Diabetes is an epidemic—there’s no other way to put it. But reversing diabetes (type 2) is possible, it just requires some simple lifestyle choices.
Here’s how common the disease really is:
- The number of people with diabetes worldwide has risen from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014.
- The global prevalence of diabetes among adults over 18 years of age has risen from 4.7% in 1980 to 8.5% in 2014. (1)
- In North America, almost 10% of American and 9% of Canadian adults have diabetes, and it’s the number one killer disease in Mexico. (2,3)
- Add to these the numbers of people with pre-diabetes and the percentages triple. The prevalence of diabetes is expected to increase to 44% by 2025, including children. (4)
- The World Health Organization projects that diabetes will be the seventh leading cause of death worldwide by 2030.
Dr. Mark Hyman is a physician and Medical Director at the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine, New York Times best-selling author, and founder of The UltraWellness Center (5). He has coined the term “diabesity” for this condition, which is the precursor to other life-threatening diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.
What’s Causing the Epidemic?
The average American consumes 156 pounds of added sugar in a year, 17 times more than 200 years ago. Processed foods, so rich in carbohydrates and chemicals, add to that sugar burden. Bombarding the body with sugar causes what’s not used for fuel to be stored as fat. It also makes us resistant to the insulin our pancreases produce to regulate blood sugar because the entire body is overloaded. What’s causing diabesity is not a bug or a contagion—it’s our diet and lifestyle.
Since it’s an acquired condition, diabesity is both preventable and curable.
Reversing Type 2 Diabetes Naturally in 7 Steps
Dr. Hyman has proven in his practice that by changing diet and lifestyle choices, his patients drastically and quickly lose weight and reverse diabetes. Here are his 7 strategies (6).
1. Cut the Sugar
The primary culprit of diabesity is sugar. When sugar is metabolized, the body reacts with inflammation. Chronic inflammation is a known cause of illness, including neurodegenerative disease, hypertension, decreased libido, and depression.
2. Eat Whole, Unprocessed Foods
It’s really very simple: eat real food.
- A variety of vegetables and fruits of different colors – pigments in produce give us antioxidants to reduce inflammation and regulate blood sugar.
- Whole grains – oats, millet, buckwheat, barley, rye, etc. Keep inflammatory wheat to a minimum.
- Legumes – peas, beans, lentils.
- Herbs and spices – whatever you like, as much as you like, for flavor and innumerable health benefits. Herbs detoxify and regulate body systems.
- Healthy omega-3 fats – your brain needs fats, as do every other cell in your body for proper function. Eat more avocado; olive, coconut, and sesame oils; nuts and seeds (also a great protein source!), and fish oil.
- Lean proteins – organic/grass-fed meats, wild fish, organic free-range eggs, and vegetarian protein.
Healthy humans have eaten these bounties of nature since the dawn of time. After all, they’re on the planet to nourish and sustain us.
Whole foods work with the body’s chemistry to turn on the right genes for proper metabolism. Once they hit a factory and are mixed with stuff you can’t pronounce, they are adulterated and compromised.
Cook at home so you know exactly what you’re getting.
3. Get the Right Nutrients
“Your fork, the most powerful tool to transform your health and change the world” is Dr. Hyman’s prominent declaration on his site’s homepage. (7) Hippocrates (the founder of modern medicine) likely inspired him with this motto: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”.
If you eat what your body needs and cut out what is harmful, it will work toward its natural state of good health.
Important nutrients that regulate blood sugar and improve sugar metabolism include:
4. Get Regular Exercise
You don’t have to spend 3 hours a day at a gym, nor do you have to feel pain to improve your health and get the benefits of exercise and reverse diabesity. A brisk 30-minute walk will work wonders.
The idea is to engage in an activity that increases your heart rate to 70-80% of your heart’s capacity, which depends on your age, weight, and current physical condition. If you’re not used to regular aerobic exercise, work up to optimal heart rate for 60 minutes 5-6 times a week.
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a type of exercise that involves repeated periods of high-intensity effort followed by periods of recovery. This mode of exercise is particularly effective in reversing diabesity.