Can Diabetes Be Reversed?

There are two types of diabetes –  type I and type II. Type I diabetes, sometimes called juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes is typically diagnosed in children, teenagers and young adults. Type I diabetes is characterized by the beta cells of the pancreas no longer making insulin, usually because the body’s immune system has destroyed and attacked them. Treatment for type I diabetes always includes insulin medication, other medications to control glucose and making wise food choices. These patients should also be physically active and should work to keep their cholesterol at an acceptable level.

Type II diabetes, sometimes called adult-onset diabetes or non-insulin-dependent diabetes is typically diagnosed in adults, although people can develop type II diabetes at any age, even during childhood. This type of diabetes begins with insulin resistance, whereby fat, muscle and other tissue do not use insulin correctly. When the body first begins being insulin resistant, the pancreas tries to keep up by producing more insulin. Over time, it stops being able to produce the insulin that is necessary to process meals, resulting in diabetes. Treatment for type Ii diabetes usually includes using diabetes medication, which can include insulin, making wise food choices and being physically active.

The difference between these two types of diabetes is that type I is unfortunately irreversible, whereas type II diabetes is reversible to the extent that you can begin to live a normal life. Type I diabetes cannot be prevented, but type II diabetes is entirely preventable.

Preventing diabetes is in fact far easier than you might think. People who are overweight and who have a sedentary lifestyle are far more likely to develop type II diabetes, regardless of age. Therefore, eating a diet that is rich in carbohydrate and protein as well as fruit and vegetables but that is low in fat and salt is the right way to go. Cut back on fat and try not to buy processed or overly salty food, and if you’re overweight, you should aim to get down to a healthy BMI for your age and height.

Research has also indicated that exercise is a fantastic way to prevent diabetes. Exercising your muscles means that your body is still working to process glucose up to 70 hours after the exercise – but without the exercise, your body cannot process that glucose as easily. Exercise in conjunction with weight loss is one of the most effective ways of preventing diabetes.

Reversing diabetes is possible in type II diabetes patients and in the past few months, data has been released from a small study done in Newcastle, England, whereby 7 out of 11 type II diabetes patients had their diabetes successfully reversed.

This revolutionary study involved a control group and a group that were put on a special low calorie diet of 600 calories a day. The food eaten included meal replacement shakes and non-starchy vegetables. The control groups’ diet remained exactly the same. Both groups were closely supervised by medical professionals throughout the trial and after just one week, the pre-breakfast blood sugar levels of the diet group had returned to normal. MRI scans also showed that fat levels in the pancreas had returned to normal, enabling it to regain its ability to make and produce insulin.

After the eight week diet, the volunteers returned to normal eating but were advised on portion size and the sorts of foods that they should be eating. Immediately after the trial, 10 out of 11 patients were diabetes free. After a few months of eating ‘normally’, 7 out of the 11 patients remained diabetes free, with all of those patients still diabetes free today

So the good news is that type II diabetes is reversible – but as mentioned above, the best course of action would be to prevent the disease from occurring in the first place. For more information on diabetes prevention and reversal, speak to your doctor.