By Kelley Herring
In my previous article, I shared the proof that diabetes can be fully reversed within a matter of 30 to 60 days. And the studies show it doesn’t take a herculean effort to put this deadly disease into remission.
In fact, all it takes in most cases is a low-carbohydrate diet leading to weight loss of 10% or more (compared to starting weight). That’s it. And there are a number of studies that show this works in about 90% of cases to eliminate the diagnostic markers for diabetes.
But there is certainly MORE you can do to prevent a future diagnosis or reverse the condition if you already have it. And when you consider that nearly HALF of the US population is pre-diabetic or already diagnosed… there is a good chance that YOU need the information I’m about to provide!
Today, I’ll share five additional tips to help you prevent or reverse diabetes and to improve your blood sugar metabolism so you can live your healthiest life!
Engage in Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting refers to a defined period of fasting. Typically, you would eat very little or nothing at all for intermittent periods 16 to 24 hours. For most people, this would mean eating dinner in the early evening… and then not eating again until noon or the early afternoon the next day. This is generally referred to as a 16/8 intermittent fast, where meals are consumed during an eight-hour window and 16 hours elapse without eating.
This way of eating is perfectly aligned with your ancestral past. After all, our ancestor didn’t have continual access to food. Their bodies (and genetically speaking, yours too) adapted to handle times of scarcity and times of plenty. When food is not available, your metabolisms taps into stored glycogen and body fat to be used for energy.
And of course, most of us have PLENTY of body fat to be used for energy.
Intermittent fasting provides major benefits for insulin resistance and helps reduce blood sugar levels.
The British Journal of Diabetes and Vascular Disease published a study showing that Type 2 diabetes could be effectively managed and even reversed through intermittent fasting!1 The study showed an improvement of pancreatic function, insulin levels, and insulin sensitivity.
“Indeed, intermittent fasting might achieve much of the benefit seen with bariatric surgery, but without the costs, restriction on numbers and risks associated with surgery.”
Intermittent fasting can also improve various risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including inflammatory markers, blood pressure, total and LDL cholesterol, blood triglycerides, and blood sugar levels.
From a study published in the FASEB Journal:
“Dietary restriction (DR) has been shown to increase life span, delay or prevent age-associated diseases, and improve functional and metabolic cardiovascular risk factors in rodents and other species.”2
A 16/8 compressed eating window is an effective (although moderate) intermittent fast. Greater benefits can be achieved with longer periods of fasting, including an eating window of just 4 hours and / or a full 24-hour fast one day each week. Start slowly and work your way up, and always discuss with your doctor if you have pre-existing conditions.
While blood “glucose” gets all the attention, research proves that fructose is much more insidious when it comes to diabetes. In fact, when researchers want to induce metabolic syndrome in lab mice – they feed them fructose!3
Experts now believe accumulation of fat in the liver – caused by fructose – is the number one driver of insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, pancreatic malfunction and diabetes!4
In fact, just six days of excess fructose can cause insulin resistance! Eight weeks can result in pre-diabetes!! Think about that. Eating too much fructose – even for only a few weeks – can cause a deadly disease. And this ingredient is pervasive in our modern world.
Of course, avoiding soda, candy, cookies and other sweetened “junk” foods is step number one. But it’s also important to watch your intake of the foods marketed as “healthy” like juices, smoothies and fruits. If you want to enjoy fruit, opt for small amounts of low-fructose, high-antioxidant fruits like strawberries and blackberries.
Exercise has long been known to reduce inflammation and improve glycemic control in diabetes and cardio-metabolic diseases.5
If you’re not already active, start simply by walking at a brisk pace. Add weight training, bodyweight exercises and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to further improve insulin sensitivity and benefit metabolic health.6,7 Anything that helps to use, build and grow skeletal muscle will make you more sensitive to insulin and improve metabolic health.
Get Regular Sunlight Exposure
Natural moderate exposure to sunlight is the best way to optimize your vitamin D levels. And vitamin D is absolutely vital for every aspect of physical and mental health.
