Type 2 diabetes affects around 26 million Americans, with another 86 million people estimated to have prediabetes. The CDC states that without lifestyle modifications 15 to 30 percent of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within five years.
My mother was diagnosed with prediabetes in 2015 and her doctor told her that she would need medication very soon if she didn’t make some changes to her diet. The problem was that she already ate the standard ‘heart healthy’ diet that the doctor recommended she now follow to reverse her prediabetes.
The diet sheet that she was given included lots of healthy whole grains. I was horrified, because I know that whole grains and other carbohydrate rich foods, like the baked potatoes that were also on the diet sheet, are anything but healthy, and that people with blood sugar issues should avoid them like the plague.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t convince her that the information that her doctor had given her was incorrect. Even though that advice flew in the face of logic. If the diet she had been following could give her prediabetes, how on earth could eating the same foods reverse it?
Luckily a well-respected doctor in the UK – which is where my mother lives – released a book about reversing diabetes through a low carbohydrate, low calorie diet, so I promptly purchased a couple of copies of the book and ultimately managed to convince her to give the program a try.
I’m happy to be able to tell you that after she went for her next check up with her doctor and the test results came back, she was no longer classed as prediabetic. The program that she followed is called The 8 Week Blood Sugar Diet, and I can give you the lowdown on the diet because I joined her on that program to provide support.
In addition to the the diet I’ll tell you about a couple of natural remedies that can help with diabetes that have scientific support behind them.
What Is Type 2 Diabetes?
There are two main types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes refers to the condition where the body doesn’t make enough (or any) insulin. This condition can develop at any age and there is no known way to prevent or reverse type 1 diabetes. Approximately 5% of diabetics have type 1 diabetes. People with type 1 diabetes must take insulin to survive.
Type 2 diabetes happens when the body is no longer able to use the insulin that it produces properly. Type 2 diabetes can also develop at any age, and while it used to develop predominantly among older people, there are now an alarming number of children with the condition. Type 2 diabetes is preventable and it can be reversed with diet and exercise.
Type 2 diabetes happens when your blood sugar levels remain too high because your insulin doesn’t work anymore. Even though your body is producing insulin, your cells don’t respond to it. This means that high levels of sugar remain in your bloodstream and cells that need energy can’t get it. Your pancreas responds by pumping out even more insulin in an effort to rectify this situation, but eventually it becomes burned out and stops making insulin. At this point a person with type 2 diabetes also needs insulin to survive.
Complications that can arise from type 2 diabetes include:
- Damaged blood vessels
- Peripheral neuropathy
- High blood pressure
- Cataracts and glaucoma
- Bacterial and fungal infections
- Bloating, heartburn and nausea
- Poor circulation that can lead to problems with the feet and lower legs (ulcers, amputation)
- Lack of concentration
- Kidney problems and excessive urination
- Ketoacidosis which can be life threatening
If you’ve been diagnosed with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, there are steps that you can take to regain your health, whatever your age.
Why Are Grains Bad For Blood Sugar?
Grains, along with all other carbohydrate rich foods are basically sugar. Putting more sugar into a system that can’t cope with that sugar makes zero sense. And it’s why many people who follow the ‘healthy whole grain’ diet advised by their doctors don’t get any better.
There’s a fantastic book called Wheat Belly, by cardiologist Dr William Davis, which gets into the nitty gritty of how damaging grain rich diets are and the chronic health conditions that this kind of diet leads to.
You might be surprised to learn for example that eating two slices of whole wheat bread raises blood sugar higher than eating 6 teaspoons of table sugar! It’s beyond ridiculous that people with blood sugar problems are told by doctors and the other health professionals that they trust, that it’s okay to eat whole wheat bread and oatmeal.
Reading Dr Davis’s book, or spending some time on his website is something that you really should do if you want to take control of your health.
But don’t head over there just yet because reversing type 2 diabetes takes more than cutting out grains and carbohydrate rich foods and I’ll get to that shortly. But first I want to tell you about two simple, inexpensive natural supplements that have been shown to help this condition.
Natural Remedies For Type 2 Diabetes & Prediabetes
Ginger has shown the ability to prevent complications arising in patients with type 2 diabetes.
In study, titled “The effect of ginger consumption of glycemic status, lipid profile and some inflammatory markers in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus,” 70 patients with type 2 diabetes were enrolled in a double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial.
