Can diabetes be reversed?
If you or someone close to you has diabetes, you sure would have come across this thought- is diabetes reversal possible?
Considering the increased risk of heart ailments and fatigue, who would not want to get rid of it?
Come along, let’s debug this question:
There is no definite answer to it, as not all types of diabetes can be reversed. Type-1 and Genetic diabetes, where the body doesn’t produce insulin, can not be eradicated from the body. At the same time, there are chances of reversal in some cases of prediabetes (An asymptomatic stage before you develop diabetes where fasting blood sugar test will be in the 100–125mg/dL range) or Type-2 diabetes as the body produces insulin. However, the cells don’t utilise it well.
So, now that we know there are chances, how do you get there?
From simple lifestyle and dietary changes to complex surgical ways of reversal, let us understand each of the methods in detail:
Low-Calorie Diets (LCD)
A diet of approximately 800 to 1,200 calories a day is a low-calorie diet. A healthy low-calorie diet promotes weight loss, reduces fat mass, decreases blood glucose levels, helps reduce inflammation, improves insulin sensitivity and reduces stress on the insulin-producing pancreas.
A low-calorie diet should be diabetes-friendly and can have:
- Vegetables like tomato, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower etc. have low-starch content
- High-fibre fruits like apple
- Fibre-containing foods like whole grains(like quinoa, barley, and brown rice), legumes (like peas and beans), seeds and nuts
- Non-fat or low-fat dairy products like milk, curd, and plain yogurt.
Low-calorie diets have the power to put people with Type-2 diabetes into remission, which means that their blood sugar levels would come back to normal without any medication.
Also read, Easy ways to Monitor Glucose Levels at home
Reduce your Carbs Intake
If you consume 100–150 grams of carbohydrates daily, you are on a low-carb diet. Caution: Do not confuse it with a no-carb diet.
For weight management, a low-carb diet is a preferred choice. But the benefits of a low-carb diet are not limited to weight management and reduction. It is now a preferred choice for preventing and managing diabetes as well.
Such a diet has lots of nutrients and high fibre carbs: Include fruits, vegetables, lean protein, berries, nuts and seeds in your diet.
The fewer carbs you intake, the lower the spike in your blood sugar level; hence, this will take you closer to achieving your diabetes reversal goals.
Diet and exercise form a solid combination to help you achieve diabetes reversal. Exercise is preventive medicine that everybody needs, and if the goal is getting rid of diabetes, it is a wonder medicine. Exercising helps lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels, and stress makes your muscles more robust and has many more benefits.
You could start with a Walk. Other activities include swimming, dancing, yoga, tennis, basketball and strength training. Even 30 minutes of exercise daily can help your body’s insulin work better.
Would you agree? Exercising would be better than taking sugar-controlling pills every day.
Also called weight loss surgery, it reduces your weight by changing the stomach and intestine size to limit how much you can eat. Only people with BMI>30 are eligible for the surgery. There are different types of bariatric surgeries categorised by the change made to the digestive system: Gastric band (Placement of a band in the upper part of the stomach), Gastric bypass (Rerouting of the digestive system to bypass most of the stomach except for a small pouch at the top) and Sleeve gastrectomy (Removal of part of the stomach)
The surgery is considered helpful as it makes you eat less and feel full more quickly, changes hormones in the gut for benefit, increases the amount of bile acids and improves the way your body uses insulin.
The surgery does not promise diabetes reversal but can put you in a remission phase for 5-7 years. For some people, the benefits can stay on even longer.
Is it just remission or a reversal?
With diet control and exercise, you should be able to achieve a remission phase. Though there are chances of blood sugar levels rising again, it can continue in this phase for years. Additionally, even remission is an excellent stage to attain as it slows the progression of the disease and reduces complications.
Irrespective of the type of diabetes and the method you would want to choose to attain diabetes reversal, consulting a doctor is a must to achieve your goals.