I’ve been thinking about this for a while. I’ve reduced my sugar intake over the last few years since being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and have read that giving up completely & eating a very low calorie diet can actually cure diabetes.
Does anyone have any experiences to share?
I found this video which is both informative and entertaining. Enjoy.
My friend got very overweight in his mid fifties. A combination of a busy life, looking after aged parents etc meant he tended to neglect himself. He was then diagnosed with type two diabetes His diagnosis came as a real shock to him and he dieted and started a fitness regimen. The last time he went for a check his levels were so good the nurse said that if they are the same next year he will be considered not to have diabetes
I’m not up to date on diabetes management but I think that type 2 is is still thought to be caused by insulin resistance - your pancreas has to produce more and more insulin to control blood sugar levels and eventually can’t keep up. There is a pre-clinical stage where your pancreas is working harder but still keeping sugar levels normal.
There is evidence that cutting down calories, loosing weight and possibly taking metformin helps prevent or delay the onset of type 2 (I recall that there was quite a landmark study on this but will have to look for the details).
It makes sense that if you adjust your diet, cut down calories, cut out as much refined sugar as possible then you may well get back to the point that your pancreas can cope - I suppose this could even slightly reverse the underlying metabolic problem but I’m not sure how much evidence of this exists.
After all initial management of T2 is often dietary - and some people can do really well if motivated, look at Tom Watson.
Of course, watching what you eat, cutting down the weigh and getting a bit more exercise, seem sensible goals for most of us.
I don’t think you can ever be considered not to have diabetes (type 2) after you have been diagnosed with it.
Controlled - yes but not reversed. It’s always there lurking somewhere in the background ready to rear its ugly head again if you take your eye off the ball - to which I can personally attest.
I thought I had it beaten and whilst I had given up using sugar (in coffee, tea etc but not cream patisserie) I failed to maintain regular checks on my blood/sugar levels believing I was invincible and if struck back en force so to speak to be rediscovered in hospital after suffering a stroke.
Now, it is back under control again with 3 monthly H1BNC checks and regular finger pricks to monitor progress. I also take a single Januvia tablet daily (prescribed by my cardiologist) as opposed to 3 metformin tablets daily which had previously been prescribed. The metformin was considered by him not to be in my best interests following heart surgery (triple bypass) also given as a consequence of type 2 as well as considerable eye issues not least of which retinopathy and Diabetic macular edema which has involved considerable treatment of late.
So yes, sugar is a really bad thing and best avoided.
After having given it up, I have lost the taste for it. Someone gave me a mug of tea a week or so ago which they had sugared (without me asking for it) and it tasted absolutely horrid. Just couldn’t even sip it!
I’m doing my best Paul to manage the condition. Watching what I eat, taking my medication and even losing 10 kilos (so far) and I’m managing to keep my HbA1c at a good level. It’s not easy though and I sometimes crack and eat chocolate or buy a can of coke.
I’ve noticed though just how sweet some things are, like milk, most cereals, dried fruit and even peanut butter. The one thing I have been unable to give up is sugar in my tea so I limit my tea so that I can enjoy it.
Slightly rambling post so I’m going to blame low blood sugar
It is amazing how much sugar is ‘hidden ’ and we don’t realise how much we are eating. The friend I was talking about says he used to look at the sugar content of things and think ’ That’s not bad’ then realise it was for 30 grams and the whole thing would be 250 grams or some such
The question I have is “what do you mean by reversed” - if you mean that you can get your blood sugar and HbA1c levels within normal ranges with changes to diet, weight loss and exercise then, yes I think that is possible, for a while at least.
As for reversing the underlying problem - less convinced (do you have details of those TV programmes?). A (very) quick search on PubMed doesn’t turn up anything terribly exciting - a couple of studies trying to reverse T1 diabetes by tinkering with the immune system, a study in mice which suggests that diets which mimic fasting might be beneficial and a tantalising hint that someone has done a paper on the possibility of bariatric surgery reversing diabetes but no actual paper.
Sounds like you are doing really well.
Cereals - as presented for consumption at the breakfast table (especially in France) are, indeed, very high in sugar as is dried fruit. No idea about peanut butter; I imagine that there is variation between manufacturers. All I can say is I checked the Tesco version and that does have added sugar.
The very worst for sugar has to be cereals especially those aimed at kids. I’ve always loved cereals and used to eat them for dinner sometimes. I’ve even done the Special K diet where you have a bowl of cereal for breakfast and lunch and then a “normal” dinner. The calories are quite low if you have a very small bowl but it’s so high in sugar, even apparently healthy Special K. The red berries version is about 30% sugar.
@james had surgery on his foot in 2013 which meant that he was in plaster for three months and not back to ‘normal’ mobility for a good 6 months plus after the plaster came off. He’d not been very active for a good 12 months prior to surgery due to being in pain and as a result, had piled the weight on. His blood test results were also looking like he was heading for type 2…
We decided to do something about it, went booze free for 6 months and gave up all added sugar in everything. As sugar is added to everything- from sliced bread to oven chips to chorizo- you have to check ALL labels and basically make your own.
It’s a PITA when you first start and shopping takes ages but very quickly, you realise that there is only one type of chorizo which doesn’t have added sugar, so you only ever buy that one and you’ll find that your shopping time gets faster and faster.
We have the occcasional cake (if someone brings one) and are not obsessive about it but we never, ever unwittingly buy processed foods with added sugar / dextrose / fructose or whatever it is being called this week!
I’ve gone from 56 kg to around 49kg or size 12 to size 8 and have never felt better. I eat tons of food and love the fact that I can steal my daughter’s clothes! It is absolutely 100% worth doing. Especially as James’s blood tests results were back within normal range in a month.
Ps - it is a more expensive way of eating but…as we are permanently strapped for cash, I’ve got it down to a fine art. If anyone wants more info PM me and if there’s enough interest, I’ll do a separate post on it.