Type 2 Diabetics CAN Reverse the Condition—But Most Won’t

In 2020, many medical and nutritional experts believe that Type 2 Diabetes may be the biggest epidemic in human history.

The information, food options and technologies are out there to beat the odds.  Will you take the necessary steps to reverse Type 2 diabetes?

Here’s a breakdown of the current estimates on Type 2 Diabetes: 

In the United States alone, 30 million people are diabetic.

- Of these, 90-95% are Type 2 Diabetics. 
- Over 7 million people remain undiagnosed. 
- Another 84 million have pre-diabetes.

The numbers are startling to say the least. Adding to the problem is a wealth of misinformation and bad advice, keeping our country stuck in a pattern of poor health, despite good intentions.

Fortunately, there is something you can do about it – and it starts with learning the symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes and the severity of its physical effects.

Empowering yourself with dietary and lifestyle strategies designed for diabetics will help you take actionable steps towards reversing this devastating condition.

What are the Physical Effects of Type 2 Diabetes?

A resistance to insulin is found in both pre-diabetics and Type 2 diabetics. This means that your receptors don’t properly bind to insulin, leading to more glucose in the blood. To handle the increase of blood glucose levels, your pancreas needs to secrete more insulin or you’ll have to use insulin injections/infusions in an attempt to get blood sugar back in range.

If insulin resistance isn’t managed, continued weight gain and hormonal imbalances can get much worse, and the need for even more insulin will be needed. 

- Triglyceride levels will also increase which leads to atherosclerosis and heart disease

- Your body will start producing more free radicals which is heavily linked to multiple disease risks and chronic inflammation

- An 11.6% chance for lower limb amputation exists for people who don’t correctly manage or reverse Type 2 diabetes. 

What are the Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes?

With 7.4 million people living with undiagnosed diabetes and another 84.1 million pre-diabetics, it’s critical to identify the warning signs:

1. Brain fog and fatigue. Glucose is your brain’s primary source of energy. As diabetes causes it to fluctuate, you’re more likely to experience brain fog and fatigue. That might include an inability to concentrate or remember things, confusion, disorientation, irritability, frustration, or mood swings.

2. Skin tags. These are small, benign growths of skin often referred to as stalks that can be associated with several different health conditions. However, studies have shown a correlation between multiple skin tags and diabetes. Therefore, it’s wise to suspect the disease if you notice several of them on your body.     

3. Progesterone imbalance. Progesterone is another hormone that plays a vital role in regulating blood sugar levels. After large meals, its levels are known to drop, and studies have confirmed that progesterone can impair insulin sensitivity in fat and muscle tissues. Any progesterone imbalance can dramatically affect blood sugar regulation, so have yours checked regularly. 

4. Excessive urination and thirst.These symptoms are also known as polyuria and polydipsia, respectively. Excess blood sugar forces your kidneys to work overtime to filter and absorb it. If they can’t keep up, the sugar is secreted into your urine, dragging fluids from your tissues and leaving you dehydrated. As you drink more fluids to quench your thirst, you’ll urinate even more.

5. Fungal infections.In people with diabetes, the yeast-like fungus Candida can thrive in moist and warm folds of skin. The best way to prevent this is to routinely practice good skin care and personal hygiene. Effectively managing your weight and blood sugar levels will also make it harder for the fungus to thrive.

6. Insulin and sugar levels.The surest way to know whether you have diabetes is to test your blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity. You can test your glucose levels yourself after an overnight fast. Optimal levels should average about 75 to 85 mg/dL. Anything above 100 mg/dL is considered prediabetic, while levels above 125 mg/dL indicate diabetes.

Why Do Most People Never Reverse Type 2 Diabetes?

1. Bad Advice

Carbohydrates are still too high.

Many diabetics consume 50% of their total calories from processed carbohydrates which leads to larger doses of insulin and even worse insulin resistance. Often the diabetic diet recommendations from doctors are not strict enough in terms of carbohydrate restriction and food quality. 

The wrong types of fats are consumed.

Americans are eating 20x more Omega 6 fat than they should be, mainly in the form of refined vegetable oils like soy, corn, cottonseed and canola. People are embracing that fats can help balance sugar, but not enough time has gone into understanding what types and why.

People are eating too much and too frequently.

Research from the Salk Institute shows that most people graze over a 15+ hour window each day. Diabetics are told to eat every two to three hours, which may not be the best advice for them. Eating too frequently can disrupt specific digestive functions that lead to insulin resistance, a calorie surplus and weight gain.

2. Food Addictions

Cravings for food usually can be attributed to blood sugar peaks and valleys along with dopamine (a reward neurotransmitter) that can be stimulated by good things like exercise and not so good things like junk food.

