How to Reverse Type 2 Diabetes Naturally – Diet Doctor (2022)

  1. What is diabetes?
  2. About blood sugar
  3. Improving blood sugar
  4. Science of diabetes reversal
  5. A message of hope

Do you have type 2 diabetes, or are you at risk for diabetes? If so, then you’ve come to the right place.

This guide gives you an overview of what you need to know about treating and reversing type 2 diabetes. Our other guides can teach you more about the symptoms of diabetes, as well as provide specific information about type 2 diabetes and type 1 diabetes.

Many people with diabetes or prediabetes have improved their health with dietary changes. You can too! Making these changes may allow you to reduce or eliminate diabetes medication, as well as help you lose weight.

1. What is diabetes?

Simply put, diabetes is a disorder of blood sugar (glucose) and insulin. In diabetes, something is wrong with the way a person makes and/or uses insulin, a pancreatic hormone that lowers blood sugar by moving it out of the bloodstream and into the body’s cells.

Type 1 diabetes results when, for autoimmune or other rare reasons, the pancreas becomes damaged and fails to produce insulin. This form of diabetes is most often diagnosed in childhood but can occur in adults.

In type 2 diabetes, there are defects in both the production of insulin by the pancreas (insulin deficiency) and the use of insulin by the body (insulin resistance). When damage to the pancreas’ insulin-producing cells progresses to the point where the pancreas can no longer spontaneously release enough insulin to overcome the body’s resistance to it, blood sugar levels rise.

Excess glucose in the blood is a problem because it can damage blood vessels. What’s more, the body’s tissues can’t effectively use glucose for energy because too much of it stays in the bloodstream instead of entering the cells.

It is important to recognize that high glucose levels are a consequence of an underlying process that has been going on for years before blood sugar becomes high.

The good news is that diet and exercise can help decrease insulin resistance and its associated weight gain, which may help prevent or even put diabetes into remission.

To learn more about diabetes, click here:

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(Video) How to reverse type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is by far the most common form of diabetes, accounting for over 90% of all cases. It often affects people who are middle-aged or older, although it is becoming increasingly common in teenagers and young adults in poor metabolic health.

Early on the road to developing high blood sugar and getting diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, an insulin-resistant person usually has too much insulin in the blood. This is mostly due to insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas making more insulin, in an attempt to overcome the body’s resistance to this hormone. But the beta cells can only do this for so long before they tire out.

Essentially, the pancreas realizes that it has two problems: its overall ability to make insulin is getting worse, and the insulin that it is able to make isn’t working very well. So, the pancreas cranks out more insulin to flood the body’s insulin receptors and overcome the resistance. This works to keep blood sugars normal, until so much beta cell function is lost that the pancreas can no longer crank out enough excess insulin.

Other than its implications for blood glucose and progression of type 2 diabetes, why is it bad to have high insulin levels?

Insulin increases the storage of fat and reduces the body’s ability to use fat for fuel. This can lead to weight gain, which plays an integral role in the development and worsening of insulin resistance. Left unchecked, you can see how this will lead to a vicious cycle: insulin resistance leads to high insulin levels, which make it easier to gain weight by accumulating fat, which increases insulin resistance, which leads to high insulin levels, which leads to more weight gain, and so on goes the cycle.

Common symptoms of diabetes

  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Severe fatigue
  • Feeling hungrier than usual
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Delayed healing of injuries
  • Blurred vision
  • Numbness and tingling in hands, feet or toes
  • Dark patches of skin
  • Skin rashes and lesions
  • Yeast and urinary tract infections (women)
  • Erectile dysfunction (men)

For more details about these conditions, see our guide to symptoms of diabetes. However, please note that with prediabetes and early stages of type 2 diabetes, you may not notice any symptoms.

If you think you have any of the warning signs of diabetes, see your doctor.

2. Testing blood sugar

Our guide on what you need to know about blood sugar can help you learn more about both high and low blood sugar. This guide focuses specifically on the high blood sugar levels that occur in diabetes.

How do you know if you have too much sugar in your blood? If you don’t know already, it’s simple to test in a few seconds, either in your doctor’s office or with your own inexpensive blood glucose meter.