The trial participants were divided into a ginger treatment group and a control group. The ginger group received 1600 mg of ginger daily for 12 weeks, while the control group received a 1600 mg placebo.
Measurements were taken at the beginning of the study and again at the end, and included:
- blood sugar levels
- blood lipids
- C-reactive protein
- prostaglandin E2
- tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα)
At the end of the study, ginger was found to have significantly reduced:
- Fasting plasma glucose
- HbA1C – a measurement that indicates how much damage is being caused by sugars to red blood cells. This damage is reflective of the harm that high blood sugar is doing to the body as a whole.
- HOMA – this measures insulin resistance and β-cell function.
- Total cholesterol
- C-reactive protein – a marker of inflammation
- Prostaglandin E2 – a marker of inflammation
From these results the researchers concluded that,
“Ginger improved insulin sensitivity and some fractions of lipid profile, and reduced CRP and PGE₂ in type 2 diabetic patients. Therefore ginger can be considered as an effective treatment for prevention of diabetes complications.”
Ginger is available as an inexpensive dietary supplement, and is usually sold in 500mg capsules, meaning that you would need to take 3 capsules a day to obtain this protection.
Turmeric is a spice that you can buy at any large supermarket, or at an Asian grocer. You can also buy supplements containing the active ingredient – curcumin.
A clinical trial published in the Care, the journal of the American Diabetes Association, revealed that turmeric extract had a 100% success rate at preventing prediabetic patients from developing type 2 diabetes over the course of the nine month intervention.
The study focused on the efficacy of curcumin, which is the primary polyphenol (an antioxidant substance) in turmeric, in delaying the development of type 2 diabetes in patients with prediabetes.
The randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial included 240 subjects who met the American Diabetic Association’s criteria for prediabetes. Each subject was randomly assigned to receive either a daily 250 mg dose of curcumin or a placebo (dummy pill) capsule for the 9 month duration of the trial.
If you recall from earlier, the CDC have reported that between 15 to 30% of people diagnosed with prediabetes will develop full diabetes within 5 years. Over the 9 months of this study, 16% of the prediabetics receiving the placebo developed diabetes.
Yet not one of the prediabetics receiving the curcumin developed the disease. The curcumin supplement had a 100% success rate in preventing the development of type 2 diabetes in a prediabetic population.
In addition, the curcumin group showed improved function of β-cells, which are the insulin producing cells in the pancreas.
Curcumin makes up approximately 3-4% of dry turmeric powder by weight. So to get 250mg of curcumin you would need to consume about 1 tablespoon of turmeric a day, which is a lot. But you can get inexpensive supplements, which make getting a therapeutic dose of curcumin very easy.
Although the researchers don’t mention adding black pepper extract to the curcumin, it’s well known that piperine enhances the bioavailability of curcumin, and many quality supplements will include this extract.
When you are comparing supplements, check the info panel on the bottles to make sure that the supplement contains 95% curcumin. Many cheaper supplements use curcumin on the label on the front, but when you check the details, it turns out that the supplement actually contains whole turmeric and not the therapeutic curcumin extract.
The 8 Week Blood Sugar Diet
Let me get the bad news out right away. This is a low carb and a low calorie diet. There’s no denying that is it restrictive, and I know that people don’t generally enjoy following restrictions. If you’re looking for an easy fix, you won’t it here. What you will find is a diet backed by research and real life successes.
The diet allows you 800 calories a day.
Woah! Only 800?
Yes I know, that was my reaction too. That is a pretty low allowance, but like I said earlier, I followed this diet for 8 weeks, and I love food. If I can stick to it, so can you!
In fact, I found that after the first few days of obsessive clock watching and counting down the hours until I could eat lunch or dinner, I wasn’t terribly hungry, and after a couple of weeks, some days I would struggle to eat 600 calories. It’s amazing how filling a low calorie plate of fiber rich veggies and a little protein can be.
One of my favorite meals is the spicy bean burger recipe, which I eat with a cauliflower, celeriac, broccoli and carrot mash made with butter. Throw some cheese on the burgers, some lettuce, tomato, mushrooms and beetroot on the plate and you’ve got one serious, belly-filling, low calorie meal!
