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:
And Thats Just For Type 1
For type 2 diabetes, researchers have found evidence that beta cells do not burn out and die as previously thought, but instead revert to more primitive cells or ones with altered function, leading some scientists to believe that if they can prevent this dedifferentiation or somehow push dedifferentiated cells to turn back into beta cells, they could prevent or cure type 2.
Findings like these represent a shift in our thinking, says Richard J. Santen, MD, president of the Endocrine Society and professor of medicine, endocrinology, and metabolism at the University of Virginia School of Medicine in Charlottesville. We are learning much more about the biology of diabetes, and it is beginning to pay major dividends. As time goes on, our increased understanding will play a key role in altering the course of the disease.
Is There A Cure For Type 2 Diabetes
Theres no cure yet, but our scientists are working on a ground-breaking weight management study, to help people put their type 2 diabetes into remission.
Remission is when blood glucose levels are in a normal range again. This doesnt mean diabetes has gone for good. Its still really important for people in remission to get regular healthcare checks. But being in remission can be life changing.
Our ground-breaking study is called DiRECT, short for Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial, and it could completely change the way type 2 diabetes is treated in the future.
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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
What Is A Liquid Diet
As the name suggests, a liquid diet means you’re getting all, or at least most, of your calories from drinks. There are different kinds.
A clear liquid diet is something a doctor may put you on for a short while. Youre often asked to follow one before a medical procedure or if you’re having some digestive issues. You wont get the calories and nutrients you need with one of these diets, so you cant be on them for long and shouldnt do them without medical supervision.
People choose to go on other types of liquid diets for weight loss. Typically, theyre limited to fruit or vegetable juices, or shakes. These drinks may replace all of your meals or just one or two meals . You also get snacks on some of these plans.
These diets can cut the calories you take in and can help you lose weight, but you shouldnt stay on them for very long. Talk to your doctor before you go on a liquid diet. Youll need to make sure you get enough important nutrients, like fiber and protein.
Do liquid diets work for weight loss?
Liquid diets can work, like any diet that gives you fewer calories than you use. These diets can help by taking the guesswork out of portion control. Theyre also beneficial if you have trouble chewing food.
But the results may not last. When you drastically cut calories, your metabolism slows to save energy. Unless you change your eating habits, you’re likely to regain the weight you lost after you go off the liquid diet.
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Healthy Eating For Type 2 Diabetes
A dietitian or your doctor will be able to advise you on what to eat to meet your nutritional needs and control your blood sugar. Your doctor should be able to refer you to a registered dietitian for personalised advice.
Eating healthy foods with a low glycaemic index can help to optimise your blood sugar levels. This includes wholegrain breads, minimally processed breakfast cereals like rolled or steel cut oats, legumes, fruit, pasta and dairy products.
Avoid high-carbohydrate, low-nutrient foods such as cakes, lollies and soft drinks, and eat a diet low in saturated fat.
You should eat at regular times of the day and may also need snacks. Try to match the amount of food you eat with the amount of activity you do, so that you dont put on weight.
If you are overweight or obese, losing even 5-10 per cent of your body weight can significantly improve blood sugar control.
The Short Answer It Depends
Diabetes mellitus is not curable: There is no treatment that will eliminate the disease completely.
That being said, weve come a long way since the days before insulin, when diabetes was often a fatal disease.
There is growing evidence that certain treatments involving major lifestyle and behavior changes canreverse certain aspects of the disease. More on this below.
Reversing diabetes is not easy, and it requires true dedication. Research shows that the most lasting reversals only happen with significant and sustained lifestyle changes.
Heres a guide to what treatments are available for diabetes, and those that come as close as currently possible to a cure.
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Exercise And Weight Loss
An active lifestyle can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
A healthful diet and regular exercise are the first steps to managing type 2 diabetes. Weight loss is the cornerstone of treatment for people with this condition.
A study from 2010 has shown that increased physical activity and modest weight loss can reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes by up to 58 percent.
The article in Diabetes Care stated that people with type 2 diabetes should partake in 150 minutes a week of aerobic activities, including:
- brisk walking
- bicycle riding
Breaking physical activity into five 30-minute sessions throughout the week can help a person manage this amount of exercise. This may be enough to help the body manage diabetes symptoms.
What Does Type 2 Diabetes Mean
Type 2 diabetes is a long-term medical condition in which the body is not able to regulate blood sugar level because of the inability of the body to properly use insulin. The lack of normal insulin activity can be due to resistance of the body toward insulin, deficiency of insulin or excessive production of hormones that oppose the action of insulin in the body.
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Exceptions To The Rule
Professor Taylor caveats that all of this research is relevant for individuals with the usual form of type 2 diabetes. Rare forms of diabetes exist that can easily be mistaken for type 2 diabetes, including:
A) Pancreatic diabetesThis occurs after several cases of pancreatitis and is likely to be caused by pancreas damage.
