Reversing diabetes, a technical term, describes interventions to reduce dependency on type 2 diabetes medications, effectively reversing the progression of the illness.
Type 2 diabetes can be reversed with reward, suffering less tiredness and better all round health. Loss of body weight can be particularly beneficial helping reversing the progression of diabetes. In some cases, patients may be able stopping medication, although blood sugar levels should be checked regularly as reversing progression of diabetes not being a cure.
Do not come off medication unless advised to by your doctor or healthcare team.
How diabetes progresses
The most common cause of type 2 diabetes is obesity related, generally following a vicious cycle pattern:
- High sugar levels leads to feelings of lethargy and high insulin levels lead to feelings of hunger.
- Weight is put on around the belly (central or truncal obesity).
- Hunger often leads to overeating and lethargy to less activity being taken.
- Overeating, less activity and high insulin levels all lead to further weight gain and more insulin resistance.
- Diet high in refined carbohydrates, saturated and trans fats, whilst low in fibre, essential vitamins and minerals.
- The pancreas produces more insulin to cope with rising blood sugar levels.
- Insulin levels in the bloodstream increase to cope with the high and quick acting carb intake.
- Consistently high insulin levels and weight gain lead to the body’s cells becoming resistant to insulin.
- High insulin levels help increasing weight gain.
- Insulin resistance leads to an increase in sugar levels, particularly after meals.
- Consistently high demand on the pancreas to produce extra insulin leads to damage to the pancreas’ insulin producing beta cells.
- Beta cell damage leads to the body struggling to produce enough insulin, and steeper rises in blood sugar levels leads to the symptoms of diabetes, such as thirst and a frequent need to urinate, becoming more recognisable.
Breaking the progressive cycle of type 2 diabetes
To reverse diabetes needs to break the above cycle by taking the strain off the insulin producing cells.
The best ways taking some heat off the insulin producing cells are eating a diabetes friendly diet, cutting down drinking and improving the insulin sensitivity by ensuring keeping a good level of activity.
An appropriate diabetic diet
It is one not high in carbohydrates whereby the carbohydrates eaten are more slowly absorbed.
The more carbs you eat the more insulin your body will need to produce so it makes sense to cut down on the volume of carbs you are eating. Eating carbs that are more slowly absorbed is well advised as it means your blood sugar will not rise so sharply after a meal.
Foods with carbohydrates that are more slowly absorbed are said to have a low glycaemic index. Another way to pick appropriate foods is to pick those that have less carbohydrates and higher amounts of fibre.
Cut down on drinking alcohol
Drinking alcohol means taking in more calories and therefore helps to contribute to weight gain around your middle which is one of factors that promotes insulin resistance and makes diabetes worse. It therefore makes sense to try to cut back on the amount of alcohol you drink.
Raw food diet to reverse pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes
- A raw food diet high in uncooked fruit and vegetables.
- Diet with low fat, low GI diet high in fibre, vitamins and minerals.
However, the raw food diet is relatively low in nutrition e.g. protein, fat, iron, calcium and vitamin D. Therefore it is recommended to check with a doctor or dietitian about how the diet could affect you if you are thinking of trying it.
Can type 1 diabetes be reversed?
At the moment type 1 diabetes cannot be reversed. Type 1 diabetes is an anti-immune disease and therefore to reverse the disease would be to find a way preventing the body’s immune system to attack its own insulin producing cells.
Research is currently being undertaken to find a type 1 diabetes vaccine which could help to do this.
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