If you think diabetes can't be reversed, I'm here to tell you from personal experience that it can be. I know many people who have reversed their diabetes entirely. I was once diabetic and I am no longer!
America has more diabetics than any other nation in the world by percentage and it clearly has to do with our lifestyle. The highest prevalence of diabetes is found in North America (9.2%) and Europe (8.4%).
Diabetes mellitus (diabetes) is a feared and dreaded disease. It will rob you of your quality of life and can cut your life short by more than a decade. It's the leading cause of new cases of blindness, kidney failure and non-accident caused amputations among adults. In 2006, diabetes was the 6th leading cause of recorded deaths in America. If the rate of increase in diabetes continues, it's estimated that 1 in 3 Americans will have diabetes in their lifetime. In 2007, there were about 24 million people with diabetes and 57 million people with pre-diabetes. If there's one health condition that can be effectively prevented and even treated by lifestyle and diet changes, it's type 2 diabetes.
If you're overweight, your risk of developing diabetes or metabolic syndrome is greatly increased. Excess weight is a contributing factor; the extra abdominal fat increases insulin resistance. If you don’t get some of the excess weight off, it can be just a matter of time before you develop diabetes.
Diabetes Prevention and Potential Reversal
These are my recommendations for preventing the development of diabetes. My opinions are based on science and practical clinical experience. I was once diabetic and I have helped many diabetics become symptom free. This is really very simple. For most people these suggestions will offer amazing results.
- Eat more plant-based food. The more vegetables you eat, the better your results may be. Include all vegetables, low sugar fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds. Fill half your plate with vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, peppers, fennel, radishes, celery, kale, avocados, asparagus, spinach, carrots, sweet potato, winter squash, onions, garlic, beets, leafy green vegetables, etc., at every meal.
- Eat 6 times per day. This helps keep you blood sugar stable by spreading out your food intake in smaller amounts.
- At least 1/2 of your vegetables should be raw for optimal nutrition.
- Eat more high fiber foods. Fiber slows the absorption of their natural sugars.
- Remove as much bread and cereal from your diet as possible. Only Ezekiel bread is recommended and no more than 2 slices per day.
- Eliminate all grains except oats, wild rice and quinoa. Even whole grains can create a quick rise in blood sugars, which can lead to cravings. Wheat can make insulin resistance worse. No more than a total of 4 servings of grains per day.
- Eliminate sugary drinks, soft drinks, energy drinks and fruits juices from your diet.
- Eliminate all dried fruit from your diet. Eat only fresh or frozen berries, apples, plums, peaches and pears. Only 2 to 3 servings of fruits per day.
- Coffee, even decaf, will make diabetes worse.
- Be aware that milk and yogurt contain lactose, a type of sugar in milk. Eight ounces of milk has about 11 grams of sugar. I recommend unsweetened almond milk, which has 0 sugar and tastes great!
- Eliminate fried foods. The extra weight they pack on adds to insulin resistance and can cause heart disease.
- Understand your calorie needs. Use a calorie calculator to know how many calories a day you should be eating. If you need to lose weight, use the weight you want to be as the weight in the calculator. If you are more than 50 pounds overweight, reduce your calories by an extra 10%. However, never eat less than 1200 calories per day.
- Learn and use the glycemic index and glycemic load.
- Avoid simple carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are great fuel for the body. Aim to get 50-60% of your daily calories from complex carbohydrates, 25-35% from heart healthy fats and the balance from protein.
- Avoid foods with more than 7 grams of sugar per serving.
- Exercise for at least 30 minutes or more, five days per week. Work up to 1 hour per day as a minimum. Exercise forces cells to use glucose (blood sugar) for energy. Always check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program.
- Eliminate as much refined flour and processed foods from your diet as possible. This means chips, cookies, crackers, pastries, candies, pre-prepared foods like TV dinners, and the rice or pasta already spiced and flavored.
- Reduce your intake of processed animal foods as much as possible and red meats to no more than once per week. However, eliminating most processed animal foods from your diet will show the quickest results.
These suggestions also help with type I diabetes, insulin dependent diabetes, gestational diabetes or other medically caused diabetes. For type I and insulin dependent diabetics, these suggestions can lower the number of insulin units you may need daily.
With even small changes, you can drastically reduce your risk of developing diabetes. Don't try to follow every suggestion immediately - such a drastic change can lead to temporary success, but eventual failure. Do what you can; every step you take is a step toward greater health. Encourage your loved ones to make appropriate changes for a better and longer life.