Compare your own blood sugar reading with the ranges below:

  • Normal blood sugar: Less than 100 mg/dL (5.6 mmol/L ) after fasting overnight, and up to 140 mg/dL (7.8 mmol/L ) two hours after a meal
  • Prediabetes: Between 100-125 mg/dL (5.6-7.0 mmol/L) after fasting overnight, or higher than 140 2 hours after a glucose tolerance test
  • Diabetes: 126 mg/dL (7.0 mmol/L) or higher after fasting overnight, or higher than 200 mg/dL (11.1 mmol/L) at any time

Keep in mind that you should not use glucometer readings alone to make a diagnosis of diabetes or prediabetes. If your blood sugar is high on a glucometer, ask your doctor to run a blood test to confirm the diagnosis. Also, most guidelines state that a single abnormal blood sugar reading is not sufficient to secure a diagnosis of diabetes; at least two are needed.

If you are already on a low-carbohydrate diet and you are concerned about the measurements you’re getting, find outhow a low-carb diet affects blood sugar measurements.

To learn more about how to test your blood sugar, click here:

(Video) Don't manage type 2 diabetes, reverse it!

Read more

If you are testing your blood sugar at home, read and follow the directions that come with your blood sugar meter. For most meters, the general procedure goes like this:

  1. With clean hands, place a test strip in your blood sugar meter.
  2. Prick the side of a finger tip with the lancet to draw a drop of blood.
  3. Place the tip of the test strip on the drop of blood.
  4. After a few seconds, the blood sugar meter will give you a reading.

3. Food & diabetes

People with diabetes have difficulty keeping blood sugar levels in a normal range. The blood turns “too sweet” as glucose levels rise.

Sugar in your blood comes from two places: your liver and the food that you eat. You can’t directly control the amount of sugar your liver makes, but you can control the foods you eat.

Foods are made up of three broad categories known as macronutrients (major nutrients): carbohydrate, protein, and fat. Many foods are a combination of two or all three macronutrients, but we often group foods according to whether they are mostly carbohydrate, protein, or fat.

Carbohydrates and blood sugar

Carbohydrates, or carbs, usually come from starches or sugars and turn into glucose when they are digested. When glucose enters the bloodstream, it’s called blood glucose, or blood sugar.

How to Reverse Type 2 Diabetes Naturally – Diet Doctor (1)

Carbohydrates

The more carbohydrate eaten in a meal, the more sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream and usually the higher the blood sugar will be.

Although very few people would agree that sugary foods are good for you, some foods that we think of as “healthy” — such as fruit — can have a lot of sugar. And many people don’t know that starchy foods — such as bread, rice, pasta, and potatoes — quickly turn to sugar when you digest them.

(Video) A lifestyle program to reverse type 2 diabetes now

For some people, eating a potato could raise blood sugar as much as eating 9 teaspoons of sugar! It can be hard to predict exactly how someone’s blood sugar will respond, as this will likely vary based on genetics and baseline insulin sensitivity. By testing your blood sugar before eating and every 30-minutes after eating for up to two hours, you can quickly learn how different foods affect your blood glucose level. The results may surprise you!

Protein

Protein-containing foods include eggs, poultry, meat, seafood and tofu. Although individuals have different responses to these foods, consuming moderate amounts of protein at a meal generally has a mild to no effect on blood sugar.

Fat

Dietary fat by itself has practically no effect on blood sugar. However, we seldom eat fat all by itself. Some foods, like cheese, are made up of mostly protein and fat. These foods probably won’t raise your blood sugar very much.

But other foods, like doughnuts and French fries, are made up mostly of carbohydrate and fat. Because they’re high in carbs and fat together, these foods are likely to significantly raise your blood sugar.

4. How to lower blood sugar with diet

What happens if you remove foods that raise your blood sugar from your diet? Is there anything good left to eat? We think so. In fact, we have a whole guide on the best foods to control diabetes.

