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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

Can Type 2 Diabetes Be Cured?

It depends on what you mean by “cured.” Some people feel that if you can get and keep your blood sugar levels at healthy levels without the use of medication, you’re no longer diabetic. Others would argue that your diabetes is controlled or managed but not cured. The idea is that recovering diabetics—if I can borrow a term from the 12-step movement—will always be at greater risk of relapsing into Type 2 diabetes if they relax their dietary vigilance.

For example, I might have the same normal blood sugar levels as my friend who is successfully managing her diabetes. We might even have similar eating patterns. The difference is that if I were to suddenly give into a craving for those little red Swedish fish I love so much, my body would (I hope) still be able to regulate my blood sugar levels, despite my indiscretion. Hers might not. Then again, if I give into that craving too often, I might end up with type 2 diabetes myself—which is why I keep myself on a pretty short leash with the Swedish fish.

By the same token, if my diabetic friend maintains her healthy lifestyle for long enough, it’s possible that her body would regain the ability to deal with an occasional onslaught of sugar—just like non-diabetics can.   If I were her, though, having triumphed over the disease once, I probably wouldn’t want to test that theory. The bottom line is that whether or not you are or ever were diabetic, you’d do well to limit your intake of sugar and other refined carbohydrates.

RESOURCES

Type 2 Diabetes Resource Center (NutritionData.com)

Diabetes Self-Managment

Dr. Neil Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes

Glycemic Load Diet (Dr. Rob Thompson)

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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.