Diets that reverse diabetes

Summary:  Diabetes, a condition of constantly high blood sugar level, is caused by unhealthy diet, stress  and lack of physical activities. It can be reversed by an extremely low calorie diet or by a healthy diet rich in coconut oil or by  healthy diet and exercise. The first two options can reverse diabetes in 11 days to 8 weeks. The third option may take 1-2 years to achieve complete reversal. All three methods are supported by scientific research and clinical trials.

Diabetes in brief

We suffer diabetes when our blood has too much sugar while body cells are hungry for sugar as fuel for energy. People with mild diabetes may experience fatigue, weakness, frequent urination, dizziness, headache, sweating, shaking, shortness of breath, and fainting. If blood sugar continued at high levels for a long time, it might cause serious complications such as coronary heart disease, stroke, retinopathy, kidney failure, liver failure, cirrhosis, neuropathy, hypothyroidism, and kidney, bladder, leg and skin infections (Diabetes NZ, 2016). The number of people suffering diabetes has been increasing at an accelerated rate all over the world. In 2010, health experts predicted that the number of people with diabetes would increase from 285 million to 439 million by 2030 (Shaw et al., 2010)

There are two types of diabetes. In type 1 diabetes the pancreas is progressively damaged to the point of stopping the production of insulin, a hormone that regulates the movement of sugar into body cells.

In type 2 diabetes, body cells do not absorb as much sugar as required in spite of high insulin levels in the blood because they have insulin resistance or insulin insensitivity.

Conventional treatment of diabetes :

– Injecting insulin to type 1 diabetic patients

– For type 2 diabetes, conventional treatment includes drugs that reduce insulin resistance such as metformin and glitazones, or stimulate the pancreas to increase insulin production during meals such as sulfonylureas and meglitinides, or stimulate insulin production after meals such as gliuptins or reduce absorption of sugar in the digestive tract such as acarbose or increased sugar excretion in the urine such as gliflozins (Netdoctor, nd)

Common complications of these drugs include nausea, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, hypoglycemia, weight gain, swelling of the legs, fluid retention, flatulence, heart failure, swollen ankles, liver cirrhosis, kidney failure,  acute pancreatitis, indigestion, urinary tract infections (, nd; Netdoctor, nd; Apotex, 2015).

In conventional treatment, diabetics have to take these medications for life to control their blood sugar and there is no cure for diabetes according to mainstream doctors. Most patients believe their doctors and do not believe that there are other methods that can cure diabetes. As a result, they do not look for nor believe in natural therapies.

More mainstream doctors are interested in natural medicine

It is encouraging that many medical doctors are willing to do research to look for natural remedies to cure diabetes. For example, Dr. Alec Burton in Australia, Dr. Golhamer in the United States, Dr. Jason Fung in Canada become leaders in applying diet and lifestyle changes to treat diabetes and high blood pressure.

Dr. Jason Fung, a kidney specialist, found that conventional medicine can not cure kidney disease, primarily caused by diabetes, a disease of unhealthy diet and lifestyle. It means to cure diabetes, and associated kidney disease requires a radical change in a diet and lifestyle. Clinical trials and practical experience provide evidence for this approach. After focusing on dietary changes to treat diabetes and kidney failure, Dr. Fung has helped his patients achieve successful outcomes (Fung & Moore, 2016).

Natural remedies reverse diabetes

Following  are 3 diet protocols that have helped reverse diabetes. Please note that it is the body that heals itself when it is in the right conditions and environment. And these protocols help provide the body with the right conditions to reverse diabetes.

Extreme low calorie diet: Eat less than a quarter of normal level for a few weeks .

Clinical trials and experiments have shown that diabetes is reversed within a few weeks when the patients reduce their calorie intake to 25% of their normal level – about 500 to 600 calories a day. The duration of restricted calorie intake that reversed diabetes could be as short as 11 days (Doughty, 2013) and 8 weeks (Newcastle University, 2015). Very low energy diet also reversed type 2 diabetes among young people (Gow et al., 2017).

This extreme low calorie diet consists of diet shakes and 200 calories from non starchy vegetables. Results of studies presented at the American Diabetes Conference showed that a very low calorie diet “can remove fat which is clogging up the pancreas allowing normal insulin secretion to be restored(Newcastle University, 2015). At the same time, when the body uses fat to produce energy for the body functions, it decreases insulin resistance or increases insulin sensitivity (Cahill, 2006). These changes help free the body from diabetes.

Extreme low calorie diet includes fasting. According to those who use calorie restriction diet of  5-600 calories a day, they are struggling to cope with hunger all the time (Doughty, 2013). On the other hand, those who do water fasting have to fight hunger only on the first day. From the second or third day they no longer feel hungry (Fung & Moore, 2016).

Skipping breakfast or dinner and eating less in the two other meals is also a good way to limit your calorie intake to cure diabetes without reducing to 5-600 calories per day. The reason is that when you skip breakfast or dinner, the body has the opportunity to use fat as fuel, a condition that helps remove fat in the pancreas, increase insulin production and improve insulin action (Fung & Moore, 2016).

