I’ve previously discussed the basic steps you can take to reverse, or at least absolutely minimize, type 2 diabetes. This involves strategies such as wheat and grain elimination (of course!), vitamin D restoration, cultivation of bowel flora (not just probiotics!!), and magnesium supplementation.
But there is another exceptionally powerful strategy that helps push you even farther away from diabetes, something I call the “No Change Rule.” Let me explain.
At some risk of oversimplification, the majority of people with type 2 diabetes have 1) high fasting blood sugars (semi-arbitrarily defined as 126 mg/dl, 7.0 mmol/L, or greater), 2) high after-meal, or “postprandial,” blood sugars (200 mg/dl, 11.1 mmol/L, or greater is the semi-arbitrary cutoff during formal glucose tolerance testing), and 3) high insulin levels due to insulin resistance, or poor muscle and organ responsiveness to insulin. (A minority of type 2 diabetics, particularly those diabetic for many years, have also incurred either autoimmune and/or glucotoxic/lipotoxic damage to pancreatic beta cells that produce insulin, leaving them incapable of producing high, or even normal, levels of insulin. If this situation develops, then diabetes will not reverse. But this does not apply to the majority, thankfully.) Diabetes is also characterized by a high hemoglobin A1c, HbA1c, of 6.5% or greater, a value reflecting the prior 60-90 days of high blood sugar values.
At the very start of your effort, you cannot reduce fasting blood sugars or insulin. But you can definitely seize control of postprandial blood sugars. By not allowing any change in blood sugar, you have started the process of taking back control over the entire process and the rest will follow. To illustrate, say your fasting glucose is 120 mg/dl. Eat a plate of whole grain pasta with meatballs and marinara sauce, just as the doctor, diabetes educator, and American Diabetes Association advised you; blood sugar 30-60 minutes later (when the highest value, or peak, occurs) will be around 200 mg/dl and will stay high for many hours (an effect characteristic of pasta). What if you instead began with a fasting glucose of 120 mg/dl, then ate a wheat/grain-free, low carbohydrate meal of, say, pork with plenty of fat, some steamed green vegetables, cabbage, and a slice of cheesecake made using a Wheat Belly recipe? More than likely, your peak postprandial blood sugar will be around 120 mg/dl–NO CHANGE. In the graph of blood sugars shown above, you are aiming to recreate the orange line. You certainly don’t want to recreate the “low glycemic” pattern . . . because blood sugar will still go too high! (Yes: glycemic index is a bogus concept.)
(If, by the way, there is a substantially greater rise in blood sugar after such a low-carb meal, it can signal the situation in which you have irretrievably lost pancreatic beta cells. This means lifelong reliance on at least some medications. The earlier you adopt these strategies, the less likely you will be caught in this situation.)
Do this over and over and over again, and both fasting glucose and insulin levels start to follow and drift downward, also. The process is accelerated by all the strategies that reverse insulin resistance, particularly vitamin D, bowel flora cultivation, and intermittent fasting. Also, be aware that weight loss can either prevent blood sugars from dropping and/or cause erratic blood sugars due to the flood of fatty acids that is naturally part of the weight loss process. Once weight plateaus, then watch your blood sugar plummet. Postprandial blood sugars don’t rise because of your dietary efforts, fasting glucose and insulin drop over time, HbA1c drops over a longer period. Most people eventually achieve the ideal: fasting glucose 90 mg/dl or less, postprandial glucose with no change or never higher than 100 mg/dl, fasting insulin near zero, HbA1c 5.0% or less. You are no longer diabetic. (Yes, if you eat a bowl of Halloween candy, you will again express diabetic range blood sugars. But, provided you don’t do something silly like this, you will be spared all the long-term consequences of diabetes. For all practical purposes, you are non-diabetic, plain and simple.)
Consider this: By reversing type 2 diabetes with these natural and logical strategies, and you can eliminate all, or at least substantially reduce, insulin, other injectable drugs, and oral drugs for diabetes. You will be depriving the drug industry of a huge revenue stream that they hoped would continue for your (abbreviated) lifetime. By becoming non-diabetic, you will not contribute to the double-digit growth in diabetes drug prescriptions, the elaborate events attended by the drug people to celebrate their good fortune in “treating” this epidemic, the bloated salaries of drug industry executives and salespeople. You will, in fact, be spending almost nothing–a little bit for your vitamin D gelcaps, your magnesium supplement, a probiotic during the first few months. But that’s far less than the many hundreds of dollars each and every month (a drug like Invokana alone costs around $300 per month) that the drugs cost. But you can appreciate why such simple strategies that easily and reliably reverse type 2 diabetes countless times are ignored by the industry that stands to lose with your success.
In addition to the No Change Rule as a powerful tool to reverse or minimize type 2 diabetes, it is also a wonderful tool to lose weight faster or break a weight loss plateau. These are the sorts of health tools I love: tools that put personal health back in your control and away from the people who would sacrifice your health for their personal profit.