Preventing or Reversing Diabetes (For Those Who Are Pre-Diabetic or Have Type-2 Diabetes)
What if there’s a simple dietary answer to preventing diabetes—even if you’re already pre-diabetic? And what if there’s a simple dietary solution to reverse your reliance on diabetes medications if you suffer from Type 2 Diabetes?
As you’re about to find out, there are indeed simple solutions for managing or even outright preventing diabetes.
Although the mechanisms that cause diabetes at the cellular level are complex, the dietary solutions to avoid diabetes are not as complicated as you might think. In fact, throughout this article, you’ll discover that managing diabetes comes down to the management of insulin and, by extension, blood sugar—and you’ll find that these conclusions are backed by modern peer-reviewed science as well.
Don’t believe it? At the end of the article, we’ll even look at some prominent people who have checked their own diabetes through the methods we’ve discussed here.
WHAT CAUSES DIABETES
Although many people turn to medication and insulin to manage their diabetes, you may not have to resort to these options if you know how to address the fundamental underlying causes of diabetes in the first place.
First, your prevention requires an understanding of the relationship between blood sugar and insulin.
The amount of sugar in your blood needs to be precisely tuned in order to avoid going too high or too low—either situation is dangerous for your body. To ensure that your blood sugar is in balance no matter what you eat, your body produces two key hormones and substances: insulin and glucagon. (There are a few other key hormones as well, but these are two of the most important).
- Glucagon increases blood sugar by helping your body release stored glucose into the bloodstream.
- Insulin decreases blood sugar by helping the sugar to be stored as body fat, removing it from the bloodstream.
In healthy people, these two hormones dance a careful waltz to ensure that your blood sugar stays within healthy ranges. When you eat sugar and glucose-laden carbohydrates, your insulin keeps it down.
For people who are pre-diabetic or suffer from Type-2 diabetes, the insulin gets out of whack.
INSULIN RESISTANCE: A Major Culprit in Diabetes Risk
When your blood sugar levels are high on a consistent basis, your body responds by consistently raising insulin.
Normally, this would not be a problem—except that the frequent exposure to insulin begins to wear on your cells. To put it simply, your body starts to grow “bored” with the regular amounts of insulin and requires more and more of it to affect the same changes to blood sugar.
This creates a condition called insulin resistance. In other words, your own body is literally becoming “numb” to the effect of insulin.
This is when your pancreas is forced to create more and more insulin until you’ve got a full-on metabolic disorder: diabetes. Now your body is incapable of regulating its own blood sugar and requires medication instead.
THE GLYCEMIC INDEX
The “Glycemic Index” is a list of foods ranked by their impact on your blood sugar. You’ll find that simple, sugary foods (and even many starches) tend to raise your blood sugar a lot, and whole, natural, fibrous foods (even when packed with sugar) tend to raise your blood sugar less.
If you suffer from diabetes, you’re already intimately familiar with the Glycemic Index and what it means for your blood sugar. But if you’re pre-diabetic, you might want to start paying attention as well. In fact, anyone who wants to be sure that their overall health is good will want to understand the Glycemic Index and why it’s so important.
Let’s take a look at some strategies for treating diabetes while keeping principles like the Glycemic Index in mind.
HOW TO PREVENT OR REVERSE DIABETES
There are essentially two ways people treat their diabetes:
- Insulin injections and medication. Of course, you generally don’t take the medicinal route if you’re only pre-diabetic. But many people with diabetes have such a problem with regulating their blood sugar that they require additional medicinal assistance.
- Dietary prevention. An emphasis on dietary prevention of high blood sugar is essential for both pre-diabetics and those who already suffer from Type II diabetes.
Whether or not you take medication to help manage your blood sugar, you stand to benefit from understanding the dietary restrictions that can help aid you in your quest to keep your blood sugar in check.
