How to Reverse Type 2 Diabetes – The Quick Start Guide
Twenty years ago, when you bought a brand sparkly new VCR machine, you would also get a thick instruction manual. Read this thoroughly before you start, the manufacturer would implore. There would be detailed setup procedures and troubleshooting guides.
Most of us ignored the manual, just plugged it in and tried to figure out the rest. That’s why we all had the blinking 12:00 on. Today, most new electronics now come with a quick start guide which has the most basic 4 or 5 steps to get your machine working and then anything else you needed, you could reference the detailed instruction manual. Instruction manuals are just so much more useful this way.
Well, I don’t know much about VCRs, but I do know about type 2 diabetes. I can write an entire book about obesity (oh, wait, I did that already), or fasting (oh, wait, coming up) or type 2 diabetes (next up for 2018). But many of you will not want to go through the entire instruction manual. So this is the quick start guide for reversing your type 2 diabetes.
A Fully Reversible Disease
Most doctors, dietitians and diabetes specialists claim that type 2 diabetes is a chronic and progressive disease. The American Diabetes Association, for example, almost proudly proclaims this on its website. Once you get the diagnosis, it’s a life sentence. But, it’s actually a great big lie. Type 2 diabetes is almost always reversible and this is almost ridiculously easy to prove. This is great news for the more than 50% of American adults who have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes or diabetes. Recognizing this truth is the crucial first step in reversing your diabetes or pre-diabetes. Actually, it something that most people already instinctively recognized to be true.
Suppose your friend is diagnosed as diabetic, then works hard to lose 50 pounds. He takes himself off all his medications and his blood sugars are now normal. What would you say to him? Probably something like “Great job. You’re really taking care of yourself. Keep it up!” What you wouldn’t say is something like “You’re such a dirty, filthy liar. My doctor says this is a chronic and progressive disease so you must be lying to me” It seems perfectly obvious that diabetes reversed because your friend lost all that weight. And that’s the point. The disease is reversible.
We’ve known all this along. But only diet and lifestyle changes will reverse it. NOT medications. The most important thing, of course, is to lose weight. But the diabetes medications don’t do this. Quite the contrary. Insulin, for example is notorious for causing weight gain. Patients intuitively sense that they are heading down the wrong path.
They would often say to me, “Doctor. You’ve always said that weight loss is the key to reversing diabetes. Yet you prescribed me a drug that made me gain 25 pounds. How is that good?” I never had a good answer, because none existed. It was not good. The key was weight loss, whereupon the diabetes often goes away or at least gets significantly better. So, logically, insulin does not help reverse the disease, but actually worsens it.
Other medications such as metformin or the DPP4 drug class are weight neutral. While this won’t make things worse, they won’t make things better either. Since weight loss is the key to reversing type 2 diabetes, medications won’t make things better. Medications make blood sugars better, but not the diabetes. We can pretend the disease is better, but that doesn’t make it true. That’s the reason most doctors think type 2 diabetes a chronic and progressive disease. We’ve been using the wrong treatment. We’ve been prescribing drugs for a dietary disease. No wonder it doesn’t work.
So, how can you reverse your diabetes?
The Sugar Bowl
The essential feature of type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes is that our bodies are completely filled with sugar. It’s not just too much sugar in the blood. That’s only part of the problem. There’s too much sugar in our entire body. Imagine our bodies to be a sugar bowl. A bowl of sugar. When we are young, our sugar bowl is empty. Over decades, we eat too much of the wrong things – sugary cereals, desserts and white bread. The sugar bowl gradually fills up with sugar until completely full. The next time you eat, sugar comes into the body, but the bowl is full, so it spills out into the blood.
Insulin is a normal hormone produced when we eat and its job is to allow glucose into the cells. When it is no longer able to do it, glucose piles up outside the cell in the blood, and it is called insulin resistance.
But why does this happen? The cells are already over-filled with glucose (see previous post – A New Paradigm, and Insulin Resistance is Good?). Like trying to blow air into an over-inflated balloon, it simply takes more force. The cell resists the glucose because it’s completely full. insulin resistance is an overflow phenomenon.
It’s like packing your clothes into a suitcase. At first, the clothes go without any trouble. After a certain point, though, it is just impossible to jam in those last 2 T-shirts. You can’t close the suitcase. The luggage is now ‘resistant’ to the clothes. It’s waaayyy harder to put those last 2 T-shirts than the first 2. It’s the same overflow phenomenon. The cell is filled to bursting with glucose, so trying to force more in is difficult and requires much higher doses of insulin.
When the insulin levels are unable to keep up with the increasing resistance, blood sugars rise and your doctor diagnoses you with type 2 diabetes and starts you on a pill, such as metformin. But metformin does not get rid of the sugar. Instead, it simply takes the sugar from the blood and rams it back into the liver. The liver doesn’t want it either, so it ships it out to all the other organs – the kidneys, the nerves, the eyes, the heart. Much of this extra sugar will also just get turned into fat.
The problem, of course, has not been solved – the sugar bowl is still overflowing. You’ve only moved sugar from the blood (where you could see it) into the body (where you couldn’t see it). So, the very next time you eat, the exact same thing happens. Sugar comes in, spills out into the blood and you take metformin to cram the sugar back into the body. This works for a while, but eventually, the body fills up with sugar, too. Now, that same dose of metformin cannot force any more sugar into the body.
