Published Nov 12th, 2020
If you asked this question a few years ago, medical experts would have vehemently denied that this was possible. Be encouraged though, as you can get off medication for the illness if you are prepared to try.
To clarify, we would rather use the term ‘remission’ than reversal. Diabetes is a lifelong condition that can occur in your body at any time. There is no quick and easy solution to reversing Type 2 Diabetes, but you can put it into remission in your body, with several provisos. Maintenance is the key to successfully going into remission.
Saturday 14th November is World Diabetes Day, so if you are living with the disease, perhaps now would be a good time to try to put this condition into remission. It is encouraging to see that even https://www.diabetes.org.uk/ believes that there is potential light at the end of the tunnel after scientific research and successful stories have emerged. Wouldn’t it be great to get rid of daily medication, and solve your illness by ‘training’ yourself to live a different lifestyle?
Can anyone try this?
Make no mistake, the success rate is not exactly phenomenal, around 1 person in 1,000 do manage to hit the mark. But 1 person in this ratio is better than none, and it could be you. The NHS in the UK spend on average over £25m per day on the treatment of diabetes, an extremely worrying fact and a drain on our financial resources to treat a multitude of other life-threatening diseases.
As usual, it is advisable to speak to your doctor regarding any changes you want to make and discuss any other underlying illnesses you may have. In the last 3 years, GPs have become a lot more open and receptive to patients and the idea that some may be able to put their diabetes into remission.
It is important to note that whilst stating statistics, success in reversing diabetes is not regularly reported, so numbers could be higher than stated. That is encouraging.
Why do I have diabetes?
You may be asking this question if you are not overweight, eat healthily and take a certain amount of exercise. Diabetes takes no prisoners, and anyone is susceptible if your body does not produce the right amount of the hormone, insulin, which controls glucose balance. Blood sugar rises to potentially harmful levels, which can then cause additional problems such as heart disease, diabetic retinopathy (eye disease caused by deterioration of the retina), leg ulcers (leading to possible amputation) and other knock on effects.
Many factors are responsible for developing Type 2 Diabetes, but weight gain is one of the main protagonists.
What can I do to try to put my body into remission?
Even if you believe that your diet is a healthy one, there are still things you can do sensibly, and without being extreme. There are many ‘weird and wonderful’ suggestions on the web, but please do consult your doctor, as some of these can be dangerous to other aspects of your health.
Losing weight is a good thing to start with. Recommended initial weight loss is 10% of your body weight, unless you fall into the obese category, where doctors and specialists will advise at least a 15kg loss.
This is not going to be easy and may not be achieved in a short period of time, but if you really want to put your body into remission, this will certainly help. You must help yourself and could well be delighted with the results.
Cutting down on ‘non-essential’ foodstuffs, such as-in between unhealthy or sugary snacks is where to start. Keeping a check on your carbohydrate intake is also of value, so make some substitutions from refined carbs (those that have been stripped of many nutrients) and keep your intake to between 20-90g per day of nutrient dense foods, such as vegetables, red and black berries, seeds and a handful of nuts.
Calorie intake can be a problem, but if you can lessen the calories you consume, you could well be on the way to lowering your blood sugar levels without taking medication.
Doctors are very hopeful that reducing weight by more than just a few pounds, can have a major effect on ‘reversing diabetes’. However, please remember ‘remission’ as opposed to reversal. The process of keeping weight down must be ongoing, and if you regain weight, you could be back to square one.
Please believe that hope is on the horizon if you are prepared to make the effort with losing weight by sensible food choices and exercise.
What help can I get from my doctor?
Your doctor will encourage you to get into remission. They may suggest consulting a dietician who can give you a programme for weight loss and a list of the best foods if you are diabetic, and what to avoid.
More regular HbAic (blood sugar measurement) tests may be required during the period you are trying to achieve remission, around about 3 months apart. Nobody says this will be a fun time but think of the sense of achievement you will gain when your blood sugar levels drop below 6%, and you stay that way consistently and without medication. Pat yourself on the back and realise that you have achieved this and the way forward to a healthier life.
Can I expect fast results?
Some people can experience a significant effect within 8 weeks and show a distinct drop in blood sugar levels. Just remember you must keep going and not rest on your laurels!
Good luck – it is possible to achieve this.
Written by Bev Walton
Food Writer and Nutritionist, dietician
A chef of over 35 years with experience in all types of cuisine, dietary plans, recipe development, health and nutrition. I have been writing for over 10 years for both magazines, websites and ghostwriting for ebooks, Kindle and fully published books. I have a degree in nutrition and dietetics and work with restaurants and organisations within the healthcare profession. I am also able to take high quality photographs of recipes created. No writing task is too great, and whilst I specialise in the above, I am able to write about any topic you throw at me. Member of the Guild of food writers.