Type 2 Diabetes Is Reversible

The traditional approach to dealing with type 2 diabetes has generally revolved around monitoring blood sugar levels, managing symptoms, and adhering to medication regimens.

This approach comes from the belief that type 2 diabetes is a lifelong and incurable condition.

But recent research has opened up the possibility for a paradigm shift, as healthcare professionals recognize that it’s possible to move beyond diabetes care and work towards diabetes cure.

How Type 2 Diabetes Develops

After consuming a meal, the carbohydrates in your food are broken down and synthesized into glucose (blood sugar) by your liver. As glucose levels rise, your pancreas responds by releasing more insulin, a hormone responsible for allowing glucose to be absorbed by your body’s cells for energy.

But years of unhealthy eating tend to cause visceral fat to build up in and around the liver and pancreas, igniting a vicious cycle that prevents this vital process from working effectively.

Normally, insulin signals to the liver how much glucose to produce. But excess visceral fat makes the liver less sensitive to insulin signaling, so the liver won’t know when to stop producing glucose.

As a result, glucose levels in the blood increase, forcing the pancreas to produce more insulin to compensate for the heightened glucose levels.

Over time, this strains and weakens the pancreas, eventually leading to dangerously high blood sugar levels and life-threatening symptoms of diabetes.

Breaking the Cycle and Reversing Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is closely linked to being overweight or obese.

Losing weight and adopting healthier eating habits can have a significant impact on the progression of the disease.

Some of the most effective dietary strategies for putting type 2 diabetes into remission include:

  • Low-carbohydrate diets: Reducing carbohydrate intake can help lower blood sugar levels and insulin demand. A low-carb diet minimizes the consumption of bread, pasta, rice, and sugary foods.
  • Calorie restriction: Consume fewer calories by cutting back on portion sizes and avoiding high-calorie, low-nutrient foods like processed snacks, fast food, and sugary drinks.
  • Intermittent fasting: This dietary approach involves controlled periods of fasting. There are many different methods, such as the 16/8 method (fasting for 16 hours and eating during an 8-hour window) or the 5:2 method (eating normally for five days a week and restricting calories to about 500-600 for two non-consecutive days).
  • Mediterranean diet: This diet is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats (such as olive oil), and low in processed foods and added sugars. A Mediterranean diet can help improve blood sugar control and reduce the risk of diabetes-related complications.
  • Plant-based diets: This dietary approach focuses on consuming whole, plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, while minimizing or eliminating fatty animal products, such as red meat and processed meats.

Sustainable Lifestyle Changes For Diabetes Remission

Reversing the progression of type 2 diabetes will require more than just small, temporary adjustments to your diet.

You’ll need to commit to substantial and sustainable lifestyle changes.

Instead of trying to force these changes through discipline and willpower, try to approach these changes with a mindset of self-compassion, curiosity, and a willingness to experiment and learn.

  • Mental health: Dealing with a chronic illness can take a toll on your mental health. Consider seeking the guidance of a mental health professional who can help you manage stress, anxiety, and other emotional concerns that may arise during this journey.
  • Emotional support: Surround yourself with supportive friends, family, or a support group that understands the challenges you’re facing. Talking openly about your experiences can help alleviate stress and keep you motivated.
  • Healthy stress management: Unhealthy habits are often closely tied to stress. Coping techniques such as mindfulness, creative art, and spending time in nature can help you reduce your stress and make it easier to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
  • Exercise: Regular physical activity not only helps with weight management but also improves insulin sensitivity and overall cardiovascular health. Start with low-impact activities, such as walking or swimming, and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts.
  • Monitor your progress: Keep track of your blood sugar levels, weight loss, and other health markers to assess how well your lifestyle changes are working. This can help you stay focused, make necessary adjustments, and celebrate your achievements.
  • Stay informed and educated: Learn as much as you can about type 2 diabetes and the best strategies for managing the condition. This will empower you to make informed decisions about your health and advocate for yourself in medical settings.
  • Make it enjoyable: Find ways to make your new lifestyle enjoyable and sustainable. Experiment with new healthy recipes, explore different forms of physical activity, and celebrate your accomplishments with non-food rewards. Making these changes enjoyable will increase the likelihood of long-term success.
  • Be patient and resilient: Diabetes remission is achievable, but it may take time and persistence. Don’t be discouraged if progress is slower than expected. Instead, maintain a positive outlook and recognize that every step you take towards better health is worth celebrating.

If you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, ask your doctor about how best to manage your condition and begin working toward remission.