The 8 Week Blood Sugar Diet was designed by Dr Michael Mosley after he learned of the success that Professor Roy Taylor had achieved with a clinical trial using a low calorie diet to reverse type 2 diabetes.
While the controlled conditions of the clinical trial used 600 calories a day of meal replacement drinks plus 200 calories of non starchy vegetables, Dr Mosley reworked the diet to eliminate the meal replacement drinks and be easy to stick with.
The trial that demonstrated the beneficial effects of a very low calorie diet on type 2 diabetes was conducted with 11 patients who had been diabetic for more than 4 years. At the end of the trial 7 of the 11 were free of the disease and remained so at a twelve week follow up. Professor Taylor says that,
“To have people free of diabetes after years with the condition is remarkable – and all because of an eight week diet.”
The ultra low calorie diet works by removing the fat from the liver and from the pancreas which allows that organ to resume its normal insulin function. The levels of fat in the pancreas of the studies participants were measured using MRI scans.
After just one week, the Newcastle University team found that the pre-breakfast blood sugar levels of the participants had returned to normal and this correlated with the results of an MRI scan which showed that fat levels in the pancreas had also returned to normal.
One of the grateful study participants had this to say;
“At first the hunger was quite severe and I had to distract myself with something else – walking the dog, playing golf – or doing anything to occupy myself and take my mind off food but I lost an astounding amount of weight in a short space of time.
“At the end of the trial, I was told my insulin levels were normal and after six years, I no longer needed my diabetes tablets. Still today, 18 months on, I don’t take them. It’s astonishing really that a diet – hard as it was – could change my health so drastically.”
Professor Taylor came across the link between weight loss and diabetes reversal in the 1980’s, when he visited Greenville, North Carolina, a city with very high rates of obesity. In Greenville, Walter Pories, an obesity surgeon carried out bariatric surgeries and then followed his patients long term to see how well they fared. In one study which followed 608 seriously obese patients for 14 years, he found that in addition to weight loss, the surgery was a remarkable cure for type 2 diabetes. And that cure came fast! Of the 608 patients in the study, 161 already had type 2 diabetes and 150 were prediabetic. In his book Dr Mosley notes that,
“For most of these patients there was a dramatic fall in blood sugar levels after surgery. As the researchers observed, “The diabetes cleared rapidly, generally in a matter of days, to the degree that most diabetic bariatric surgical patients were discharged without any anti-diabetic medications.”
Read that again, a few days after bariatric weight loss surgery, patients with type 2 diabetes no longer required medication.
Bariatric surgery reduces the size of the stomach, which means that only small amounts of food can be eaten.
But you don’t need to undergo drastic bariatric surgery to get to work on your diabetes. You’ve already seen how the low calorie diet worked to reverse diabetes for Professor Taylor’s study group, and now you can follow a proven diet plan and start to turn your health around too.
The first thing that you need to do is grab the book, The 8 Week Blood Sugar Diet. Dr Mosley explains in clear and easy to understand terms the science behind the diet and relates some success stories. He tells you exactly what you need to do and why, and then he gives you meal plans to follow and a full section of tasty, nutritious recipes that you can use. Everything is worked out for you.
The next thing that you can do, is head over to the website for The Blood Sugar Diet, where you’ll find even more recipes and best of all a lively community of people, who just like you are on a journey to reverse their type 2 diabetes, their prediabetes, their metabolic syndrome or just to lose some weight.
A support community is often vital to success in many endeavors and dieting to lose weight or to resolve other health issues, is definitely an area where the support of people who understand what you’re going through can help you to succeed.
If there is anything about the diet that you don’t understand, just ask. If you want to rant and complain, go ahead. If you want to publicly document your journey to keep yourself accountable, have at it. You’ll receive help and encouragement every step of the way and it won’t cost you a single cent.
Don’t worry about the conventional wisdom that says it’s better to lose weight slowly and that fast weight loss is harmful. New research has kicked that advice to the kerb. Dr Mosley notes that,
“As some of America’s leading obesity experts pointed out in a review article in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2013, the belief that slow and gradual weight loss is more effective than rapid weight loss is a myth, despite the fact that it has been repeated in textbooks for decades.”
Just think, in 8 short weeks you could be free of diabetes. 8 weeks, that’s no time at all. Get the book, visit the website, grab those supplements and go and get healthy. You’ve got nothing to lose except your diabetes. And a significant amount of weight!