Research shows that vitamin D exerts a positive influence on the cells that produce insulin (beta cells). It also increases insulin sensitivity and reduces inflammation.8 It’s no wonder that vitamin D deficiency has been found to set the stage for diabetes.9
In addition to metabolic benefits, sunlight exposure also improves your mood. In fact, the “Sunshine Study” found that optimizing vitamin D resulted in significant mood improvements in a group of 50 women, diagnosed with diabetes.10
Blood-Sugar Balancing Nutrients
If you follow a low-carbohydrate or ketogenic diet and focus on the tips above, you don’t necessarily “need” additional supplements. However, there are a number of nutrients and medicinal foods that have proven benefits blood sugar and metabolic health. Let’s take a quick look at these and how they may help:
Chromium – A mineral that improves triglycerides and HDL cholesterol levels in diabetics. 200 mg daily is a typical dosage.11
Magnesium- A mineral vital to metabolic health. Magnesium improves glucose parameters and insulin sensitivity in those at risk for diabetes.12
Cinnamon – An ancient spice, known for its ability to lower fasting plasma glucose, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides while boosting HDL.13 Therapeutic effects are seen at 6 grams per day.
Omega-3s – An anti-inflammatory essential fatty acid that reduces LDL, VLDL, triglycerides, and A1C. Boosts healthy HDL levels.14 Enjoy clean-sourced wild fish and consider taking a fish oil supplement like Vital Choice Sockeye Salmon Softgels.
Alpha Lipoic Acid – A potent antioxidant with insulin-mimicking and anti-inflammatory activities that may help prevent cardiovascular and nervous-system disease that occur alongside diabetes.15
Curcumin – Derived from the golden turmeric root, this phytonutrient has been found to delay diabetes development, improve β-cell functions, prevent β-cell death and decrease insulin resistance in animal studies.16,17,18
Reversing type 2 diabetes isn’t rocket science. Eat the diet your ancestors enjoyed – one that is low in carbs, adequate in protein and rich in healthy fats. Move your body. And enjoy regular sun exposure.
Read more health and wellness articles from Kelley Herring on our Discover Blog.
Ed Note: Need some kitchen inspiration? Grab Kelley’s free guide – Instant Pot Keto Dinners – made exclusively with Paleo-and-Keto ingredients, for quick and delicious meals that taste just as good – of not better – than your restaurant favorites. Get your free guide here.
- Brown, J., Mosley M, Aldred, S. Intermittent fasting: a dietary intervention for prevention of diabetes and cardiovascular disease? The British Journal of Diabetes and Vascular Disease. Vol 3, Issue 2, 2013
- Donald E.Mager, Ruiqian Wan, Martin Brown, Aiwu Cheng, Przemyslaw Wareski, Darrell R. Abernethyand Mark P. Mattson. Caloric restriction and intermittent fasting alter spectral measures of heart rate and blood pressure variability in rats. The FASEB Journal. April 2006. vol. 20 no. 6 631-637
- Bulboaca, A, et al. Protective effect of curcumin in fructose-induced metabolic syndrome and in streptozotocin-induced diabetes in rats. Iranian Journal of Basic Medical Science. v.19(6); 2016 Jun
- Basciano H, Federico L, Adeli K, Fructose, insulin resistance, and metabolic dyslipidemia. Nutrition & Metabolism 2005 Elliott S, Keim N, Stern J, Havel P. Fructose, weight gain, and the insulin resistance syndrome. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 76, Issue 5, 1 November 2002, Pages 911–922 Tappy L, Lê KA., Metabolic effects of fructose and the worldwide increase in obesity. Physiol Rev. 2010 Jan;90(1):23-46. doi: 10.1152/physrev.00019.2009.
- Pedersen BK. Anti-inflammatory effects of exercise: role in diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Eur J Clin Invest. 2017 Aug;47(8):600-611. doi: 10.1111/eci.12781. Epub 2017 Jul 19. PMID: 28722106.
- Jelleyman C, Yates T, O’Donovan G, Gray LJ, King JA, Khunti K, Davies MJ. The effects of high-intensity interval training on glucose regulation and insulin resistance: a meta-analysis. Obes Rev. 2015 Nov;16(11):942-61. doi: 10.1111/obr.12317. PMID: 26481101.
