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Reverse Your Type 2 Diabetes with Lifestyle Change

Reverse Your Type 2 Diabetes with Lifestyle Change

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Type 2 diabetes continues to be a growing epidemic in our world. However, it is one of the few diseases that can be prevented. In recent years, an increasing number of young adults and children have developed the disease, and it has been estimated that 10% of Americans have type 2 diabetes, and about 25% have prediabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is expected that one-third of Americans will have type 2 diabetes by 2050.

Type 2 diabetes is a disease that affects how individuals metabolize sugar, a vital process in the body involving insulin that impacts how much glucose is in the bloodstream. High glucose levels can cause fatigue, thirst, and an increased need to urinate, leading to the development of the disease. If no action is taken and the symptoms persist, it can lead to significant health problems, including damage to the nerves, blood vessels, heart, and eyes.

Conventional Approach to Manage Diabetes
Conventional medicine continues to primarily use medications as an approach to control type 2 diabetes. While medications can normalize blood sugars and regulate the complications that diabetes can provoke, they can have numerous side effects and don’t address the underlying cause. Recently, reference values of clinical laboratory test results were lowered, such as the hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C) test that shows the average blood sugar (glucose) level over the past 2–3 months. As reference values are being reduced, more and more people are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Clinical laboratories set the reference ranges on different clinical laboratory tests based on the individuals who have had their blood drawn for specific tests. The majority of individuals who have frequent or regular blood draws are the ones who are on medication. In essence, driving the clinical reference values down puts more individuals at risk of being placed on medication.

Factors Contributing to Diabetes
Genetics plays a strong role for some individuals who develop type 2 diabetes, and environmental factors can trigger the genes. Hormones can also play a factor in developing diabetes. The hormone insulin delivers blood sugars to the cells and has a direct connection to the gut. If the gut is unhealthy, it can play a role in dysregulation with insulin, causing diabetes to develop over time. Lifestyle is another factor that can either trigger genes to turn on or off and affect gut health. A functional approach looks for the root cause and makes lifestyle changes to provide the solution.

Lifestyle factors, including dietary habits and exercise, play a major role in developing type 2 diabetes. A diet high in refined flour, added sugars, processed foods with chemicals and preservatives, chemically altered artificial sweeteners, and trans fats have been a culprit that leads to weight gain and obesity, which have been found to be a link to developing type 2 diabetes. This type of diet is also responsible for causing inflammation in the body, oxidative stress, interference with our natural detoxification process, and altering the microbiome in the gut, all of which can lead to disease.

How Does Gut Health Play a Role in Type 2 Diabetes?
Diet has the most powerful influence on gut health and type 2 diabetes. Recent studies have looked at the microbiome of people with type 2 diabetes and have compared those results with individuals who don’t have the disease. They have found a significant difference in the microbial strains in each group. It has been found that about 75% of the food in the Western diet is either limited or has no benefit to the microbiota because it consists of a high-carb, high-sugar diet that became popular in the early 80s.

A meta-analysis has found that people with type 2 diabetes who took a probiotic daily saw a reduction in HbAlc levels, and there was no effect on their fasting glucose, insulin, or inflammation (CRP) levels. Furthermore, prebiotics lowered fasting glucose levels, improved insulin sensitivity, improved lipid levels, and lowered inflammation markers by 20–30%. From this, it appears that adding a probiotic with prebiotics and/or eating yogurt daily would provide benefits.

According to recent studies, the gut influences metabolic processes, including insulin. If the gut is not healthy, we’re not healthy, and that can play a significant role in developing type 2 diabetes. There are many factors that can be significant in developing the disease, so examining the root of the problem is the best, most effective way to make a positive impact.

Recommendations to Prevent or Manage Type 2 Diabetes
Recent evidence has suggested that physical activity combined with weight loss and a healthy diet reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by as much as 58%. Effective dietary and exercise changes can potentially even put the disease into remission. An effective change may include any combination of, or all of, the elements that follow.

  • A low carbohydrate diet has been consistently shown to help prevent the onset of diabetes and reduce dangerous spikes in blood sugar levels. When 40% of the diet consists of carbs, it’s considered a low-carbohydrate diet.
  • Include slow-digesting carbs that have a lower glycemic index, which will usually consist of a higher amount of fiber. This will allow the sugars to be absorbed slowly without spiking insulin or glucose levels. It is recommended to take 25 to 35 grams of fiber daily for good health.
  • A 2021 study found that people with type 2 diabetes with a diet high in carotenoids had no vision impairments compared to those with a diet low in carotenoids. Carotenoids are antioxidants found mainly in yellow, orange, and red fruits and vegetables.
  • Recent research indicates that eating yogurt daily would likely reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, especially in women. It could help reduce their risk of gestational diabetes and improve their overall lipid profiles and fasting insulin levels.
  • Consume fish high in Omega-3 fatty acids, as they reduce inflammation in the cells. When cells are inflamed, they won’t allow insulin into the cell. Decreasing inflammation in the cells will improve insulin uptake, lower bad cholesterol (LDL), and raise good cholesterol (HDL).
  • Eat foods that are high in potassium because it helps make insulin more efficient. Studies show that people with low potassium levels release less insulin, have higher blood sugar levels, and are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those with normal potassium levels.
  • Research has shown that a diet high in magnesium has been linked to lowering your risk of diabetes, and with people who have diabetes, it has helped manage blood sugars and increase insulin sensitivity.
  • Clinical studies have shown chromium has helped reduce blood glucose levels and improve insulin sensitivity. Seafood like mussels or oysters are the best sources of chromium as they exceed the recommended daily intake. Include them in your diet once a week for maximal support.
  • Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) protects the kidneys from diabetes-related damage and improves blood glucose levels for type 2 diabetes. CoQ10 is an antioxidant that helps convert food into energy and is found in almost every cell in the body. To increase CoQ10 in the body, a supplement will be needed. You should speak with your healthcare provider to determine if this is the right course of action for you.
  • Exercising for at least 150 minutes a week is recommended to improve or prevent type 2 diabetes. There has been evidence that a 15-minute walk after a meal has improved blood sugar more than exercising any other time of the day. However, it is always beneficial to exercise, no matter what time of the day it is.

Research continues to show that a diet-based approach to type 2 diabetes has had the greatest success. Here at Grant’s Nutrition and Wellness, we provide a functional approach to help guide our clients to adopt a healthier lifestyle practice to attain their health goals.

Optimize Your Nutrition
Medical Nutrition Therapy is a therapeutic approach to treating medical conditions and their associated symptoms by providing specific nutrition procedures that is provided by a Registered Dietitian (RD). MNT reduces the risk of developing complications in pre-existing conditions as well as improve the effects of existing conditions. Many medical conditions either develop or are made worse by an improper or unhealthy diet.

One of the key components to improving health is the way we eat. When a customized meal plan is developed, it can reduce stress by knowing what you’re going to eat ahead of time and improve your health.

Medical Nutrition Therapy is used for a host of health issues, diabetes and prediabetes among them. Having a comprehensive nutritional assessment performed, developing a meal plan customized just for you, setting treatment goals, and being accountable through regular check-ins all work to prevent or manage type 2 diabetes and improve your overall health.

Jane Grant, RDN CD-N, is a registered dietitian since 2005 and has been trained in Integrative and Functional Nutrition to address the root cause of disease and help promote optimal health. Jane is the founder of Grant’s Nutrition and Wellness in Berlin, CT. She can be reached at 860.357.2282 or admin@grantsnutriton.com.

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