Many people ask can I reverse my diabetes with diet.
From a diagnostic standpoint, once you have type 2 diabetes you have it. But from a physiological standpoint many people can and do reverse their diabetes, no matter how long they’ve had diabetes.
‘Diabetes remission’ and ‘diabetes reversal/ reversed’ are two common interchangeable terms used in scientific research.
Being ‘well-controlled’ is another term that’s frequently used by dietitians and doctors. Although it is similar, being ‘well-controlled’ can have a slightly different meaning to having diabetes that’s in ‘remission’ or ‘reversed.’
For instance, ‘remission’ and ‘reversed’ would most commonly indicate that a person has achieved and is maintaining normal blood glucose and is off all/most medications, achieving these outcomes predominantly through diet and lifestyle changes.
While being well-controlled may indicate that a person uses a combination of diet, lifestyle and various diabetes medications as a way to achieve healthier blood glucose levels.
The role of diet
What we know is that the way you eat plays a critical role in helping with “reversal” of diabetes.
Dietary change alone can lead to better A1c outcomes than prescribing common medications like Metformin.
Dietary change helps reduce risk of diabetes complications and improves other health biomarkers such as weight, blood pressure and cholesterol.
In the past couple of years, research has shown there are 2 dietary methods that are getting the best outcomes:
1. A very low calorie diet
Professor Roy Taylor from Newcastle University in the United Kingdom, has now conducted a number of studies that show a very low calorie diet, under 800 calories a day, leads to diabetes reversal. You should not attempt to follow a very low calorie diet without guidance from your doctor.
While very low cal can be effective in the short term, living on a very low calorie diet is not a proven strategy long term.
As you can imagine, calorie restriction produces:
- Can lead to nutritional deficiency
- Inability to socialize
- And places lifelong demand on willpower
There is another approach that is more sustainable long term…
2. A low-carbohydrate diet
Here at DMP we encourage people with type 2 diabetes to follow a low carb diet.
Using a low carb diet for the treatment of type 2 diabetes is the key topic of my PhD (which I’m currently in the process of completing). I’ve been researching and working in this area for many years now and our team knows from experience that this way of eating helps people get results, and maintain them – read our member testimonials and stories.
To demonstrate what the research on low carb eating shows, view the chart below.
These results are from several systematic reviews with meta-analysis (one of the strongest forms of research) where they compared all the randomized controlled trials conducted in people with type 2 diabetes against each other.
You can see that compared to other approaches, people with type 2 diabetes who follow a low carb diet achieve:
- better HbA1c
- improved cholesterol levels
- reduced blood pressure
- reduce their medications
In real life, we’ve seen people lower their HbA1c much more than 0.5% – many reducing their levels from 8% or 12% back to normal. We’ve also seen them reduce or eliminate medications, just as the research shows.
If they can do it, so can you!
A low carb eating plan is easy to follow and very flexible too, so overall we’ve found its the best long-term strategy.
That’s really how you have to think about it – as a life-long healthy eating plan, not just a “diet.”
Focus on eating whole foods lower in carbs like fresh vegetables, lower carb fruits, dairy products, meat, poultry, nuts and seeds, small amounts of beans and legumes, olive oil, olives, avocados and more.
To get started with treating your diabetes with diet – see our diet guidelines here.
For more help and support, you might consider joining us as a member.
I’m 83 and moved to a new state 1 year ago. Have always had high cholesterol (at one time it was 320). My MD back home put me on 200mg Atorvastatin (I’m 5′ weigh 95 lbs.) and brought it down to 225 and a A1c 6.2 when I first saw my Dr. here. She told me I was prediabetic and gave me a list of foods to avoid. That’s hard to do since I live in an assisted living home and the meal is free, however I shop to substitute food groups. It’s been 6 months and she wants to increase my medication because my cholesterol is 208 and A1c 5.8. Do you think I’m unreasonable in refusing?
Jedha: Nutritionist (MNutr)
Well done on keeping your blood glucose in a healthy range Claudia!! Medications should always be discussed with your doctor and you can always get a second opinion too, if you feel concerned.
Am I able to subscribe for a one month only as a trial?
Jedha: Nutritionist (MNutr)
We do not provide trial memberships, but you can join with a monthly subscription and cancel or upgrade if you wish to.
Just been diagnosed with diabetes looking for credible help no miracle cures, your help seems to be the way forward
Emily - Dietitian (MS, RD)
Glad you are finding our information helpful! You definitely want to be skeptical of anything that claims to be a “miracle cure,” whereas the positive effects of following a low carb diet are continually supported and backed by science and research.
This is note about me
It’s about the man I for cargive for. We have changed him my food .by small portions
But it has to be on everything you eat. I don’t eat everything he eats. But it has also helped me in other ways. It’s help me health wise. I have no weight problem..amen. I
Just wanted you know that you are right Yvonne and say thank you
No. You will have it for ever. All you doing with the diet is putting a baNdage. If you go back to eat fast food or regular food you will see your a1c and your blood shugar hi. So it don not matter wHat this people tell you, you have it for ever.
Hi Jose, While diabetes is not reversible from a diagnostic standpoint (once you have it, you have it), diabetes can be reversible from a physiological standpoint in many.
That is, you can reverse how the body functions and get your blood sugars within a normal, healthy range so that you are functioning like a non-diabetic. This is entirely possible and we would say you have “controlled diabetes.”
And, once you regulate your body, you wouldn’t want to go back to eating crappy food because you’re right, the diabetes would just be triggered again. Our bodies weren’t designed to eat crappy food. We have a natural biochemistry that was designed to eat food from nature.
I always love a saying nutritionist and researchers Barry Groves said: Humans are the only animals smart enough to make their own food and the only ones stupid enough to eat it!
Love to lose some weight and get off meds but i am useless at dieting have no idea what is good or bad .Need a great cook book for diabetic can you help me please to find a great one there are lots out there but some are not looking so good .Please thank you so much CARRIE LEGENDRE
It is possible Carrie. You don’t need to ‘diet’ you just have to work on changing what you eat every day – your lifestyle!
Why don’t you consider joining our VIP Members Club? It’s so much better than any cookbook with hundreds of options, lots of tools and resources, cooking classes, support and more. Check it out http://diabetesmealplans.com/vip/
Great read. Looking to take the next step.
Glad you enjoyed it David and all the best for your next steps 🙂