Reversing the irreversible

The soaring rate of sugar disease comes with a brutal price tag: lives, limbs, poor health and high hospital bills. Celeste McGovern looks at evidence-based ways to put the epidemic in reverse

It has been called “the biggest epidemic of the 21st century”.1 If you don’t have diabetes or know someone with it now, it’s likely you eventually will. The prevalence of diabetes, now affecting more than 420 million people across the globe,2has quadrupled in the past 20 years and continues to soar. It is expected that one person in 10—or 642 million—will be diagnosed with diabetes by 2040.

Your body and brain ordinarily run on sugar as fuel for all of their functions, but too much sugar in the bloodstream can be damaging—even fatal.

In both forms of diabetes, type 1 and type 2, decreased insulin results in symptoms including increased thirst, frequent urination, weight change, fatigue and blurry vision, among others.

But those living with a diabetes diagnosis and symptoms do not need to feel overwhelmed and afraid of their disease forever. The 4.5 million Brits and 20 million Americans with a diabetes diagnosis (and the millions more estimated to have pre-diabetes or undiagnosed diabetes) can take control of their condition. Many type 2 diabetics are living proof that the disease can be reversed, sometimes in under 30 days, and type 1 diabetics are able to dramatically reduce their insulin dependence and cut their risks. In fact, a rare few have even challenged the orthodox medical view that being free of insulin altogether is impossible.

To take control of your blood sugar and put your diabetes in the back seat, here are the top five factors to consider….

Your weight

Despite all the diabetes diets and conflicting information—eat carbs, don’t eat carbs, eat fats, eat zero fat, don’t eat at all —fast— most patients who have beaten type 2 diabetes on various diets undergo significant weight loss.

The single biggest risk factor for diabetes is obesity; even if some type 2 diabetics don’t appear to be overweight, they may be packing dangerous levels of fat on the inside, around their organs.

This was the case for Michael Mosley, a doctor and television presenter who discovered he had type 2 diabetes in 2012. Rather than go on medication to control his blood sugar, he decided to experiment with ‘intermittent fasting.’ He lost 9 kg by restricting his calorie consumption to 600 a day on two days of the week, eating normally on the other five days. On this “5:2 diet” that he invented, he reversed his diabetes in short order—under 12 weeks.

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