Medically Reviewed By: Tom Iarocci, MD
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from 1980 through 2014, the number of Americans diagnosed with diabetes increased fourfold—from 5.5 million to 22.0 million. And diabetes is responsible for many deaths—it remained the 7th leading cause of death in the United States in the latest analysis. Having diabetes also increases the risk of other serious diseases and complications including heart disease, stroke, blindness and kidney disease.
The good news is that the condition is very manageable, if people apply the right strategies. There is even evidence that you can reverse type 2 diabetes—or at least delay it’s onset—by natural means, through diet and exercise. The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) study found that you can prevent or delay of diabetes with lifestyle intervention, meaning intensive participation in healthy changes including the achievement of weight loss.
Reversing Type 2 Diabetes with Natural Therapies:
Nutrition is key in diabetes management in that the right diet can help you control your blood glucose levels. Most physicians agree that many people who are just beginning to have type 2 diabetes may be able to bring their glycemic levels back into balance naturally, through intensive dietary changes, dedicated physical activity and weight loss. The problem is that few people seem to be truly able to apply themselves to such an extent and maintain these achievements.
In talking about this reversal of diabetes through natural means, different definitions of type 2 diabetes have been developed:
1. Partial remission means patients are able to bring their blood glucose levels back to prediabetes levels without requiring medication, and maintain this for one year.
2. Complete remission means that patients have normal glucose levels without requiring medication for one year.
3. Prolonged remission is a complete remission that is maintained for at least five years.
Natural Therapies Including Weight Loss:
Natural strategies for type 2 diabetes focus specifically on increasing levels of physical activity, eating a healthy diet, and losing weight. Type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease, and this means that patients just beginning to develop the condition must learn how to slow down the trajectory their disease and try to improve their insulin sensitivity. Though challenging, this can be achievable for many, many adults in the United States.
Caring for diabetes is about more than controlling glucose and losing weight. Many dietitians agree that there should be a focus on both macronutrients and micronutrients in the dietary approach to diabetes prevention and to blood glucose control in people with established diabetes.