It is important to note that during extreme low calorie diet and returning to normal eating, we must eat healthy food and exercise regularly. Otherwise the disease will come back. Eating healthy is to avoid sugary foods, avoid processed foods including refined flour foods (e.g white bread, sandwiches), eat whole foods (e.g. brown rice, wholemeal bread), eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables and spices (esp. cinnamon, garlic), eat less meat, avoid cooking vegetable oils (except coconut oil) and eat foods containing good fats such as olive oil, flaxseed oil or linseed oil, coconut oil, sesame oil, walnuts and almonds.

2. A diet rich in coconut oil (cold pressed virgin coconut oil)

Garvan Institute for Medical Research in Australia has discovered that a diet rich in coconut oil protects the normal insulin sensitivity of the body cells and reduces fat (weight loss) for  obese people. In other words, a diet rich in coconut oil helps reverse diabetes (Turner, 2009). Coconut oil demonstrate this effect because coconut oil is medium chain fatty acids, which is small enough to enter the mitochondria – the power house of cells. This is similar to the condition during fasting where fat is used for energy production resulting in increased insulin sensitivity or decreased insulin resistance (Cahill, 2006).

“When people eat a high fat diet, their bodies attempt to compensate by increasing their capacity to oxidise fat. The medium chain fatty acid (coconut oil) diet was more effective at increasing the oxidative capacity of muscle than the long chain fatty acid (lard) diet leading to less fat storage in muscle and better insulin action”. (Turner, 2009).

Many have testified that by following a diet rich in coconut oil (at least 3 tablespoons or 50 to 60 cc divided into three times a day) they reversed diabetes within 1-2 months (Shilharvy, 2012;

Coconut oil can be taken straight from the bottle if you don’t mind the taste.  It can also be used as bread spread, cooking vegetables or salad dressing or mixed with soup. Of course, in addition to coconut oil, we also need to eat healthy food, especially to reduce the sweet and processed foods and eat a wide variety of local fruits and vegetables.

3. Eat healthy, relieve stress and physical activity .

This method is slower than the above two methods, but it will eventually help the body heal both types of diabetes (Mercola, 2013).

Healthy eating does not have to be complicated. We just need to eat plenty of unprocessed foods such as brown rice, whole oats, wholemeal bread; fermented food such as sauerkraut, kimchi, natto, fermented tofu; lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, spices and herbs especially cinnamon, garlic, onion; and avoid sugar, sugary foods, refined oils, processed fats and processed foods when possible. Drink enough filtered water. Healthy eating also means eating slowly, chewing well before swallowing, not eating too much, and eating in a relaxing setting.

Appropriate exercise can be as simple as walking, jogging, swimming, sports, tai chi, pushing, dumbbell exercise, rope skipping and climbing. Do as often as possible deep slow breathing to relieve stress to help control blood sugar.

Please note :

1. If you are taking your diabetes medication, continue to take your medication but tell your family doctor before engaging in one of these three diet protocol so that he/she can monitor and reduce medication as blood sugar level improves.

2. If you decide to go on extreme low calorie diet or to fast, you need to eat less than normal in the day prior to the starting date as well as in the day after the end of the diet or the fast.

3. This article is for the sole purpose of providing the readers with information to help them to be more informed before making a personal health-related decision. It does not replace their need for consultation with  health care practitioners. 

References :

Apotex NZ Ltd (2015). Metformin [Datasheet].

Cahill, G. F. Fuel Metabolism in Starvation. Annu. Rev. Nutr. 2006. 26:1–22 doi: 10.1146/annurev.nutr.26.061505.111258 (n.d.) Diabetic medication side effects.

Doughty, R. I reversed my diabetes in just 11 days – by going on a starvation diet. Daily Mail Australia. 6 August 2013

Fung, J. & Moore, J. (2016) The complete guide to fasting. Published in 2016 by Victory Belt Publishing, Las Vegas.

Gow, M.L., Baur, L.A., Johnson, N.A., Cowell, C.T., & Garnett, S.P. Reversal of type 2 diabetes in youth who adhere to a very-low-energy diet: a pilot study. Diabetologia. 2017 Mar;60(3):406-415. doi: 10.1007/s00125-016-4163-5.

Lim, E.L., Hollingsworth, K.G., Aribisala, B.S., Chen, M.J., Mathers, J.C. &Taylor, R.  Reversal of type 2 diabetes: normalisation of beta cell function in association with decreased pancreas and liver triacylglycerol. Diabetologia. DOI 10.1007/s00125-011-2204-7

Mercola (2016). Diabetes Remission possible with diet, exercise. Mercola – Take Control Of Your Health

Netdoctor (n.d.) Oral treatment to control blood glucose.

Newcastle University (2015). Diet reverses diabetes. Press release 8 October 2015

Shaw JE, Sicree RA, Zimmet PZ (2010). Global estimates of the prevalence of diabetes for 2010 and 2030. Diabetes Res. Clin. Pract. 87:4-14

Shilhavy, B. (2016) Virgin coconut oil effective in treating diabetes. Health Impact News

Turner, N. (2009). How coconut oili could help reduce symptoms of type 2 diabetes. Media release. Garvan Institute of Medical Research. Media release 08 September 2009.