Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition in which your blood sugar levels are consistently too high because your pancreas cannot not producing enough insulin to regulate them.
To compensate for the poor insulin production, you have to turn to diet and in some cases medication to keep blood sugar levels from spiking – a mechanism that can raise your risk of developing heart disease.
Dr Michael Mosley of www.thefast800.com was faced with this stark reality after a routine blood test revealed he had type 2 diabetes.
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Despite his doctor advising him to start on medication, Dr Mosely overhauled his lifestyle and managed to overcome diabetes without drugs.
Dr Mosely reversed his condition by following these five key steps:
In the course of his research, he discovered “intermittent fasting”, where instead of dieting every day, you cut your calories a few days a week.
“After talking to experts, I ended up creating what I called the 5:2 diet, where I cut my food intake to around 600 calories a day, two days a week, and ate as healthily as possible on the other five days,” he said.
Using this approach, he rapidly lost 10kg and returned his blood sugars to normal, and, thanks to my maintaining this weight loss, they have stayed the same ever since.
Eat a low carb diet to lose fat to manage your blood sugar
According to Dr Mosley, one of the main reasons so many people develop blood sugar problems later in life is because they put on too much visceral fat – a type of fat that accumulates near vital organs.
“If you get rid of the fat most people can get their blood sugar levels back to normal without medication,” he says.
Following a low-carb diet attacks the belly fat by enabling your body to burn fat, including body fat, which helps with weight loss.
“When the body gets used to burning fat for energy, rather than relying on carbs, this helps greatly towards lowering blood sugar levels as well,” he explains.
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The trick is not to cut carbs completely, but rather to be choosy about the ones you regularly eat, advises Dr Mosley.
“If you want to try going lower-carb then white bread, white pasta, potatoes and sugars, including maple syrup and agave nectar, are best eaten sparingly, if at all,” advises Dr Mosley.
Eat a Mediterranean-style diet
The Mediterranean-style low carb approach is a low sugar diet, low in starchy, easily digestible carbs, and is packed full of disease-fighting vitamins and flavonoids, says Dr Mosley.
As Diabetes UK explains, Mediterranean-style diet can promote weight loss, improve blood glucose control and help reduce cardiovascular risk in people with Type 2 diabetes, factors that can help reverse the condition.
Extend your overnight fast
According to Dr Mosley, the claim that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” is nonsense and has been comprehensively demolished in recent research published in the British Medical Journal.
Rather, the longer you can go without eating, the better for blood sugar management.
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As Dr Mosley explains, the now-debunked theory is if you skip breakfast, then you will get hungry later in the day and snack on high calorie junk food, sending weight and blood sugar levels soaring.
“Many also believed that eating breakfast revs up your metabolism, preparing you for the day,” he says.
To test this idea researchers got 300 overweight volunteers and asked those who normally skip breakfast to eat breakfast, while those who routinely ate breakfast were asked to skip it. They weighed the volunteers beforehand and 16 weeks later.
The breakfast skippers who had made themselves eat breakfast lost an average of 0.76kgs. While the breakfast eaters, who had spent 16 weeks skipping breakfast, lost an almost identical amount, an average of 0.71kgs.
The researchers concluded that, contrary to what is widely believed, a recommendation to eat breakfast “had no discernible effect on weight loss in free-living adults who were attempting to lose weight”.
Engage in High-intensity interval training (HIIT)
Weight loss forms an essential part of reversing type 2 diabetes, and, as Dr Mosley explains, HIIT directly targets visceral fat, burning away the fatty deposits that can lead to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
Recently, studies have also shown that as well as improving fitness, HIIT can actually reverse the effects of ageing on the mitochondria – the power-houses of the cell, says Dr Mosley.
What impact does this have on diabetes?
As you age, the ability of the mitochondria to obtain energy by burning glucose declines. In tests, however, HIIT boosted the performance of mitochondria by 49 percent in people.
This mechanism can help to reverse the condition, he says.
What does HIIT entail?
As Mayo Clinic explains, HIIT is any intense exercise you can do for 30 seconds or even a couple of minutes.
“And then, given a chance to catch your breath, you’ll be able to do it again. During a HIIT workout, you alternate between exerting a high and low level effort of exercise,” it says.
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