Part III - Prevention and Reversal
Reversing Type 2
Type 2 diabetes is regarded as a preventable disease which results in most cases from many years of being overweight, sedentary and consuming a diet that’s high in refined carbohydrates and fat while low in whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Knowing that healthy choices generally prevent the insulin resistance that causes this disease, it’s reasonable to expect that adherence to a regimen of daily physical activity together with adoption of a healthy diet could improve glucose tolerance and mitigate the disease process.
The term ‘reversal’ is used when people are able to go off medication; however, engagement in a lifestyle program is necessary in order to remain drug free. Discipline and dedication are required to optimize blood sugar control through healthy habits (with or without medication) in those whose bodies have sustained considerable damage.
Reversal is most favored by the following factors:
- Newly diagnosed or less severe cases of type 2
- Weight loss and attainment of ideal weight
- Adoption of a healthy diet
- A minimum of 30 minutes of exercise at least five days a week
- Vegan diet (no animal products - meat, poultry, fish, dairy or eggs)
Vegan Diet Effect
Recent studies conducted by clinical researcher and author Neal Barnard, MD have demonstrated that a vegan diet is able to achieve roughly double the improvement in blood sugar and loss of excess weight when compared to the American Diabetes Association (ADA) diet in adults with type 2 diabetes. In addition, those on the vegan diet ended up with greater drops in LDL cholesterol and better kidney function than those who ate the standardADAdiet.
Participants who consumed the low-fat, low-sugar vegan diet reported that it was simple to follow in that they weren’t required to measure portions or count calories. Individuals with a history of dieting failures are often familiar with losses of control followed by rebound weight gain. For them especially, the allowance of unrestricted consumption gives a much needed measure of freedom.
Prevent and Improve Insulin Resistance
As mentioned earlier, type 2 diabetes is most often the result of unhealthy dietary and lifestyle choices over many years. Therefore, it’s not surprising that a diet for persons with diabetes is not that different from what we should all be eating in order to reduce risk not only for diabetes, but also for most other forms of chronic disease including arthritis, heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s.
These degenerative diseases and others are leading causes of death in developed nations. All of them possess a strong and causal relationship to the quiet, low-grade, ongoing systemic inflammation present in the majority of American adults. This phenomenon is directly traceable to both our refined and highly processed Western diet together with the sedentary nature of the population at large. U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommends an hour of daily physical activity for adults plus an additional half hour for weight reduction.
According to the Centers of Disease Control, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, seeds and nuts should make up the majority of our diet for optimal health and disease prevention. The U.S. Department of Agriculture website, ChooseMyPlate, is a great place to find health and nutrition information including dietary advice, exercise trackers, weight control and more.
Click here for a list of sources.