Lifestyle changes can reverse Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a public health emergency and the number of people with this disorder has almost doubled since 1996 to nearly four million today. Most people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, which occurs when the body is no longer able to keep blood sugar levels under control, are put on a lifelong drug regime to manage their condition, which is closely linked to obesity.

However, I believe we are doing patients with type 2 diabetes a great disservice by assuming that this condition is irreversible and medication is the only way. I personally have helped patients fully reverse their type 2 diabetes within just 30 days of making specific, personalised lifestyle changes, and they have no further need of medication as long as they continue to maintain healthy lifestyle practices.

I personally have helped patients fully reverse their type 2 diabetes within just 30 days of making specific, personalised lifestyle changes, and they have no further need of medication as long as they continue to maintain healthy lifestyle practices.

I teach doctors how to achieve the same results.

Many people assume that type 2 diabetes is a dietary illness and whilst diet plays a significant role, it is not the only factor to consider. When looking at lifestyle changes, I always talk to my patients about what I consider to be the four pillars of health – Food, Movement, Sleep and Relaxation. I discuss the science of each pillar, as well as practical tips to help, in my upcoming book, The Four Pillar Plan.

The alternative to lifestyle change is taking pills. This is often misguided for 2 key reasons. Firstly, the pills do not treat the underlying cause of the condition, only the symptoms. Secondly, many of the pills cause side effects of their own. Before you know it, you are starting to take more and more medications to cope with the side effects of taking the pills in the first place!

Type 2 diabetes is not something that just happens to you overnight. The underlying process will have been building up for many years. By the time you finally get diagnosed, the body will have been malfunctioning for many years. I explain how this works in my TEDx talk: How to make diseases disappear.

The fundamental abnormality with type 2 diabetes is insulin resistance – the body stops reacting appropriately to insulin, despite it being present in the bloodstream. As well as diet, we know that poor sleep contributes to the problem of insulin resistance, as does a sedentary lifestyle and high levels of stress. Our modern lifestyles are leading to many people being underslept, overstressed and sitting at their desks for hours each day, not even getting up at lunchtime when they eat on the job.

As well as diet, we know that poor sleep contributes to the problem of insulin resistance, as does a sedentary lifestyle and high levels of stress. Our modern lifestyles are leading to many people being underslept, overstressed and sitting at their desks for hours each day, not even getting up at lunchtime when they eat on the job.  

Simple tips that people can apply immediately to help them start get on top of their type 2 diabetes are:

FOOD – reduce sugar, refined and processed carbohydrates such as biscuits, bagels and even many highly processed breads that fill our supermarket shelves these days.

MOVEMENT – do a strength-based workout twice per week. More muscle means less insulin resistance. I have devised a 5 minute kitchen workout that has helped many of my patients from those in their 70s to those in their 20s.

SLEEP – prioritise sleep. Many don’t realise that a lack of sleep can contribute to insulin resistance.

RELAXATION – being chronically stressed contributes to type 2 diabetes. One of my friends reversed her pre-diabetes simply by tackling her stress levels. Diary in 10 minutes per day to do something for yourself.

The first thing we need to do is empower people by giving them the correct information. Then we need to help them make the changes they need, recognising that this can very difficult. It’s not always possible to lift away financial worries, problems at work and in relationships, but we can work within the limitations to improve people’s health and wellbeing through realistic lifestyle choices.

I have found that when we empower our patients with the right information, in a language that makes sense to them, they often thrive and make the changes required to take control of their health.

This is about empowerment. Telling patients what to do never works. Empowering them with information and choice is the only way.

Dr Rangan Chatterjee

Dr Rangan Chatterjee

As seen on @BBCOne show DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE "Lifestyle and Nutrition is the cornerstone of good health"

His mission is to help 100 million people feel fantastic by restoring them to optimal health.

http://www.drchatterjee.com
Dr Rangan Chatterjee

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