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Can You Reverse Diabetes with Diet?

Some experts claim that Type 2 diabetes can be cured with a special diet. Is there any truth to this claim?

By
Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS
5-minute read
Episode #123

Type 2 Diabetics and Diet

It all boils down to managing the speed at which sugar enters your blood stream. Because your body isn’t doing a good job clearing sugar from your blood into your cells, you need to be the gate-keeper.

If you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes, you really need to work closely with a qualified health professional to determine what’s right for you. If you can’t work with or don’t trust your health advisor, please find a new one. 

In addition to the advice that your doctor or diabetes educator can share with you, there are lots of books (such as the one my reader asked me about) on controlling type 2 diabetes with diet. Although the programs differ, it all boils down to managing the speed at which sugar enters your blood stream. Because your body isn’t doing a good job clearing sugar from your blood into your cells, you need to be the gate-keeper.

4 Diet Tips for Type 2 Diabetics

For example,

  1. Strictly limit sweets, added sugars, and fruit juiceThese foods are high in sugar, and the sugars are very rapidly absorbed. If you’re worried about your blood sugar, this one’s a no-brainer.

  2. Replace white flour with whole grain flour. The carbohydrates in whole grain flours are more slowly converted to blood sugar. So, for example whole wheat bread or pasta is a better choice than white bread and white pasta.

  3. Replace flour-based foods with intact whole grains.  You can slow the conversion of carbs into blood sugar even more by eating your grains whole instead of ground into flour. So, a bulgur wheat pilaf would be even better than whole wheat bread.

  4. Cut down on portion sizes for ALL grain-based foods. Perhaps most important is to limit your portion sizes of high-carbohydrate foods like bread, pasta, cereal, and grains—even when they’re whole grain. Instead, eat more vegetables, protein foods, and/or healthy fat.  Or, if you’re overweight, it might be best not to replace those calories, or at least not all of them. 

Lifestyle Tips for Type 2 Diabetics

These diet tips are focused on throttling back the amount of sugar that’s entering the bloodstream. The other half of the equation is to accelerate the rate at which that sugar is cleared into the cells. In other words, you want to increase insulin sensitivity. Two effective ways to do that are to lose excess weight and exercise regularly. Fortunately, the two tend to go hand in hand.

See also Get Fit Guy’s Quick and Dirty Tips to Slim Down and Shape Up

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About the Author

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS

Monica Reinagel is a board-certified licensed nutritionist, author, and the creator of one of iTunes' most highly ranked health and fitness podcasts. Her advice is regularly featured on the TODAY show, Dr. Oz, NPR, and in the nation's leading newspapers, magazines, and websites. Do you have a nutrition question? Call the Nutrition Diva listener line at 443-961-6206. Your question could be featured on the show.