B) Monogenic diabetesThis genetic form of diabetes is commonly found in slim individuals diagnosed in early adulthood who have a very strong family history of diabetes.
C) Slow onset type 1 diabetesSometimes type 1 diabetes develops slowly, appearing in adulthood, and these individuals usually need insulin therapy soon after being diagnosed.
Tips For Aging Well With Type 2 Diabetes
- Lean on your medical team, which may consist of an endocrinologist, a podiatrist, an RDE and a CDE, and other specialty health professionals. In many cases, your primary care physician will be your main healthcare provider for diabetes care.
- Stick to your medication regimen, and be open to potential medication adjustments.
- Take insulin if your doctor says you need it.
Everyday Health editors attend the AADEs annual meeting to connect with certified diabetes educators, registered dietitians, and people like you, who are looking for ways to better manage blood sugar, diet, medication, and more. Check out information on this years meeting in Houston.
The ADA is considered the leading nonprofit for type 1 and type 2 diabetes education. The ADA’s free yearlong program Living With Diabetes offers top-of-the-line resources for anyone new to living with diabetes. Youll get access to their newsletter, expert Q& A session, and online support system, among other perks.
One of our favorite features from the AHA is a go-to resource for preventing heart disease: Know Diabetes by Heart. The ADA-supported initiative lays out a step-by-step guide for keeping your heart healthy while living with diabetes.
For more on the association between diabetes and heart disease, check out our article “Heart Disease The Diabetes Connection.”
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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.
Diabetes: Will It Ever Be Cured
While the end to diabetes is still in the distant future, strides in genetic research are showing promise.
Immunology and beta cell function have long been two core areas of research in the hunt for a cure for diabetes. But in recent years, scientists have made discoveries that could lead to genetic therapies that allow the bodys own cells to combat and even rid itself of the disease. Researchers are learning to turn gut cells into insulin-producing cells, replenish beta cells once thought decimated beyond hope, and use viral vectors to deliver genes into beta cells that may protect them from attack by the immune system.
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What Health Problems Can People With Diabetes Develop
Following a good diabetes care plan can help protect against many diabetes-related health problems. However, if not managed, diabetes can lead to problems such as
- heart disease and stroke
- gum disease and other dental problems
- sexual and bladder problems
Many people with type 2 diabetes also have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease . Losing weight if you are overweight or obese can improve NAFLD. Diabetes is also linked to other health problems such as sleep apnea, depression, some types of cancer, and dementia.
You can take steps to lower your chances of developing these diabetes-related health problems.
Favorite Alternative Medicine Resource
Want to give the ketogenic diet a whirl to better manage diabetes? This pioneering program from the Cleveland Clinic offers a way to do just that, with trained counselors who can help you adjust your diet and medication along the way.
The FOMO on diabetes products ends now. This feature by the magazine and website Diabetes Forecast rounds up the best of the best in CGMs , glucagon kits, insulin pens, and more.
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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.
Is Type 2 Diabetes Reversible
Type 2 diabetes is a serious, long-term medical condition. It develops mostly in adults but is becoming more common in children as the rate at which people are developing obesity rises across all age groups.
Several factors contribute to type 2 diabetes. Being overweight or having obesity are the biggest risk factors.
Type 2 diabetes can be life-threatening. But if treated carefully, it can be managed or even reversed.
Healthline has partnered with Profile by Sanford to bring you more information about how to manage diabetes for better health through diet, exercise, and more.
Treatment for type 2 diabetes includes:
- monitoring your blood sugar levels
- using medications or insulin when needed
Doctors also recommend losing weight through diet and exercise. Some diabetes medications have weight loss as a side effect, which can also help to treat or manage diabetes.
To help manage your diabetes try:
- eating a healthy, well-balanced diet
- losing excess weight
Weight loss is the primary factor in those who have experienced a reversal of type 2 diabetes, as excess fat in the body affects the production of insulin and how its used.
In a small 2011 study, 11 people with type 2 diabetes drastically reduced their caloric intake for 8 weeks, reversing the course of their condition. Researchers noted that this is a small sample, and the participants had lived with the condition for only a few years.
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Why Would A Gastric Bypass Cure Diabetes
Even though weve been observing the effect for over 60 years, the truth is we still dont know how this operation exactly works. One theory is that because the patient loses weight, the body cells sensitivity to insulin increases. Another theory is that gastric bypass surgery encourages the production of certain intestinal hormones, which increases the production of insulin. A third branch of thought is that the procedure interferes with the absorption of bile acids and salts and accordingly decrease the absorption of harmful sugars and carbohydrates.
But these are still emerging theories, and of course it could be multi-factorial effects of this procedure on human body metabolism.