I recently received an email from a reader, Ralph who was kind enough to share with me his story of diabetes reversal. He demonstrates that Type 2 Diabetes is not, in fact, a chronic and progressive disease, but instead, a fully reversible one. However, medications cannot reverse this disease – only dietary interventions. He writes:
I would be happy to answer any questions from you or anyone else with questions. And again, thank you for busting these myths and for helping people get to better health!
==> I am a 51 year old male, 5’7″, moderately active. Over the years, my fasting blood sugar had started to creep up, and my cholesterol numbers were never great. The doctor had started me with fish oil, Niaspan (Niacin), carb reduction and things to avoid using medications initially. It finally got to a point where it was becoming health-harming to NOT go to medication.
And so for several years, I have been taking Januvia and Metformin for diabetes, Lipitor (Atorvastatin) for cholesterol.
At a weight of 223lbs, my A1C was closing in on 8, fasting blood sugar anywhere from 145-185. Cholesterol out of whack [HDL 37, VLDL 49, Triglycerides 245].I had been on these medications for a couple of years with some results, but things slowly started to get worse.
After watching videos by Dr. Jason Fung, I decided to try Intermittent Fasting to treat my diabetes. Found info online about different ways to go about it, and started doing it.
After less than 2 months, I had to quit taking Januvia and Metformin, as I was getting dizzy from blood sugar getting too low….after stopping them, I was just fine. At my next blood work (6 months later), A1C was 5.9, fasting blood sugar around 100.
Interestingly, my cholesterol numbers were now in the Lowest risk category….not expecting that. [HDL 38, VLDL 30, Triglycerides 148].
I lost 40 lbs in those 6 months. Did not change the content of my diet much…ate PLENTY of saturated fats, proteins, other fats, and tweaked my carbs back considerably. So I stopped taking Lipitor.
At next blood work (3 months later) my cholesterol even lower, with a raise in my good cholesterol, which is apparently difficult to achieve [HDL 41, VLDL 24, Triglycerides 122]. A1C still below 6, fasting blood sugar never above 100.
At my checkups, I continue to confuse my doctor with statements like “I guess all those fried bologna and cheese sandwiches must be lowering my cholesterol”. He is not amused, but seems glad something is working.
My Intermittent Fasting routine? For the first 8 months I simply didn’t eat anything on Monday and Wednesday……then on the other days, I ate only within a 3-hour window. This was my choice, and a less-austere routine will surely be easier for most. This is just what works for me. Essentially cuts out snacking, and takes emphasis off of food. Saves a lot of money on food too. On fast days, I would have coffee in the morning with a sugar-free sweetner, and a bit of dairy creamer. This never seemed to hurt my efforts.
Yes, I did “cheat” periodically. When we went to the movies on Sunday (several times a year) I often ate a huge tub of buttered popcorn. This would generate a water-based weight gain of up to 6 pounds, which would come back off completely in about 2 days. I noticed that daily gains were always preceeded by intaking more carbs than I should. I don’t believe carbs are necessarily bad, its just that they are the quickest macro-nutrient to digest, so I use them sparingly and focus on eating fats and proteins, which through gloconeogenesis, provide a slow, constant stream of energy.
Several times I did (and someimes do) eat twice a day on my 3-hour-window days. A “cheat” like this has never seemed to hurt me on this new way of eating.
After close to a year, I will frequently eat a salad with meat and cheese, high fat dressing, on Monday and Wednesday. Still stick to 3-hour window on the other days. From the outset (and still true today) I feel the best after 24+ hours of not eating.
I never count calories/carbs/fats/anything….I eat what I’m in the mood for, and simply try to make carbs the smallest contributor to my caloric intake. I eat until I’m satisfied, which for most would be too much. I did not change how I exercise, as diet is far and away the most important part of weight control.
I would recommend listening to what your body wants and giving it what it craves. For me, that was fats….all kinds. I can no longer accept that fats (saturated or otherwise) are to blame for bad cholesterol numbers, as the evidence from my own body contradicts it. Keep track of your numbers (blood chemistry, weight, etc) and prove for yourself what works.
By The Fasting Method
For many health reasons, losing weight is important. It can improve your blood sugars, blood pressure and metabolic health, lowering your risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer. But it’s not easy. That’s where we can help.
By Jason Fung, MD
Jason Fung, M.D., is a Toronto-based nephrologist (kidney specialist) and a world leading expert in intermittent fasting and low-carb diets.