But a picture is worth a thousand words. These are just a few of the delicious foods that don’t raise blood sugar for just about everyone:

Many people with type 2 diabetes are now choosing a diet based primarily on low-carb foods, and many clinicians are catching on as well.

A person with type 2 diabetes will often notice that, starting with the first low-carb meal, their blood sugar improves. The need for medications, especially insulin, is usually dramatically reduced. Substantial weight loss and health marker improvements often follow. Finally, people usually feel better and have more energy and alertness.

Choosing foods low in carbs is an effective way to help you control your blood sugar and is safe for most people. However, if you are taking medications for your diabetes, you must work with your healthcare provider to adjust your medications when you change your diet since the need for medications, especially insulin, may be greatly reduced.

If you are looking for a doctor who will work with you to control your diabetes with a change in diet, our map may help you find one.

5. The science of diabetes reversal

In 2019, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) stated that reducing carbohydrate intake was the most effective nutritional strategy for improving blood sugar control in those with diabetes.

(Video) Reversing Type 2 diabetes starts with ignoring the guidelines | Sarah Hallberg | TEDxPurdueU

Research shows that low-carb diets are a safe and effective option for treating type 2 diabetes. This body of evidence includes systematic reviews and meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials (the highest quality of evidence by our ratings.).

A meta-analysis from 2017 found that low-carb diets reduced the need for diabetes medication and also improved certain biomarkers in people with type 2 diabetes. This included reductions in hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), triglycerides, and blood pressure; and increases in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, sometimes called the “good” cholesterol.

Additionally, in a non-randomized trial from Virta Health, the intervention group of subjects with type 2 diabetes followed a very low-carb diet and received remote monitoring by physicians and health coaches. After one year, 94% of those in the low-carb group had reduced or stopped their insulin use. Furthermore, 25% had an HgbA1c in the normal range without needing any medications, suggesting their disease was in remission, and an additional 35% did the same with only metformin.

At the two-year mark, a high proportion of subjects continued to demonstrate sustained improvements in glycemic control.

Other interventions have also demonstrated efficacy for inducing remission of type 2 diabetes, although there is a lack of consistency with how different trials define “remission.” The DiRECT trial reported severe caloric restriction (eating around 850 calories per day) resulted in 46% remission at one-year. And bariatric surgery demonstrates between 25% and 50% diabetes remission up to ten-years post surgery.

This evidence suggests that type 2 diabetes does not have to be a progressive and irreversible disease. It is clearly a treatable disease.

6. A message of hope

As recently as 50 years ago, type 2 diabetes was extremely rare. Now, around the world, the number of people with diabetes is increasing rapidly and is heading towards 643 million by 2030. This is a worldwide epidemic.

In the past, type 2 diabetes was thought to be a progressive disease with no hope for reversal or remission. People were — and sometimes still are — taught to “manage” type 2 diabetes, rather than to try to reverse the underlying process.

But now people with type 2 diabetes can hope to regain their health! Today we know that the hallmarks of type 2 diabetes — high blood sugar and high insulin — can often be reversed with a very low-carb diet, severe caloric restriction, or weight loss surgery.

People don’t just have to “manage” their diabetes as it progresses. Instead, they can often lower their blood sugar to normal levels with diet alone, and may be able to avoid or discontinue most medications.

Normal blood sugar levels and fewer or no medications likely means no progression of disease, and no progression of complications. People with a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes may be able to live long, healthy lives, with toes, eyesight, and kidneys intact!

If you are not on any medications, you can start your journey back to health today. If you are on medications for diabetes or for other conditions, consult your doctor before beginning any lifestyle change, such as a low-carb diet, so your medications are adjusted safely as your blood sugars improve.

When you’re ready, here’s where to start: A low-carbohydrate diet for beginners. During your own journey, you might be inspired by some spectacular diabetes success stories.

FAQs

What is the best diet to reverse type 2 diabetes? ›

Some people follow a low-carbohydrate diet, which is no more than 130 grams (g) of carbs a day, or 26% of your daily intake of calories. Speak with a healthcare professional about strategies and targets to suit you. Some people recommend a ketogenic diet for managing type 2 diabetes because it can help you lose weight.

