Diabetes is a slow developing disease for which there is no cure. However you can halt its progress so that the damaging effects it is having on your body are mitigated, as I have managed to do. But can you reverse your diabetes so that it disappears altogether?
In the long-term, diabetes causes very serious medical problems such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, nerve damage, neuropathy, glaucoma, cataracts and retinopathy, a weakened immune system, and digestive problems.
Though these medical conditions develop slowly, eventually they can be devastating.
Persons who let their diabetes get out of control risk going blind, experiencing a variety of infections, having a foot or leg amputated, requiring kidney dialysis or a transplant, or becoming incapacitated or dying from a stroke or heart attack, among a host of other serious outcomes.
Thus taking steps to beat diabetes is critical. It’s not that hard — so it can be done.
Diabetes and your genes
There is a persistent myth that diabetes is all about poor diets, unhealthy life-styles and obesity.
While it may be true that most people who are diabetic are overweight, some thin people also get diabetes. And some people who have an unhealthy lifestyle manage to avoid the disease. Why so?
It is because genetics plays a part in the onset of diabetes. This can be seen from the fact that diabetes seems to run in families.
However, unlike other kinds of genes, the diabetes gene does not ‘dictate’ that you will get diabetes. It only makes it likely that diabetes will develop under particular circumstances.
For example, if the gene that controls the colour of your eyes says that you eyes will be blue, then your eyes will be blue and there is nothing you can do about it. The same goes for the type and colour of your hair. If your genes decree wavy, brown hair for you then that’s what you get.
The kinds of genes that govern diabetes are different. They merely state that if certain conditions come about then you will get diabetes, ie they predispose you to getting the disease.
For example, if your parents were diabetic, it is likely that you inherited the genes that predispose you for type 2 diabetes. So, if you eat the same food as your parents, you are likely to develop diabetes. But if you change your diet and lifestyle, you can probably avoid your parents’ fate.
The big question is, once your diabetes has developed, can it be cured?
The short answer is NO. There is no cure.
But you can beat your diabetes — ie prevent the horrendous consequences mentioned above from developing — by eating a plant-focused diet and taking up exercise.
This is relatively easy to do. If your diabetes is not too far advanced, you should be able to stop taking your diabetes medications.
You may also be able to reverse your diabetes — ie revert to your state of health before you ever had diabetes at all — by eating a vegan diet and following an extreme exercise regimen.
To beat your diabetes, you must reduce the excess amounts of glucose and insulin swirling around in your bloodstream.
To do so, you need a diet that is: (1) low in sugar, (2) low in fat, (3) low in salt, (4) high in fibre, and (5) digested slowly. Your diet must also exclude all dairy products and eggs.
The easiest way to devise such a diet is to concentrate on natural, unprocessed foods that are mostly plants. You also need to drink plenty of water, to aid the absorption of the fibre you eat.
You should also take a range of supplements in order to cover any possible dietary deficiencies you might encounter by avoiding dairy products.
This is the basis of the diet I am using to beat my diabetes, so I know it works.
And it is easy to put into practice. All you need to do is to learn how to read food labels so that you can buy the most appropriate food products.
Because you have diabetes, you are likely to be quite overweight if not obese. Once you have been following a beating-diabetes diet like this for three or four weeks, you will notice your weight beginning to drop rapidly.
This is due to the reduced fat and sugar in your diet. You weight will drop until it has reached its natural level with a BMI (body mass index) of less than 25.
I got my blood glucose under control by following the kind of diet outlined above without doing any extra exercise. So it seems that exercise is not necessary in order to beat your diabetes.
However, I have since discovered that exercise does help. For example, I eat the same breakfast every day and check my blood glucose two hours later. Normally I get very similar results.
But I have noticed that if I go for a 20-minute walk before checking my blood, my glucose reading will be up to ten percent lower than it would be without that walk.
My experience with diabetes and exercise is borne out by recent studies.
In one such study, people with type 2 diabetes exercised for 175 minutes a week, ie 15 minutes a day for seven days a week and ate a low calorie diet. Within one year, ten percent were able to give up their diabetes medications or had improved to the point where their glucose readings could be classified as pre-diabetic rather than diabetic.
These average results were much better for those who has less severe or newly diagnosed diabetes or who lost the most weight. Among these people, 20% were able to give up taking their diabetes medications.
I feel that if the subjects in this study had been put on the sort of diet I outlined above, rather than a diet that merely restricted calories, most of them would have been able to give up their medications entirely as I have done.
Properly-conducted clinical trials (published in 1990) showed that a vegan diet along with changes to a patient’s lifestyle can reverse blockages in arteries.
This diet excluded all meat, fish, dairy products and eggs, so that all animal fat and cholesterol was eliminated from the diet.
Each patient had an angiogram when they first joined the trial and again after one year.
An angiogram is a an x-ray technique that uses a special dye and a steady stream of x-rays to take pictures of the blood flow in an artery or vein in the head, arms, legs, chest, back, or stomach.
The results of these trials were impressive. The patients’ chest pains ceased and their average LDL (or ‘bad’) cholesterol level fell by 40 percent.
In addition, comparing the angiograms at the start of the trial with the angiograms taken after one year showed that blockages in the coronary arteries (the arteries that lead to the heart muscle) were starting to shrink and that these arteries were opening up again.
The difference could be seen clearly on the angiograms of 82 percent of patients after one year on the special diet and exercise programme — with no heart bypass operations, angioplasties (artery-widening techniques) or cholesterol lowering drugs.
Given the strong connection between heart disease and diabetes — two-thirds of diabetics eventually die of heart disease — it is likely that such a diet can reverse diabetes to the point where the patient is as healthy as he or she was before their diabetes developed, provided the diet is leavened with a rigorous exercise programme.
It seems to me that you can beat your diabetes, ie prevent it damaging your body beyond repair, by following a plant-focused diet along with some exercise.
This is a relatively easy thing to do (as I found out for myself) and, provided you avoid all dairy products and eggs, should enable you to give up taking your medications for diabetes.
Reversing your diabetes, so that you revert to the state of health you were in before you developed diabetes, would be a much harder thing to do.
But I believe it can be done, by eating a strictly vegan diet (no meat products of any sort at all) and an extreme exercise programme.