by Mark Hyman
The Hearty Soul
What disease affects EVERY other American and one in four kids? Type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes. Type 2 diabetes in America has tripled since the 1980s, and researchers estimate one in three Americans will have diabetes by mid-century. More than one-third of American adults are obese1.
And one in three Medicare dollars is spent on diabetes making it the biggest driver of our federal debt. Sadly, these numbers continue to increase. Overall, it’s not a pretty picture, and experts predict things will only become worse.
I use the term “diabesity” to describe the continuum of health problems ranging from mild insulin resistance and overweight to obesity and diabetes. Diabesity is the underlying cause of most heart disease, cancer, and premature death in the world.
Tragically, these conditions are also 100% preventable and reversible.
Most people believe diabetes is not reversible. That’s unfortunate,considering its numerous complications including kidney failure, amputation, stroke, and dementia. I’ve also heard experts claim obesity is difficult to treat and maintaining long-term weight loss is almost impossible.
I wholeheartedly disagree. Science shows diabetes and obesity are preventable and reversible with aggressive utilize nutrition and lifestyle modifications.
It is caused by the 152 pounds of sugar and 146 pounds of flour a year eaten on average by every American – that is a toxic drug dose of diabetes causing food.
It is well known that massively obese patients can reverse their diabetes within a few weeks of getting a gastric bypass, even if they haven’t lost that much weight.
Why? Because food is medicine and when you take disease-producing food out and put the right food in the healing happens quickly. I recently had a patient lose 45 pounds and get off 54 units of insulin and all his diabetes medication.
7 Strategies To Help Prevent, Treat, and Reverse Diabesity
I implement these seven strategies every day with patients to prevent, treat, and reverse diabesity without drugs and surgery.
1. Pull the Sugar
A diet full of empty calories and quickly absorbed sugar, liquid sugar calories, and refined carbohydrates – all of which convert to sugar – creates high insulin levels, eventually leading to insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes.
Among the many problems of chronically high insulin levels include inflammation, high blood pressure, poor sex drive, increased risk for cancer, and depression.
The most important thing you can do to reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity or reversing its impact is to eliminate or dramatically reduce sugar in all its many disguises.
2. Stock Up On Whole, Unprocessed Foods
Whole, unprocessed real foods balance your blood sugar, reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, and improve your liver detoxification to prevent or reverse insulin resistance and diabetes.
Choose a rich variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, plenty of omega-3 fats, coconut butter and olive oil, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Whole, real foods turn on all the right gene messages, promote a healthy metabolism, reverse insulin resistance and diabetes, and prevent aging and age-related diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
3. Get The Right Nutrients
Supplements make your cells more sensitive to insulin and more effective at metabolizing sugar and fat. Combined with the right diet and lifestyle modifications, they can help you balance blood sugar and reverse or prevent diabetes. At the very minimum, I recommend:
4. Get The Right Exercise
You needn’t spend hours at a gym to get exercise’s benefits. Even a 30-minute walk can help. Vigorous is the key for effective exercise that helps balance blood sugar and lower insulin levels.
Get your heart rate up to 70 – 80% of its maximum capacity for 60 minutes, up to six times a week. Step it up a few notches with high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and strength training.Studies show HIIT can benefit Type 2 diabetes2 and obesity3. Best of all, you can do it in just minutes a day.
5. Get Sufficient Sleep
Lack of sleep or poor sleep damages your metabolism, spikes sugar and carb cravings, makes you eat more, and increases your risk for numerous diseases including Type 2 diabetes. One study among healthy subjects found even a partial night’s poor sleep4 could induce insulin resistance.
That’s why you must prioritize sleep so you get eight hours of solid, uninterrupted shuteye every night. Create a sleep ritual that includes herbal therapies, creating total darkness and quiet, and relaxing with my UltraBath.
6. Control Stress Levels
In the face of chronic stress, our levels of insulin, cortisol, and inflammatory compounds called cytokines all increase. This drives the relentless metabolic dysfunction that leads to weight gain, insulin resistance, and eventually Type 2 diabetes.
The links between stress, weight gain, mental disorders, and blood sugar imbalances show that managing stress becomes a critical component of obesity and diabetes management. You can’t eliminate stress, but you can learn to control it.
Meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, massage, laughing, and dancing is among the best ways to manage stress and reverse Type 2 diabetes. Check out my blog to learn five ways to never be stressed again.
7. Measure To Improve
Research shows that people who track their results lose twice as much weight and do twice as well. Begin by getting a journal to track your progress in. That could be as simple as a pad of paper, a notebook, a spreadsheet in your computer, or whatever is convenient and works for you.
Now, what should you track? In addition to what you eat, you’ll want to get a baseline of all measurements: your weight, weight, waist size, body mass index (BMI), and blood pressure (optional). Many patients become inspired when they see their results on paper.
Would you like help in balancing your blood sugar, losing weight, preventing disease and feeling great? I am excited to announce that I am releasing my # 1 New York Times Best Seller, The Blood Sugar Solution, in paperback on December 30. Pre-order your copy on Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble, today!
Have you already implemented food and lifestyle modifications to reverse or prevent diabetes or obesity? Tell us your story! Share your comments below or on my Facebook fan page.
Mark Hyman, MD, believes that we all deserve a life of vitality—and that we have the potential to create it for ourselves. That’s why he is dedicated to tackling the root causes of chronic disease by harnessing the power of Functional Medicine to transform healthcare. Dr. Hyman is a practicing family physician, a nine-time #1 New York Times bestselling author, and an internationally recognized leader, speaker, educator, and advocate in his field.
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Overweight and Obesity.
2. Shaban N1, Kenno KA, Milne KJ., The effects of a 2 week modified high intensity interval training program on the homeostatic model of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) in adults with type 2 diabetes., J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2014 Apr;54(2):203-9.
3. Gremeaux V1, Drigny J, Nigam A, Juneau M, Guilbeault V, Latour E, Gayda M., Long-term lifestyle intervention with optimized high-intensity interval training improves body composition, cardiometabolic risk, and exercise parameters in patients with abdominal obesity., Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2012 Nov;91(11):941-50. doi: 10.1097/PHM.0b013e3182643ce0.
4. Donga E1, van Dijk M, van Dijk JG, Biermasz NR, Lammers GJ, van Kralingen KW, Corssmit EP, Romijn JA., A single night of partial sleep deprivation induces insulin resistance in multiple metabolic pathways in healthy subjects., J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010 Jun;95(6):2963-8. doi: 10.1210/jc.2009-2430. Epub 2010 Apr 6.
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