- Marcinko K, Sikkema SR, Samaan MC, Kemp BE, Fullerton MD, Steinberg GR. High intensity interval training improves liver and adipose tissue insulin sensitivity. Mol Metab. 2015 Oct 9;4(12):903-15. doi: 10.1016/j.molmet.2015.09.006. PMID: 26909307; PMCID: PMC4731736.
- Altieri B, Grant WB, Della Casa S, Orio F, Pontecorvi A, Colao A, Sarno G, Muscogiuri G. Vitamin D and pancreas: The role of sunshine vitamin in the pathogenesis of diabetes mellitus and pancreatic cancer. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2017 Nov 2;57(16):3472-3488. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2015.1136922. PMID: 27030935.
- Berridge MJ. Vitamin D deficiency and diabetes. Biochem J. 2017 Mar 24;474(8):1321-1332. doi: 10.1042/BCJ20170042. PMID: 28341729.
- Penckofer S, Byrn M, Adams W, Emanuele MA, Mumby P, Kouba J, Wallis DE. Vitamin D Supplementation Improves Mood in Women with Type 2 Diabetes. J Diabetes Res. 2017;2017:8232863. doi: 10.1155/2017/8232863. Epub 2017 Sep 7. PMID: 29082262; PMCID: PMC5610883.
- Suksomboon N, Poolsup N, Yuwanakorn A. Systematic review and meta-analysis of the efficacy and safety of chromium supplementation in diabetes. J Clin Pharm Ther. 2014 Jun;39(3):292-306. doi: 10.1111/jcpt.12147. Epub 2014 Mar 17. PMID: 24635480.
- Veronese N, Watutantrige-Fernando S, Luchini C, Solmi M, Sartore G, Sergi G, Manzato E, Barbagallo M, Maggi S, Stubbs B. Effect of magnesium supplementation on glucose metabolism in people with or at risk of diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis of double-blind randomized controlled trials. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2016 Dec;70(12):1354-1359. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2016.154. Epub 2016 Aug 17. Erratum in: Eur J Clin Nutr. 2016 Dec;70(12 ):1463. PMID: 27530471.
- Allen RW, Schwartzman E, Baker WL, Coleman CI, Phung OJ. Cinnamon use in type 2 diabetes: an updated systematic review and meta-analysis. Ann Fam Med. 2013 Sep-Oct;11(5):452-9. doi: 10.1370/afm.1517. PMID: 24019277; PMCID: PMC3767714.
- O’Mahoney LL, Matu J, Price OJ, Birch KM, Ajjan RA, Farrar D, Tapp R, West DJ, Deighton K, Campbell MD. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids favourably modulate cardiometabolic biomarkers in type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis and meta-regression of randomized controlled trials. Cardiovasc Diabetol. 2018 Jul 7;17(1):98. doi: 10.1186/s12933-018-0740-x. PMID: 29981570; PMCID: PMC6035402.
- Rochette L, Ghibu S, Muresan A, Vergely C. Alpha-lipoic acid: molecular mechanisms and therapeutic potential in diabetes. Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 2015 Dec;93(12):1021-7. doi: 10.1139/cjpp-2014-0353. Epub 2015 Sep 25. PMID: 26406389.
- Chanpoo, M et al. Effect of curcumin in the amelioration of pancreatic islets in streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice. J Med Assoc Thai. 2010 Nov;93 Suppl 6:S152-9. PMID: 21280528
- Kanitkar, M. Bhonde, R. Curcumin treatment enhances islet recovery by induction of heat shock response proteins, Hsp70 and heme oxygenase-1, during cryopreservation. Life Sci. 2008 Jan 16;82(3-4):182-9. Epub 2007 Nov 21. PMID: 18093618
- Chuengsamarn S, Rattanamongkolgul S, Luechapudiporn R, Phisalaphong C, Jirawatnotai S. Curcumin extract for prevention of type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2012 Nov;35(11):2121-7. doi: 10.2337/dc12-0116. Epub 2012 Jul 6. PMID: 22773702; PMCID: PMC3476912.