type will give you some insight into what foods you should use to replace them.
- Exercise is an absolutely essential factor, without which you’re highly unlikely to get this devastating disease under control. It is clearly one of the most potent ways to lower your insulin and leptin resistance. Make sure to incorporate high-intensity sprint-type exercises. These types of exercises boost fat loss, promote muscle building, and make your body produce human growth hormone (HGH) naturally. Typically, you’ll need large amounts of exercise until you get your blood sugar levels under control. You may need up to an hour or two a day. Naturally, you’ll want to gradually work your way up to that amount, based on your current level of fitness.
- Avoid trans fats as they will actually worsen insulin resistance.
- Consume saturated fats, such as grass-fed organic meat, raw dairy products, avocados, and coconut oil. These saturated fats provide a concentrated source of energy along with the building blocks for cell membranes and a variety of hormones and hormone-like substances. When you eat healthy fats as part of your meal, they slow down absorption so that you can go longer without feeling hungry. In addition, they act as carriers for important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.
There are more than a dozen different types of saturated fat, but you predominantly consume only three: stearic acid, palmitic acid and lauric acid. It's already been well established that stearic acid (found in cocoa and animal fat) has no effect on your cholesterol levels at all, and actually gets converted in your liver into the monounsaturated fat called oleic acid.
The other two, palmitic and lauric acid, do raise total cholesterol. However, since they raise u201Cgoodu201D cholesterol as much or more than u201Cbadu201D cholesterol, you're still actually lowering your risk of heart disease.
- Get plenty of omega-3 fats from a high-quality, animal-based source.
- Monitor your fasting insulin level. This is every bit as important as your fasting blood sugar. You’ll want your fasting insulin level to be between 2 to 4. The higher your level, the worse your insulin receptor sensitivity is. The recommendations mentioned above are the key steps you need to achieve this reduction.
- Get enough high-quality sleep every night.
- Optimize your vitamin D levels. Maintaining your vitamin D levels around 6080 ng/ml can significantly help control your blood sugar.
In addition, recent studies have revealed that getting enough vitamin D can also have a powerful effect on normalizing your blood pressure, and reduces your risk of heart disease.
Having optimal vitamin D levels can also prevent type 1 diabetes in your children if you are pregnant. It’s also vital for infants to receive the appropriate amounts of vitamin D in their early years for the same reasons. Ideally, you’ll want to do this by exposing a large amount of your skin to appropriate amounts of sunshine (or a safe tanning bed) on a regular basis, year-round. Your body can safely create up to 20,000 units of vitamin D a day this way. If neither of these options are available, you can use an oral vitamin D3 supplement. Just remember to get your levels tested regularly by a proficient lab to make sure you’re staying within the therapeutic range.
- Address any underlying emotional issues and/or stress. Non-invasive tools like the Emotional Freedom Technique/Meridian Tapping Technique can be extremely helpful and effective.
Rest assured that nearly 100 percent of type 2 diabetics can be successfully treated – eliminating the symptoms of diabetes, or the high risk of developing health complications – if you are willing to implement the lifestyle changes discussed above. And if you want to avoid becoming another statistic, these same steps will help you to stay healthy and diabetes-free.