Can diet alone reverse type 2 diabetes? ›

Research funded by Diabetes UK and carried out by a team from Newcastle University has discovered that Type 2 diabetes can be reversed by an extremely low-calorie diet alone.

How can I beat type 2 diabetes naturally? ›

Here are 10 Things You Can Do to Beat Diabetes Naturally:
  1. Exercise Regularly. ...
  2. Adapt Portion Control in Your Diabetes Diet. ...
  3. Opt for Foods with a Low Glycemic Index. ...
  4. Get Enough Sleep. ...
  5. Plan for a Healthy Weight. ...
  6. Control Your Carb Intake to Control Diabetes. ...
  7. Relieve Your Stress. ...
  8. Stay Hydrated.

How can I lower my type 2 diabetes without medication? ›

Instead of taking medications, try incorporating some healthy lifestyle changes to help manage this common disease.
  1. Eat a healthy diet. ...
  2. Lose weight. ...
  3. Exercise. ...
  4. Make a commitment to exercising regularly by finding a partner. ...
  5. Test your blood sugar. ...
  6. Get enough quality sleep. ...
  7. Getting regular checkups.
Nov 22, 2017

What is the miracle fruit that cures diabetes? ›

Overview. Miracle fruit is an evergreen shrub that grows in West Africa. The berry, leaf, and seed oil are used as medicine. People use miracle fruit for diabetes, obesity, taste disturbances in people treated with cancer drugs, and other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

How can I reverse type 2 diabetes permanently? ›

According to recent research, type 2 diabetes cannot be cured, but individuals can have glucose levels that return to non-diabetes range, (complete remission) or pre-diabetes glucose level (partial remission) The primary means by which people with type 2 diabetes achieve remission is by losing significant amounts of ...

Is fasting good for diabetes? ›

The American Diabetes Association doesn't recommend fasting as a technique for diabetes management. The association says lifestyle changes, including medical nutrition therapy and more physical activity, as the cornerstones for weight loss and good diabetes control.

What foods can reverse diabetes? ›

Diet rich in non-starchy and low carb vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus, artichoke and beets has been proven to reverse type 2 diabetes. They can give the hunger pangs go away without loading your body with excess carbohydrates.

How can I lower my A1C levels overnight? ›

Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to lower your A1C level. Exercise is one of the best ways to lower blood sugar. A single session of exercise can lower blood sugar for 24 hours or more. Get in the gym consistently, and your A1C level will drop as well.

What is the root cause of diabetes type 2? ›

Although not everyone with type 2 diabetes is overweight, obesity and an inactive lifestyle are two of the most common causes of type 2 diabetes. These things are responsible for about 90% to 95% of diabetes cases in the United States.

Is turmeric good for diabetic? ›

Consuming turmeric root extract can help in reducing insulin resistance that leads to rise in blood sugar levels. It also improves the functioning of beta cells, which are beneficial for diabetes.

Is oatmeal good for diabetics? ›

Oatmeal offers a host of health benefits and can be a great go-to food for those with diabetes, as long as the portion is controlled. One cup of cooked oatmeal contains approximately 30 grams of carbs, which can fit into a healthy meal plan for people with diabetes.

How do you flush sugar out of your body? ›

7 tips to detox from sugar
  1. Eat breakfast. Eating breakfast with proteins, complex carbohydrates, fiber-rich foods, and healthy fats can keep blood sugar balanced and prevent sugar cravings throughout the day.
  2. Start small. ...
  3. Eat more healthy fats. ...
  4. Add protein. ...
  5. Snack on fruit. ...
  6. Swap your drinks. ...
  7. Stay hydrated.
Apr 23, 2021

How can I get off metformin naturally? ›

Keeping up a moderate weight, eating a healthy diet, and exercising are the best ways to help lower your blood glucose. If you can manage these through lifestyle changes, you may be able to stop taking metformin or other diabetes drugs.

How can type 2 diabetes be controlled without insulin? ›

To help manage your blood sugar levels, try to:
  1. eat a well-balanced diet.
  2. get at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise per day, five days per week.
  3. complete at least two sessions of muscle-strengthening activities per week.
  4. get enough sleep.

