Low-carb Lifestyle Reverses Type 2 Diabetes

plat-with-low-carb-diet-food

Traditional low-fat diets often do not work when it comes to managing the type 2 diabetes, researchers have found[1].

The study, “Dietary carbohydrate restriction as the first approach in diabetes management: critical review and evidence base” found conventional advice to “eat less” and “move more” proved ineffective at reversing type 2 diabetes.

Low-carbohydrate diets, on the other hand, have proven to be effective at treating the chronic disease. They reduced or even eliminated the need for medication, and reversed a variety of risk factors [2]. Unlike medication, low-carbohydrate eating is not just a temporary “band-aid” solution for diabetes symptoms – it addresses the root cause.

Insulin resistance and low-carb eating  

Type 2 diabetes is mainly caused by insulin resistance – when body cells no longer respond properly to insulin. Insulin resistance does not only causes diabetes, but also fatigue, weight gain, and inflammation – and is linked to heart disease, cancer[3], Alzheimer’s disease[4], polycystic ovarian syndrome[5], and fatty liver disease.

A healthy human body is designed to have just one teaspoon of sugar circulating in our bloodstream at any given moment – anything more than this is toxic. Every time we eat carbohydrates, we add significantly more sugar to the blood, and insulin plays an essential role in quickly taking this sugar and storing it in our cells (also known as that post-sugar “crash”). Over time, a diet high in carbs requires the body to release more and more insulin to store sugar in cells, and this prolonged exposure causes insulin resistance.

Low carbohydrate eating reverses insulin resistance and in turn, lowers blood sugar levels.

Removing the trigger: carbohydrates

Type 2 diabetes can be considered a state of “carbohydrate intolerance”. Thinking of it this way makes the solution far more obvious: a low-carbohydrate diet. Type 2 diabetes treatment is all about removing the trigger. In insulin’s case, the trigger is carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are found in bread, pasta, rice, biscuits, crackers, cereal, and other foods. Sugar is a type of simple carbohydrate found in sweets and treats, fruit, and flavoured drinks. Starch is a type of complex carbohydrate found in potatoes, flour, oats and corn. 

Ultimately, they are all broken down into the same thing: glucose, which triggers insulin. 

Reversing insulin resistance is possible in two steps: 

  1. Stop adding extra sugar to the body that insulin has to store  
  2. Consume the body’s glucose reserves through intermittent fasting.

What to eat on a low-carb lifestyle

Fill your plate with low-carb vegetables, meat, fish, eggs, dairy, and healthy fats. Meanwhile, avoid processed and packaged foods. Stick with water, black coffee, and tea as drinks.

There is no reason to fear healthy, natural fats like olive, coconut and avocado oil – or butter, lard and tallow. These fats will not cause diabetes or harm people with diabetes who follow a low-carb lifestyle. Eat enough natural fats to keep satiated. Cook with them and add them to vegetables or salads.

Besides, there is no need to count calories. Low-carb eating promotes positive hormonal changes that help revive the body’s natural appetite regulation. This reduces levels of hormones like ghrelin (a hunger hormone)[6] and increases levels for CCK (a satiety hormone)[7].

Reducing carbohydrate intake prevents blood sugar “highs”, “lows”, and “swings” that occur with a higher carb lifestyle. This provides more stable energy throughout the day.

Consult your doctor

Since low-carb eating is so effective at reversing insulin resistance in type 2 diabetics, medication doses taken for diabetes must be professionally monitored and adjusted where required. If you take any medication, make sure you consult a doctor before pursuing a low-carb lifestyle.

With improved insulin sensitivity, long- and short-acting injections of insulin are far more effective. There is a significant risk of hypoglycaemia or low blood sugar. The same is true for medication like gliclazide, glimepiride, or dapagliflozin. Therefore, do not begin a low-carb diet without professional medical monitoring.

To find out more about low-carb lifestyles and having adequate type 2 diabetes support, reach out to us at Diversa Health. Our dedicated team is committed to helping you reverse type 2 diabetes in a personalised and holistic way.

References

  1. Feinman, R., Pogozelski, W., Astrup, A., Bernstein, R., Fine, E., Westman, E., . . . Worm, N. (2015). Dietary carbohydrate restriction as to the first approach in diabetes management: critical review and evidence base. Nutrition, 31, 1-13 
  2. Bhanpuri, N., Hallberg, S., Williams, P., McKenzie, A., Ballard, K., Campbell, W., . . . Volek, J. (2018). Cardiovascular disease risk factor responses to type 2 diabetes care model including nutritional ketosis induced by sustained carbohydrate restriction at 1 year: an open-label, non-randomized, controlled study. Cardiovascular Diabetology, 17(56). doi: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12933-018-0698-8 
  3. Fine, E., Champ, C., Feinman, R., Marquez, S., & Klement, R. (2016). An evolutionary and mechanistic perspective on dietary carbohydrate restriction in cancer prevention. Journal of evolution and health, 1(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.15310/2334-3591.1036 
  4. Ferreira, L., Fernandes, C., Vieira, M., & Felice, F. (2018). Insulin Resistance in Alzheimer’s Disease. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 12(830). doi: https://doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2018.00830 
  5. Diamanti-Kandarakis, E., & Dunaif, A. (2012). Insulin resistance and the polycystic ovary syndrome revisited: an update on mechanisms and implications. Endocrine Reviews, 33(6), 981-1030. doi: 10.1210/er.2011-1034 
  6. Sumithran, P., Prendergast, L., Delbridge, E., Purell, K., Shulkes, A., Kriketos, A., & Proietto, J. (2013). Ketosis and appetite mediating nutrients and hormones after weight loss. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 67, 759-764. 
  7. Chearskul, S., Delbridge, E., Shulkes, A., Proietto, J., & Kriketos, A. (2008). Effect of weight loss and ketosis on postprandial cholecystokinin and free fatty acid concentrations. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 87(5), 1238-1246.

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ABOUT DIABETES REVERSAL

Although there is no universally agreed upon definition for the reversal of type 2 diabetes, Diversa uses HbA1c to assist in defining diabetes and pre-diabetes reversal.

Type 2 diabetes reversal is when a patient who previously had an HbA1c in the diabetic range (>6.4%) returning an HbA1c in the non-diabetic range (<6.4%) (along with the absence of medications used to manage diabetes). Pre-diabetes reversal is when a patient who previously had an HbA1c in the pre-diabetic range (5.7-6.4%) returning an HbA1c to the non pre-diabetic range (less than 5.7%).

It is important to recognise that although not everybody may be able to completely reverse type 2 diabetes, partial reversal, the reduction of medication dosages, along with the simultaneous lowering of HbA1c, will unquestionably achieve a better quality of life and improve health outcomes for those living with type 2 diabetes.

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