In the U.S. diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death and it doubles the risk of stroke and heart attack. What many people don’t know is that type 2 diabetes is a lifestyle disease, meaning your diet regime can either promote or prevent insulin resistance and diabetes. Reversing diabetes is a term we use to describe reversing the progression of the illness and interventions which reduce dependence on diabetes type 2 medications. So how can diabetes be reversed?
It takes time and it requires your dedication, but type 2 diabetes can be reversed. What’s more, patients can become less tired, more vital and their overall health could be significantly improved. Losing some body weight can be especially advantageous in helping to reverse the progression of type 2 diabetes. Although patients sometimes feel like they are able to come off medications, it shouldn’t be done unless advised to by the healthcare team. In any case, blood sugar levels have to be checked on a regular basis, because reversing progression of diabetes doesn’t mean this medical condition is completely overcome.
The Progress of Type 2 Diabetes
First of all, it’s important to understand how type 2 diabetes progresses. The most common cause of this lifestyle diseases is obesity related. If diet is high in saturated/trans fats and refined carbohydrates, while low in minerals, vitamins and fiber, insulin levels in the bloodstream will increase in order to manage the quick acting and high carbohydrate intake. Central obesity is caused, because weight becomes put on around the belly. Due to the weight gain and consistent high insulin levels, the body cells are becoming more resistant to insulin. While high insulin levels in the bloodstream increase weight gain, the insulin resistance increases sugar levels, especially after meals. To cope with rising blood sugar levels, the pancreas has to produce more insulin. High sugar levels lead to feeling of depression and lethargy, while high insulin levels make you feel hungry. Less activity caused by the feeling of lethargy, overeating and high insulin levels undoubtedly lead to increased insulin resistance and further weight gain. Constant high demand to produce extra insulin damages the pancreas’ insulin producing beta cells and that leads to the body being less able to produce enough insulin and rises in blood sugar levels. Thirst, frequent need to urinate and other common symptoms of diabetes become more recognizable.
How to Break the Chain
So, how can a person break the progressive vicious circle pattern of type 2 diabetes? To reverse this medical condition you have to take the strain off your insulin producing beta cells. Undoubtedly, this means making drastic lifestyle changes: keeping a good level of activity, a diabetes friendly diet and cutting down on drinking alcohol.
Physical exercise is helpful in improving insulin sensitivity; the more sensitive a person is to insulin, the less insulin their body needs to produce. The minimum recommended level of physical activity is 30 minutes at least 5 times a week, be it a brisk walk, climbing stairs, gardening, housework, dancing, yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates or active sports. Even a little extra activity can be make small, but significant improvements in patient’s overall well-being: better insulin sensitivity, mood boosting, reduced risks of heart problems and cancer, weight control, stronger bones and muscles. Finding the workout regime that works best for the patient is the key to the positive lifestyle changes.
- Healthy fats: avocados, pecans, walnuts, almonds, canola, olive, peanut and olive oils and other foods rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Nevertheless, eat these foods sparingly as they are high in calories.
- Good carbohydrates: vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains.
- Fibers: whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, legumes, nuts, fruits, vegetables.
- Fish: it’s a good alternative to high-fat meats. Choose cod, tuna, bluefish, salmon, mackerel, sardines and avoid fried fish and those species with high mercury levels, such as king mackerel, swordfish and tilefish.
What to Avoid
- Cholesterol: egg yolks, liver, shellfish, high fat dairy and animal products.
- Trans and saturated fats: processed snacks, margarine, baked goods, hot dogs, sausages, high-fat dairy products.
The right eating plan is crucial to managing type 2 diabetes, because it can help patients maintain stable blood sugar levels and improve their overall health. Nevertheless, a sensible diet regime is not as out of ordinary or complex as one might expect. In fact, it looks a lot like the healthy diet plan nutritionists recommend for everyone: plenty of vegetables and fruits, moderate intake of simple carbohydrates and being sparing with fats. There are several different approaches to creating a type 2 diabetes eating plan that keeps the blood glucose levels within a normal range. With the help of a dietitian, every person can find one or a combination of methods that works best for them. Counting calories, Glycemic index and the food lists system are the most common approaches to creating a healthy diet plan to reverse this lifestyle disease.
Embracing a healthy-eating plan is the only way to keep blood glucose levels under control, prevent complications and reverse type 2 diabetes. If a patient needs to lose weight, the diet regime can be tailored to their specific goals. Scheduling, portion control and healthy foods are essential for managing this medical condition. Therefore, partnering with doctors and dietitians to create the right eating plan and sticking to it is of the highest importance for any diabetes 2 patient.
Cutting Down on Alcohol
Drinking alcoholic beverages means taking in more calories which leads to increased weight gain around the belly. Remember the progress cycle of type 2 diabetes? Obesity is one of the factors that makes diabetes worse and promotes insulin resistance. For that reason, it make sense to cut back on the alcohol a person drinks in order to reverse diabetes type 2.
Can Type 1 Diabetes be Reversed?
Could positive lifestyle changes reverse type 1 diabetes, too? Unfortunately, at the moment this medical condition cannot be reversed, because it’s an anti-immune disease. Some research is being undertaken to find a vaccine for type 1 diabetes which would prevent the body’s immune system from attacking its own insulin producing beta cells.