Diabetes – Prevention and Reversal
Blogs By Heidi
Type 2 Diabetes occurs when the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin, or when the cells in the body are resistant to insulin. The purpose of insulin is to transport glucose to cells, but when there is too much FAT in the blood, the cells become ‘blocked’ and the transport of glucose is inhibited. This is called ‘insulin resistance’ and the process usually begins well over a decade before diabetes is diagnosed. Diabetes is ultimately a result of too much fat in our organs. When we eat too many calories from fat, our liver tries to offload some of that fat back into our bloodstream, the pancreas becomes overworked, the liver becomes fatty, and our blood sugar levels increase. It’s also worth noting that obesity and diabetes are so strongly linked that the term ‘diabesity’ has been coined.
In order to reverse this process we must take a look at our dietary choices and understand that our standard westernised diet includes too much saturated fat, which results in inflammation and impairs insulin function. Insulin is only able to work properly when we clear fat out of the blood. The best way to do this is to follow a whole-food, plant-based diet, high in good quality carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables, wholegrains and legumes, and devoid of junk foods, animal products and oils, which typically contain high levels of saturated fat. When we clear the high levels of fat out of the body, we end up with less fat trapped in our muscles and therefore improved insulin sensitivity, improved blood sugar levels and significantly improved beta cell function (the cells that make insulin). Studies have found that diabetics who follow a high-carb, low fat diet can either reduce or eliminate the need for insulin over a relatively short period of time, and can also lower their cholesterol, blood pressure and body weight.
Part of following a whole-food, plant-based diet is consuming foods low on the Glycemic Index (GI). High GI foods, such as white bread, are rapidly digested and can cause substantial fluctuations in blood sugar. Low GI foods, such as legumes, are digested more slowly, resulting in a more gradual rise in blood sugar, and can therefore be used on a therapeutic level to manage diabetes. In fact, whole, plant foods are so powerful in managing diabetes and reversing other conditions such as heart disease that we should be viewing these foods as our optimal medicine for health.
Diabetic patients can expect to see a dramatic shift in their health in as little as three months by following a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle. For those who aren’t diabetic, adopting this lifestyle now means the chances of developing Type 2 diabetes is extremely slim.
Drugs or food – which would you choose?