According to the CDC, over 37 million people in the United States have diabetes.
About 90% to 95% of cases account for type 2 diabetes, which can lead to health consequences if unmanaged.
We’re always told type 2 diabetes is a lifelong condition, and when you develop this metabolic disorder, you can only manage it but cannot cure it.
However, this is entirely untrue, and it is possible to reverse type 2 diabetes. Read on to learn more.
Can you reverse type 2 diabetes?
Contrary to popular beliefs, you can reverse type 2 diabetes. Various studies and reviews of evidence on this subject confirm the reversibility of this common type of diabetes.
These studies use different terms to evaluate this subject. These include reversal, remission, and cure. The term reversal means the disease has been completely cured, i.e., a person is reversed to their healthy, pre-diabetes state. Remission means the disease isn’t progressing but is stagnating as long as a person maintains specific conditions.
For example, a study from Diabetologia found that reducing dietary energy intake can reverse the abnormalities underlying diabetes. Dietary modifications normalized beta cell function and hepatic insulin sensitivity.
You see, beta cells are cells in the pancreas that produce and release insulin to manage blood sugar levels. Carrying excess weight forces beta cells to work harder to produce enough insulin. Eventually, they become overworked and unable to function correctly. Reduced energy intake from this study supports weight loss and improves the functioning of these important cells.
A review from the journal Nutrients confirmed that various strategies, including low-calorie diets or carbohydrate restriction, could help reverse type 2 diabetes. Scientists also emphasized the importance of further research and new methods because society can no longer afford or tolerate the ever-increasing prevalence of this condition.
Weight loss-induced reversal of type 2 diabetes was a subject of a review from Diabetic Medicine. The review found weight loss and its maintenance can provide long-term stability in the functioning of beta cells. Keeping these important cells in balance is crucial for the successful management of diabetes and its subsequent remission reversal when a proper strategy is employed.
When it comes to remission, a study from the reputable journal The Lancet found that at 12 months, almost half of participants reached remission to a non-diabetic state. There was no need for them to take antidiabetic medications.
For the purpose of this valuable study, the scientists included 30 persons aged 20 to 65 with type 2 diabetes diagnosis for at least six years. They were classified as overweight or obese. Subjects needed to lose weight to get into remission. Participants from the intervention group lost at least 15kg due to dietary modifications.
The weight loss program was strict and included meal replacement, which can be tricky to execute, but it confirms that staying dedicated to dietary changes can help reverse diabetes.
Weight loss works because it helps us lose fat and improve the function of the pancreas. The buildup of fat interferes with pancreatic function and causes an increase in blood glucose levels.
Researchers at the universities of Newcastle and Glasgow, who carried out the abovementioned study, explained their weight loss goals are achievable for most people.
Greater awareness and documentation of remission and reversal are necessary for improving health outcomes in patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
Reversing diabetes has a lot of benefits that go beyond blood glucose management. Doing so decreases stigma, boosts confidence, and may even reduce insurance premiums.
Putting diabetes into remission, and even reversing it successfully, isn’t a mission impossible. However, it’s important to remember that you need to be persistent and stick to your lifestyle adjustments. Even a small improvement in reversing diabetes, on a national or global level, can still lead to a significant reduction in disease burden.
As long as a person maintains their weight in a healthy range and doesn’t regain it, their reversal is successful. It’s also helpful to mention reversal works for people with normal weight as well as overweight and obese individuals.
Despite an extensive body of evidence on this subject, we still need more studies to explain the underlying mechanisms. Further research needs to focus on what happens in the liver, pancreas, and other organs when reversing type 2 diabetes and once we achieve it.
Why many doctors don’t tell you it’s reversible
Since a growing body of evidence confirms that type 2 diabetes is, indeed, reversible, it’s impossible not to wonder why doctors refuse to tell us that.
Many doctors constantly say diabetes is for life; you can’t get rid of it; you can only try to control it. What makes them say these things when studies show otherwise?
One reason that happens is due to the powerful pharmaceutical industry. The market for antidiabetic medications is valuable, and it’s constantly growing.
For example, the antidiabetic market size in the United States was around $65.5 billion in 2019. The market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 10.7% from 2020 to 2026. In 2026, the value of this market is estimated to reach $130 billion.
By repeating that type 2 diabetes isn’t reversible no matter what you do, some doctors play with our mental health. They want patients to be scared for their life and firmly believe nothing will help them get well. Nothing except the medications!
This creates a vicious cycle where a patient attempts to find natural ways to get better only to be told it’s impossible. They continue taking medications out of fear they’re going to experience complications.
Not every doctor prioritizes the pharmaceutical industry over a patient’s wellbeing. However, many of them find it easier just to prescribe medications to their patients and “get it over with.” Of course, prescribing something isn’t a solution.
Some doctors are quite old-fashioned. They are stuck with the ideas that were widely present a long time ago. In other words, they are reluctant to adapt to the new technology, studies, findings, and discoveries. Since they were taught that diabetes is irreversible, they refuse to admit the opposite can happen too.
Additionally, some doctors don’t think patients can achieve reversal of diabetes. This is unfair, of course.
Everyone’s got potential to recover when they are motivated and have a strong support system or people that cheer them on. Strong willpower and a well-structured plan to modify your lifestyle can go a long way and lead to a successful reversal.
How to reverse type 2 diabetes
As seen above, most studies focused on the role of weight loss. The reason is simple; excess weight increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, making it more difficult to manage. At the same time, type 2 diabetes can further contribute to weight gain. That’s why weight loss is crucial.
You’ll achieve the best results if you lose weight as quickly as possible after a diabetes diagnosis. But, it’s possible to reverse diabetes years after diagnosis too. It all depends on the effort you make and the lifestyle adjustments you employ.
If you are obese, some studies found successful remission and diabetes reversal occurred after losing 15kg. The exact amount of weight to drop may vary from one person to another, though.
You may notice the Mediterranean diet or low-carb and low-calorie diets yield the best results. Low-calorie diets, i.e., low-carb eating patterns, can be quite restrictive. However, it could jumpstart your weight loss efforts.
While proper diet is crucial for reversing type 2 diabetes, you shouldn’t underestimate the role of physical activity. Successful weight loss requires both diet and exercise.
Regular exercise can speed up fat burning and enhance the effects of your eating regimen. Both cardio training and strength training can be helpful for this purpose.
In order to reverse type 2 diabetes, you also need to make other lifestyle adjustments. They include:
- Staying hydrated
- Sufficient sleep
- Stress management
- Not eating at night
- Quitting smoking
- No alcohol or limiting alcohol intake
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Even though many doctors claim otherwise, type 2 diabetes is reversible. Numerous studies have confirmed that not only you can put diabetes in remission, but you can also reverse it.
Weight loss is crucial here, which is why it’s necessary to avoid regaining the pounds you lost. Reversal of type 2 diabetes requires a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise and stress management.
Find out about Our Best-Selling Book: How To Reverse Type 2 Diabetes.