So you go to your doctor. What does he do? Instead of getting rid of the toxic sugar load, he doubles the dose of the medication. If the luggage doesn’t close, the solution is to empty it out, not use more force to . The higher dose of medication helps, for a time. Blood sugars go down as you force your body to gag down even more sugar. But eventually, this dose fails as well. So then your doctor gives you a second medication, then a third one and then eventually insulin injections.
Over a period of years, you went from pre-diabetes, to diabetes, to taking one medication, then two then three and then finally large doses of insulin. Here’s the thing. If you are taking more and more medications to keep your blood sugars at the same level, your diabetes is getting worse! Even if your blood sugars get better, your diabetes is getting worse. This is unfortunately what happens to virtually every patient. The body is already overflowing with sugar. The medications only hide the blood sugar by cramming it into the engorged body.The diabetes looks better, since you can only see the blood sugars. Doctors can congratulate themselves on a illusion of a job well done, even as the patient gets continually sicker. Patients require ever increasing doses of medications and yet still suffer with heart attacks, congestive heart failure, strokes, kidney failure, amputations and blindness. “Oh well” the doctor tells himself, “It’s a chronic, progressive disease”.
Imagine that you hide your kitchen garbage under the rug instead throwing it outside in the trash. You can’t see it, so you can pretend your house is clean. When there’s no more room underneath the rug, you throw the garbage into your bedroom, and bathroom, too. Anywhere where you don’t have to see it. Eventually, it begins to smell. Really, really bad. You needed to throw out the garbage, not hide it away. If we understand that too much sugar in the blood is toxic, why can’t we understand that too much sugar in the body is toxic too?
The End Game
What happens over time – 10, 20 years?
Every single part of the body just starts to rot. This is precisely why type 2 diabetes, unlike virtually any other disease, affects every part of our body. Every organ suffers the long term effects of the excessive sugar load. Your eyes rot – and you go blind. Your kidneys rot – and you need dialysis. You heart rots – and you get heart attacks and heart failure. Your brain rots – and you get Alzheimers disease. Your liver rots – and you get fatty liver disease. Your legs rot – and you get diabetic foot ulcers. Your nerves rot – and you get diabetic neuropathy. No part of your body is spared.
Medications and insulin do nothing to slow down the progression of this organ damage, because they do not eliminate the toxic sugar load from our body. We’ve known this inconvenient fact since 2008. No less than 7 multinational, multi-centre, randomized controlled trials of tight blood glucose control with medications (ACCORD, ADVANCE, VADT, ORIGIN, TECOS, ELIXA, SAVOR) failed to demonstrate reductions in heart disease, the major killer of diabetic patients. We pretended that using medications to lower blood sugar makes people healthier. But it’s only been a lie. You can’t use drugs to cure a dietary disease.
How to Reverse Diabetes
Once we understand type 2 diabetes, then the solution becomes pretty bloody obvious. If we have too much sugar in the body, then get rid of it. Don’t simply hide it away so we can’t see it. There are really only two ways to get rid of the excessive sugar in the body.
- Don’t put sugar in.
- Burn it off.
That’s it. That’s all we need to do. The best part? It’s all natural and completely free. No drugs. No surgery. No cost.
Step 1 – Don’t put sugar in
The first step is to eliminate all sugar and refined starches from your diet. Sugar has no nutritional value and can therefore be eliminated. Starches are simply long chains of sugars. Highly refined starches such as flour or white rice are quickly broken down by digestion into glucose. This is quickly absorbed into the blood and raises blood sugar. For example, eating white bread increases blood sugars very quickly. Doesn’t it seem self-evident that we should avoid foods that raise blood sugars because they will eventually be absorbed into the body? The optimum strategy is to eat little or no refined carbohydrates.
Too much dietary protein is also converted into glucose by the body. Therefore, you should avoid eating too much protein as this, too will only add sugar to the body. Protein shakes, protein bars, and protein powders should all be avoided. Instead focus on eating lots of vegetables and natural healthy fats.
Dietary fat, long shunned for its purported effect of causing heart disease, is back. Natural fats, such as found in avocado, nuts and olive oil are well known to have healthy effects on both heart disease and diabetes. The Mediterranean diet, high in natural fats, is well accepted to be a healthy diet. Dietary cholesterol has also been shown to have no harmful effect on the human body. Eggs and butter are back.
Most importantly, stick to eating whole, natural, unprocessed foods.
Step 2 – Burn it off
Fasting is the simplest and fastest method to force your body to burn sugar for energy. Glucose in the blood is the most easily accessible source of energy for the body. Fasting is merely the flip side of eating – if you are not eating you are fasting. When you eat, your body stores food energy. When you fast, your body burns food energy. If you simply lengthen out your periods of fasting, you can burn off the stored sugar.
Since type 2 diabetes is merely excessive glucose in the body, burning it off will reverse the disease. While it may sound severe, fasting has been practiced for at least 2000 years. It is the oldest dietary therapy known. Literally millions of people throughout human history have fasted without problems. If you are taking prescription medications, you should seek the advice of a physician. But the bottom line comes to this.
If you don’t eat, will your blood sugars come down? Of course.
If you don’t eat, will you lose weight? Of course.
So, what’s the problem? None that I can see.
We can reverse type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes today, right now, immediately. All without cost, without drugs, without surgery, with an all natural, time-tested healing method. We only need to lead our bodies down the healing pathway and have the courage to apply our hard-won knowledge.
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.