About eight percent of the US population has been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. And although this form of diabetes can be controlled through…
- weight loss,
- meal planning, and
many diabetics rely on drugs alone to control their disease. So why is this, and what can be done to encourage diabetes management through lifestyle changes?
A big reason many diabetics manage their disease through drugs alone is that this is what they have been told to do by their doctors. Type 2 diabetics have been told their disease will continue to get worse, and that there is no way to reverse it. They’ve been told they need insulin and other drugs to manage it. And it’s true for those with Type 1 diabetes – they do need to take insulin as their bodies don’t produce it. But Type 2 diabetics can produce insulin. They either don’t produce enough of it or their bodies don’t use it properly to manage blood sugar.
The good news is there are lifestyle changes that can be made to get the body to produce more insulin or to use it better. One example is exercise. Exercise increases insulin sensitivity in the cells so it can be used more effectively. Losing weight also helps the body to make and use insulin better. And of course, eating less simple carbohydrates will help keep blood sugar levels in a healthy range and help manage diabetes.
Research is finally starting to show Type 2 diabetes can be managed and even reversed by making these lifestyle changes. One study that was carried out in 2011 showed most participants fully reversed their Type 2 diabetes by following a low-calorie diet, and then managing their weight loss with continued healthy eating. Even though the participants of this study were on a very low-calorie diet, the researchers feel that even a more modest calorie reduction can help other diabetics lose weight and reverse their condition.