One of the best ways to break an addiction to food is to stick with healthy eating long enough to get your blood sugar more balanced while participating in healthier activities to get your dopamine fix such as cardiovascular training, group exercise classes or weight training. This might take 4 weeks or more to reduce your cravings for unhealthy food, but it’s so important to stick with it.

Unfortunately, slipping up early is the same as starting all over for many people and the continued cycle creates self-doubt that makes everything harder than it needs to be. 

3. Poor Sleep Quality

Studies show that reductions in sleep duration over multiple nights resulted in poor glucose response and insulin resistance EVEN in healthy individuals. Another study showed that restricting sleep to only four hours during two or more nights reduced glucose tolerance by 40% and reduced the acute insulin response in healthy subjects by 30%. Even a single night poor sleep for healthy individuals (four hours of sleep) led to acute insulin resistance.

This really highlights the important role sleep plays in insulin sensitivity and glucose regulation in all people, but especially individuals with existing blood sugar issues. 

How Can I Successfully Reverse Type 2 Diabetes?

1. Fix your macronutrient ratios.

If net carbs stay under 25g per meal and 100g total for the day, most people will be in a great place. At this amount, carbohydrates should represent 30% or less of your total daily calories and can be adjusted down further if needed. In almost every study ever performed on low carb diets, an improvement in insulin sensitivity has been shown. 

*if you are using insulin, consult with your doctor about dosing adjustments when drastically lowering carbohydrates

Protein does have a slight effect on blood sugar, but far less than carbs and the health benefits can’t be overstated. Immune system repair, detoxification and neurotransmitter production are all dependent on the amino acids found in protein. It’s also easier to lose body fat and gain muscle when you consume enough protein.

A good goal for protein intake is .15-.20g per pound of bodyweight is a good per meal. For example, someone who weighs 180 pounds should shoot for between 27g-36g of protein per meal. 

The amount of fat needed usually depends on how low your carbohydrates are. The fewer carbohydrates you eat, generally the more healthy fats you’ll need. At 9 calories per gram, it can be easy to go overboard with fat though. Somewhere between 15g-25g of total fat per meal with less than 8g-10g of saturated fat is a good starting point for most people restricting carbohydrates. 

2. Focus on food quality.

Better food means more key nutrients to help lower inflammation, improve metabolic health and fight off disease. The nutrient density associated with foods that aren’t highly processed also help with satiety, keeping you from overeating. 

Once you dial in your macronutrient ratios, look to get those calories from:

- Pasture-raised proteins 

- Mono and Polyunsaturated fats like: nuts, seeds, avocado, olives and fatty fish 

- Leafy greens and other cruciferous vegetables

3. Variety is the spice of life.

Diabetics often miss their favorite foods. When they attempt to eat healthier, it can sometimes mean going back to the same meals over and over again. It doesn’t have to be this way. You can still enjoy amazing food. Seasonings, spices, different preparation styles and new seasonal ingredients can make your meals anything but ordinary. 

Want to take a week or more off from cooking?

Metabolic Meals has 20+ new diabetic-friendly meals every week that are prepared by our chefs and delivered to your home or office. Don’t let burnout keep you from reversing diabetes — you have options!

4. Eat within a 8-10 hour window.

People who eat 3 meals within an 8-10 hour window (vs. grazing on small meals or snacks all day) metabolize fatty acids more efficiently, improve insulin sensitivity and may also clear away damaged cells.

5. Move more.

Outside of eating better, exercise has the biggest impact on insulin sensitivity. Not ready for the gym yet? Make a goal to take at least 10,000 steps per day. You don’t have to go all in on exercise at first because daily movement goals will give you the momentum needed to advance to more difficult forms of exercise in time. Eventually graduating to fitness methods that increase your heart rate and create lactic acid (that burning feeling in your muscle) will supercharge your results.

6. Make good sleep a priority.

The single best way to improve your sleep is to go to bed and get up at the same times everyday, including weekends. Other ways to get better sleep include avoiding screen time for two hours before bed and keeping your room cool and dark as possible.

7. Measure, measure, measure.

Peter Drucker famously said, “what gets measured, gets managed.”

By consistently measuring your blood sugar after your meals, you’ll know what foods are problematic and have the insights needed to make adjustments. Remember the goal is to use less insulin over time and hopefully get to a point that none is needed.

Consider new technologies such as Continuous Glucose Monitoring devices, allowing you to stop sticking yourself and get much more complete information.

Set “time in range” goals and share your results with doctors, family members and friends for more accountability. 

The information, food options and technologies are out there to beat the odds. Will you take the necessary steps to reverse Type 2 diabetes?

Want meals that match the recommendation of this article?

You’ll see that eating to balance blood sugar can taste amazing.   

Learn how your meals should look from a macronutrient and quality standpoint. Watch how much better your blood sugar can look when eating this way and let that be motivation to keep it up! 

Don’t let daily stress lead to poor eating decision. Our chefs can help make eating healthy easy.