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Is It Possible to Control Diabetes Through Your Diet Alone?

Diabetes comes with many complications such as blindness, kidney failure and amputation of limbs, which warrants enough attention to seek treatment. Most diabetics are under long-term medication like metformin in order to keep their sugar level under control. What you should take note is that blood sugar level isn’t just affected by medication alone. Several factors come into play, especially diet.

donut-carbohydrates

By cutting down on your carbohydrates, you “unclog” your pancreas by not letting excess sugar obstruct the secretion of insulin.

A View On Successful Cases

A meta-analysis led by Jennie Brand-Miller went through 14 randomised control trials studying the significance of low glycaemic index (low GI) diets on the control of sugar levels in patients. It showed that there is actually a small but remarkable impact. Eating low GI foods in the long run can bring a significant improvement in your health as your body metabolism is stabilised.

Research by Newcastle University in Britain had shown that you might be able to reverse diabetes from extreme changes in your diet alone. They put 30 diabetics on a 700 calorie diet a day for 8 weeks. Each patient lost about 14kg on average while some even completely reversed their condition. By cutting down on your carbohydrates, you “unclog” your pancreas by not letting excess sugar obstruct the secretion of insulin.

Michele O’Sullivan, 49 who lives in Telford is a mother of 3. She constantly felt exhausted and had blurred vision, and was diagnosed with diabetes even though she doesn’t consume junk food. Sullivan realized she has been eating the wrong carbohydrates and grains which worsened her condition. She started to go on a low-carbohydrate diet eventually hitting as low as 30g per day, after hearing some diabetics recovering with it. Her HbA1c levels had went back to normal and she feels even more energetic than she did in her thirties.

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Mr Chan completely dropped dairy products such as milk and cheese from his diet, while having little to no refined and processed foods. His blood sugar levels saw a huge decrease and he felt he even reduce his medication by half. Image Credit: Velkr0

In a local context, Mr Chan Eng Suan aged 59 had diabetes for over 20 years. He was convinced by his son and wife to try out a vegan diet after researching online, even though doctors discouraged from doing so as patients with long-term diabetes have little to no reserves of insulin. He went ahead and completely dropped dairy products such as milk and cheese from his diet, while having little to no refined and processed foods. His blood sugar levels saw a huge decrease and he could even reduce his medication by half. Eating wholegrain, complex carbohydrate food such as brown rice, millet and buckwheat also contributed to the improvement of his condition.

Higher Probabilities in Obese Diabetics

This doesn’t mean all diabetics can reverse their conditions through diet alone though. Dr Nitish Mishra at the Raffles Diabetes & Endocrine Centre stated that every individual has their own fat threshold, and exceeding this threshold will trigger diabetes. Thus, reversal of diabetes is more likely for obese patients, when they eat right and lose the excess fat.

Gradually Improve Your Condition

Whether your diabetes can be fully reversed is an uncertainty, but the consensus is that going on a healthy diet and exercise does help you better control it. If your condition is under control, your doctor can reduce your medication doses gradually, and this alone would already cut the amount of medication side effects you may be suffering from. You should always notify your healthcare professional when you decide to make changes to your diet so that your diabetic medication can be adjusted accordingly. Do NOT stop your medication abruptly just because your diet has suddenly changed; your body needs time to adjust its insulin levels. Incorporating exercise is just as important as well.

Sources:

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12882846
  2. http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/health/have-type-2-diabetes-dont-lose-hope
  3. http://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/health/can-you-cure-yourself-type-6534481
  4. http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/health/all-the-problems-went-away-after-he-changed-his-diet
  5. http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/health/have-type-2-diabetes-dont-lose-hope

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