Did you know that 1.4 million new cases of type 2 diabetes are diagnosed in the United States every year? That’s 4 people out of 10 every year!
As a Physicians Assistant, I’ve seen it first hand. Too often when patients are given the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes they are told that it can be managed. How? By counting carbs, losing weight, and taking one or more medications. None of which are easy and for many people impossible.
My husband knows the fear that comes with diabetes. Slowly, over many years because he watched his father go from a happy, fun and funny dad to being an old, miserable, unhappy man. He believes his father’s decline began with that diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. From that time he was on medication after medication and experienced new diagnosis after new diagnosis.
A few years ago my husband was told his glucose was elevated and fell into the range of pre-diabetes range. you can imagine that he was devastated! To him, this diagnosis was different than slightly elevated blood pressure or cholesterol, this was DIABETES! He was right.
To make matters worse, instead of encouraging him to make better decisions and optimize his lifestyle to reverse his condition the doctor wanted to hand him a prescription.
My husband vowed he would never go down the same path his father did.
The American College of Lifestyle Medicine
As luck would have it, I had just finished my training in the core competencies of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine which taught me about the power of a healthy lifestyle and the truth about what causes type 2 diabetes. Mind you, this was many years after I completed my physician assistant medical training at the George Washington University!
Interestingly, I learned that some of the “healthy” foods we were eating, were actually contributing to the problem. I also had a better appreciation for the human body. It is remarkable at repairing itself from devastating destruction if we allow it to. How do we do this? We flood it with nutrients and eliminate the toxins.
Let me quickly explain a little about what causes type 2 diabetes. The underlying issue is insulin resistance. Though there are many toxins that contribute to this issue, the prime culprit is not eating carbohydrates – it’s fat!
When fat (especially saturated fat) gets into your muscle and liver cells it disrupts your body’s ability to let glucose into the cells to be used for energy. This leads to high blood glucose levels, fatty liver and low energy. This is why you feel so tired and lethargic after eating a big heavy meal?
Unfortunately, most people who have type 2 diabetes are taught that eating “carbohydrates” is bad (which is a very loose term). Just a quick health 101 lesson, Carbohydrates, Protein, and ( healthy)Fats are essential to life. Anyway, these newly diagnosed patients are told that their diabetes must be managed by restricting carbohydrates. They are rarely ever giving an option to make lifestyle changes that can possibly reverse it.
Carbohydrates are Not Your Enemy
The great news is that you can reverse this process by cutting down on your (unhealthy) fat intake and filling your plate with nutrient-dense foods like vegetables, legumes (beans, peas, and lentils) whole grains, and fruit- aka powerful plants! All of which BTW are carbohydrates but healthy ones. (Read more about Powerful Plants here.) Are the doctors wrong? No, not entirely. They just don’t decipher between good and bad carbohydrates. The types of carbohydrates that are unhealthy are things like white bread, donuts, cookies, and prepackaged foods.
Changing your eating habits and adopting a healthy lifestyle may take some time but you can experience positive results fairly quickly. You’ll be amazed how your body can process foods, that up until now you thought were forbidden, like fruit and brown rice!
Results like lower glucose levels can happen quickly. It’s essential that you work with your medical practitioner before making any big changes to your nutrition plan. You may be able to lower or stop medications in record time!
When you reverse insulin resistance you lower your a1c numbers which is an indicator of diabetes you will also lower your risk of diabetic complications like heart disease, stroke, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. I recently read about the research that shows that insulin resistance is one of the underlying problems in Alzheimer’s dementia.
When my husband started planning his meals around nutrient-dense foods he saw improvement in ALL of his numbers and lost weight, too!
Having type 2 diabetes or even pre-diabetes can be scary. The good news is that there is a lot YOU can do to take control of the problem.
For more information on nutrient-dense meal planning and other healthy lifestyle changes, please go to www.TheDiabetesTurnaround.com and join the free Say Goodbye to Diabetes Facebook Community.
Debbie Movsesian is a physician assistant and a health coach. She graduated from the University of Michigan and attended PA school at George Washington University. She has many years of experience treating cardiac patients. Her passion is health promotion and disease prevention and treating the root cause of disease. This passion led her to start coaching as she believes it is the education plus close support and accountability that truly inspires long-lasting health.