What vitamins should diabetics avoid? ›

Supplements may cause unwelcome—or dangerous—side effects, especially if they interact with your medications.
...
John's wort, or niacin.
  • Chromium. A chromium deficiency may lead to high blood sugar levels. ...
  • Vitamin E & St. John's Wort. ...
  • Niacin.

How long does it take cinnamon to lower blood sugar? ›

The addition of 1, 3, or 6 g of cinnamon to the diet led to significant decreases in serum glucose levels after 40 days. Values after 20 days were significantly lower only in the group receiving 6 g of cinnamon (Table 1).

Which spice is good for diabetes? ›

Cinnamon (Dalchini) Cinnamon is an antioxidant that's been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce fasting blood sugars. In fact, according to a study published in the International Journal of Molecular Science, cinnamon has the ability to improve insulin sensitivity.

How much weight do you need to lose to reverse type 2 diabetes? ›

In one from 2011, people who were recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes returned their blood sugar levels to normal when they lost weight on a calorie-restrictive diet. In a 2016 follow-up study, people who had been diabetic for up to 10 years were able to reverse their condition when they lost about 33 pounds.

How long will it take to reverse type 2 diabetes? ›

How long does it take to reverse diabetes? There's no set timeframe for when people with Type 2 diabetes may start to see their hard work pay off. In general, diabetes experts say with medication and lifestyle changes, diabetes patients could notice a difference in three to six months.

What is the pinch method for type 2 diabetes? ›

According to its proponents, you use the pinch method by holding the thumb and index finger of one hand just above the wrist of the other hand and then exerting a little bit of pressure on the wrist. Doing this will supposedly cause the release of insulin and break down glucose.

How do you reset your pancreas? ›

The pancreas can be triggered to regenerate itself through a type of fasting diet, say US researchers. Restoring the function of the organ - which helps control blood sugar levels - reversed symptoms of diabetes in animal experiments. The study, published in the journal Cell, says the diet reboots the body.

Why is my blood sugar high when I'm not eating carbs? ›

While protein typically has very little effect on blood glucose, in the absence of carbohydrates (such as a low carb meal) or insulin, it can raise blood glucose. Many individuals with diabetes who eat carb-free meals will take a bit of insulin to cover the difference.

Can skipping meals cause diabetes? ›

The researchers found that skipping breakfast once a week is associated with a 6 percent higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The numbers rose from there, with skipping breakfast 4 or 5 times per week leading to an increased risk of 55 percent.

What foods make type 2 diabetes worse? ›

Worst Choices
  • Fried meats.
  • Higher-fat cuts of meat, such as ribs.
  • Pork bacon.
  • Regular cheeses.
  • Poultry with skin.
  • Deep-fried fish.
  • Deep-fried tofu.
  • Beans prepared with lard.
Dec 6, 2020

What foods can diabetics eat freely? ›

What foods can I eat if I have diabetes?
  • vegetables. nonstarchy: includes broccoli, carrots, greens, peppers, and tomatoes. ...
  • fruits—includes oranges, melon, berries, apples, bananas, and grapes.
  • grains—at least half of your grains for the day should be whole grains. ...
  • protein. ...
  • dairy—nonfat or low fat.

How much weight do you need to lose to reverse type 2 diabetes? ›

In one from 2011, people who were recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes returned their blood sugar levels to normal when they lost weight on a calorie-restrictive diet. In a 2016 follow-up study, people who had been diabetic for up to 10 years were able to reverse their condition when they lost about 33 pounds.

What is the fastest way for a diabetic to lose weight? ›

The four best weight-loss diets if you have diabetes
  1. DASH diet. ...
  2. Mediterranean diet. ...
  3. Plant-based diets. ...
  4. Heart-healthy, lower fat diet. ...
  5. Low or no-carb diets. ...
  6. Intermittent fasting, extreme calorie reduction or skipping meals. ...
  7. Cleanses or over-the-counter diet pills not approved by the FDA. ...
  8. Give meal replacement products a try.
Aug 2, 2021

Videos

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