BEST STRATEGIES FOR ADDRESSING DIABETES
Because diabetes is fundamentally a metabolic problem with blood sugar and insulin, the strategies to prevent and reverse it should focus on the causes of these metabolic problems.
First, let’s take a look at the dietary restrictions you’ll want to adhere to in order to reduce your diet’s effect on your blood sugar:
- Reduced carbohydrate. Carbohydrates—whether you’re talking about table sugar or the starch in potatoes—are fundamentally constructed from the building blocks of sugar. Whether you eat cookies or bread, the carbohydrates in your diet ultimately end up as sugar in the blood. It’s that simple. That’s why effective diabetes diets should restrict the amount of carbohydrates you eat. A 2005 review found that the “low carbohydrate diet compares more favorable, at least over the short term, to traditional low fat for improving glycemic control, insulin sensitivity…”
- Reduce high-glycemic index foods. Not all carbohydrates raise your blood sugar to the same degree, which is why you can switch to high-fiber, low-glycemic index foods if you’re going to eat anything on the Glycemic Index. While these foods will still have an impact on your blood sugar, they won’t have nearly the insulin-stimulating effects that high “GI” foods will.
Generally, you can do a lot to fight off diabetes simply by focusing on the two strategies listed above. But there are some ways you can be even more proactive in the management of your blood sugar:
- Eating good fats. Fat has no impact on your blood sugar, which makes it a vitally important source of energy for diabetics. Fat from clean, whole sources like fish and pasture-raised animals can do a lot to keep your blood sugar stable while giving you the nutrition you need. What’s more, a study found that adding fat to some carbohydrates can reduce their blood sugar effect.
- Utilizing natural blood stabilizers. Cinnamon is one example of a food that is associated with better blood sugar levels. A study that was released in 2012 found that there was indeed a correlation with the use of cinnamon and blood sugar control—though you don’t want to overdo the cinnamon, either. Other potentially effective stabilizers include reishi mushrooms.
- Exercise. Exercise can have a positive effect on lowering blood sugar. If you do already suffer from Type II Diabetes, you’ll want to monitor your blood sugar throughout. For those who are pre-diabetic, exercise should be considered a key strategy for reducing blood sugar and therefore insulin.
If you’re proactive enough, there are plenty of natural ways—ways that don’t include medication—that allow you to manage your blood sugar and keep your insulin levels in check. This is not only important for people with Diabetes, but for those who want to ensure that they never develop diabetes, either.
CAN IT BE DONE? OF COURSE! HERE ARE SOME EXAMPLES
Can you ditch the diabetes without relying on medications? There are actually plenty of real-world examples of some pretty prominent people doing exactly that, or at least making a lot of headway by changing their diet. Here are some examples:
- Paula Deen: the celebrity chef famous for using high-calorie ingredients with reckless abandon discovered that she had developed Type 2 Diabetes. Rather than ditch all of her favorite foods, however, she realized that she only needed to cut her carbs. According to Deen, she cut her carbs to about a spoonful per meal—and, as People Magazine reported—she was able to drop 30 pounds even while dealing with diabetes.
- Drew Carey: The famous game show host and comedian dropped a lot of weight since his heaviest days, and reports are that he did it with a low-carb diet. What’s more, Drew Carey was also able to get himself off of his diabetes medications in the process, which means that losing weight and managing your blood sugar can (and should) go hand-in-hand.
- Randy Jackson: Although his interventions were drastic—including everything from diet to exercise to gastric bypass surgery—Randy Jackson got serious about his diabetes and even wrote about getting rid of sugar in the diet in order to prevent all sorts of complications from diabetes.
Those celebrities were not always “skinny”—they were real people with real problems with their blood sugar. If they can treat, prevent, and even reverse their diabetes, then that means the same options may be available to you. Talk to your doctor about the strategies you can use to get off of your diabetes medications. Or, if you’re pre-diabetic, take action now to ensure that you never have to worry about developing the disease yourself.