Reversing or remission of type 2 diabetes

Is it possible?
Nov 16, 2018 · Tom Rifai, MD, FACP
Enjoying time with family free of diabetes

Affecting about 30 million adult Americans, type 2 diabetes is by far the most common form of diabetes, and is largely driven by modern, western lifestyles and environmental factors. Excessive intake of highly processed, refined foods and a lack of physical activity all contribute to the disease. But, it’s estimated that the overwhelming majority (80-90%) of type 2 diabetes cases are entirely preventable.


Lessons from the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP)

A National Institute of Health randomized controlled study, called the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), measured the effect of weekly meetings between participants and health professionals for nine months. The meetings included both one-on-one and group meetings. Participants with prediabetes were able to reduce their body weight by an average of 7% over approximately nine months. Those who reduced their body weight by more than 10% within the first six months of the study, reduced their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by approximately 80% over the next three years.

Here are five keys to optimal wellness and disease prevention that can help reverse insulin resistance, prediabetes, and type 2 diabetes:

It’s about calorie balance.  A mantra for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is “don’t starve, don’t stuff.” It’s better not to wait until you’re extremely hungry to eat, as that simply allows hunger hormones to rise, causing you to over-compensate by overeating.  When you eat, consider using smaller plates at home, taking half of your restaurant meal home for another meal, and reducing the number of sugary beverages you drink.

: It’s not just exercise, but also an increase in NEAT – non-exercise activity time – is critical for lowering blood sugar. Exercising then sitting for 10 hours for the rest of the day is not optimal for reversing prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. The American Diabetes Association recommends breaking up 30 minutes of sitting time with five minutes of physical activity.

KEY 3 
Mind matters
: This involves anything that affects psychological health, including sleep deprivation, which can be caused by insomnia, sleep apnea, depression, anxiety, stress, or eating disorders. These should be recognized and dealt with appropriately with a skilled professional.

Clear your house and workspace of tempting, high-calorie, processed foods as much as possible and replace them with whole fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, and make them easily accessible. Plus, its proven that when life partners are on the same page regarding healthy lifestyle, the odds of success increase, so talk to your household about it.

: The process of therapeutic lifestyle change is unbelievably powerful, but it’s not easy, and it helps if you have a plan to track your progress. Use apps, do daily weigh-ins, talk to your doctor, or leverage resources like our Diabetes Prevention Program to help you stay on track. 

Ready to lower your risk of diabetes?

Our Diabetes Prevention Program can help.