You may even be able to throw away your meds!
In the US, a new case of diabetes is diagnosed every 30 seconds. And many of those people will be given drugs to treat the disease.
You can control high blood sugar with medications, but they aren’t a cure and they can have side effects. They also are expensive, costing $400 or more a month for many patients.
Much better: Dietary remedies that have been proven to reduce blood sugar, improve the effects of insulin (a hormone produced by the pancreas that controls blood sugar), promote weight loss and, in many cases, eliminate the need for medications. A UCLA study found that 50% of patients with type 2 diabetes (the most common form) were able to reverse it in three weeks with dietary changes and exercise.
How you can do it, too…
- Eliminate all HFCS. A 2010 Princeton study found that rats given water sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) gained more weight than rats that drank water sweetened with plain sugar, even though their calorie intake was exactly the same. Reasons: The calories from HFCS fail to trigger leptin, the hormone that tells your body when to quit eating. Also, HFCS is more likely than natural sugar to be converted to fat… and being overweight is the main risk factor for diabetes.What to do: Read food labels carefully. HFCS is the main sweetener in soft drinks and many processed foods, including baked goods such as cookies and cakes.
- Don’t drink diet soda. If you give up HFCS-laden soft drinks, don’t switch to diet soda. Diet sodas actually cause weight gain by boosting insulin production, leading to excessively high insulin in your blood that triggers greater fat accumulation and even more cravings for sugar.A study published in Diabetes Care found that drinking diet soda every day increased the risk for type 2 diabetes by as much as 67%.If you crave sweet bubbly beverages, pour one inch of pure fruit juice into a glass and then top it off with carbonated water.
- Eat barley. I advise patients to eat foods that are as close to their natural state as possible — whole-grain cereals and breads, brown rice, etc. These “slow carbohydrates” contain fiber and other substances that prevent the spikes in glucose and insulin that lead to diabetes.Best choice: Barley. Researchers at the Creighton Diabetes Center in Omaha compared the effects of two breakfasts — one consisting of oatmeal (one of the best slow carbohydrates) and the other consisting of an even slower breakfast cereal made from barley. Participants who ate barley had a postmeal rise in blood sugar that was significantly lower than participants who ate the oatmeal breakfast.You can eat cooked barley as a side dish… sprinkle it on salads… or mix it into tuna, chicken, tofu or lentil salad.
- Season with cinnamon. About one-quarter teaspoon of cinnamon daily reduces blood sugar, improves insulin sensitivity and reduces inflammation in the arteries — important for reducing the risk for heart disease, the leading cause of death in diabetics.Research published in Diabetes Care found that people with type 2 diabetes who ate at least one-quarter teaspoon of cinnamon daily reduced fasting blood sugar levels by up to 29%. They also had up to a 30% reduction in triglycerides (a blood fat) and up to a 27% drop in LDL (bad) cholesterol.
- Eat protein at breakfast. Protein at breakfast stabilizes blood sugar and makes people feel satisfied, which means that you’ll consume fewer calories overall. Lean protein includes eggs, chicken and fish.
- Eat more meat (the good kind). We’ve all been told that a diet high in meat (and therefore saturated fat) is inherently unhealthy. Not true. Other things being equal, people who eat more saturated fat actually tend to weigh less and have smaller waist measurements than similar adults who eat less.The real danger is from processed meats, such as bacon, hot dogs and many cold cuts. These foods have more calories per serving than natural meats. They’re higher in sodium. They have a lower percentage of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and other beneficial fats that lower inflammation.A large study that looked at data from 70,000 women found that those who ate processed meats with every meal were 52% more likely to develop diabetes than those who ate healthier meats and other foods.
I advise people to look for grass-fed beef. It’s lower in calories and fat than industrialized grain-fed factory feedlot beef and higher in omega-3s.
- Snack on nuts. Healthful snacking between meals keeps blood sugar stable throughout the day. Nuts are the perfect snack because they’re high in fiber (which reduces abrupt increases in glucose and insulin) and protein (for appetite control). They also are good sources of important nutrients and antioxidants.A Harvard study of 83,000 women found that those who frequently ate almonds, pecans or other nuts were 27% less likely to develop diabetes than those who rarely ate nuts. A small handful every day is enough.Caution: “Roasted” nuts usually are a bad choice because they often are deep-fried in coconut oil. They also have added salt and/or sugar. “Dry-roasted nuts” have not been fried in fat but usually have salt and sugar.
If you like roasted nuts, it’s best to buy organically grown raw nuts and lightly toast them in a dry fry pan over very low heat (or in your oven).
- Supplement with vitamin D. In theory, we can get all the vitamin D that we need from sunshine — our bodies make it after the sun hits our skin. But about 90% of Americans don’t get adequate amounts — either because they deliberately avoid sun exposure or because they live in climates without much sun.A Finnish study found that participants with high levels of vitamin D were 40% less likely to develop diabetes than those with lower amounts. Vitamin D appears to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce the risk for diabetes-related complications, including heart disease.Recommended: Take 1,000 international units (IU) to 2,000 IU of vitamin D-3 daily.
- Remember to exercise. It’s just as important as a healthy diet for preventing and reversing diabetes. The Diabetes Prevention Program (a major multicenter clinical research study) found that people who walked as little as 17 minutes a day, on average, were 58% less likely to develop diabetes.Walking for 30 minutes most days of the week is optimal.