August 2021

If you are living with diabetes or have a loved one who has been waging this ‘sugar-war’ for long, you might be desperately waiting for a cure for this condition. Despite the advances in medical sciences and innovative treatment methods available, there is no cure for type 2 diabetes. However, the good news is type 2 diabetes can be reversed and one can go into remission. Yes, you read it right – diabetes reversal is possible.

Simple steps like modifying one’s diet habits and bringing in some positive lifestyle changes can make a big difference. These things are attainable with little help and sheer dedication.

What is diabetes reversal?

Diabetes reversal means keeping your blood sugars and HbA1c levels (blood sugar readings for the past three months) under control without the help of medications and injections. This is possible to achieve with proper diet and exercise. Ideally, if you can keep your HbA1c below 6.4 % for over a year without medication, in that case, doctors believe that you are in remission and have reversed diabetes successfully.

How to reverse type 2 diabetes?

To reverse diabetes, the goal should be to lead a healthy everyday life without being dependent on oral medication or insulin and limit the chances of complications due to elevated sugar levels.

However, remember that reversing diabetes is not a one-time process. You need to adhere to all the healthy habits you learnt while trying to reverse diabetes, lifelong. Since diabetes has no cure, lifelong management of the condition is necessary, even when in remission. Deviating from healthy lifestyle habits can increase the chances of a relapse exponentially.

For instance, if your HbA1C levels were higher than 7 percent or more and you got it under 6.4 percent, kept it under control for more than a year so your doctor could take you off medication and pills, your condition is considered to be in remission. However, even in remission you have to be monitored by your doctor regularly. If you go off track within a year or so, your HbA1c levels can be back in the diabetes range. This is why diabetes reversal is not permanent, but a lifelong process to keep your blood sugars in check.

So, here are a few things that you can do:

Switch to a healthy diet:

  1. Make it a habit to eat healthy balanced meals. Make sure that there is a mix of protein, fat, and fibre on your plate, along with the right kind of carbs.
  2. Control your carbohydrate load. If you have been eating a high carb diet for a long time, it makes sense to cut down on your carb intake and balance your plate with other food components to get more nutrition out of your meals. Choose complex carbohydrates over simple ones. Choose brown rice, whole grains, brown bread, millets, quinoa, oats over white rice, white flour, white bread and other processed foods.
  3. Remember, diet management to control diabetes is not all about having a balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. You need to focus on incorporating all the macro and micro nutrients too. A deficiency of zinc, magnesium, vitamin C, iron, calcium, can make your blood sugar readings go haywire and affect your major organs too.
  4. Your carbohydrate load should not exceed 45 to 50 gms in your main meals. Here is how an ideal meal plate should look –
    • Half plate with vegetables cooked, steamed or tossed
    • A quarter of the plate with proteins – meat, eggs, legumes, pulses, tofu, cottage cheese or paneer
    • Other quarter with complex carbohydrates like – brown rice, chapati, millets, daliya, etc
  5. Try to plan for 3 main meals a day and 3 snacks. Space out your meal throughout the day so there are sufficient gaps in between meals – not too much or not too little. Ideally, you should eat something every three to four hours for optimal blood sugar management.

Of course, it takes some planning to eat the right carbs and in the right amount to keep your postprandial (PP) blood sugar in check. Here is where expert help and advice can be of help. At Diabefly Reverse – a digital diabetes reversal management program – our expert panel of nutritionists help you to be on track with your diet choices and make lifestyle changes that positively impact your well-being. It focuses on everything in your diet (not just carbs and fats), including micronutrients and corrects any kind of deficiency that might be detrimental to your health. It is imperative to include essential nutrients and micronutrients in your diet as a deficiency of the same can hinder insulin production, utilisation of glucose, sleep cycle, and impact heart health.

Stay active and lose some weight:

Weight loss has a positive impact on diabetes management and can increase your chances of diabetes reversal manifolds. Regular exercise and fat loss can improve insulin sensitivity and help lower your blood sugar. In fact, if you are on medication, overtime exercise can help you stop using medicine and improve your chances of reversal.

If you have lived a sedentary life and feel lost to exercise, we understand your situation. Most people who are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes find it difficult to start exercising. The best thing to do is to get moving – ditch the car for a grocery store trip or to drop your kids at the bus stop. Take short walks, but this will not help you to reverse diabetes. You have to put in some extra effort – including strength training with regular walking and any other mode of exercise that you choose. Our physiotherapists at Diabefly Reverse pay attention to every detail – medical history, fitness assessment, injury history – before helping you draft an exercise plan to lose weight and get blood sugars in control.

Keep a tab on your HbA1c or A1c levels:

The A1c test gives you your average blood sugar readings for over a few months, precisely three months. Sugar binds to the haemoglobin present in your red blood cells — and the HbA1c test measures this sugar to give a clear picture of how well your diabetes is managed. Ideally, experts believe that having your HbA1c levels less than 6.4 % indicate your diabetes is well under control and you are on your road to reversal. If you are able to keep the levels the same without medications for over a year, doctors might consider that you are in remission or your condition is reversed. Here are some natural ways in which you can lower your HbA1c levels.

Keep calm and stress at bay:

Chronic stress and anxiety is known to raise blood pressure and make a dent in your blood sugar management efforts. Also, emotional distress like – guilt, greif, disappointments, frustrations – make it difficult for one to be on track with medications and stick to healthy habits. Hormones secreted due to stress and emotional distress trigger weight gain, leads to insulin resistance and keeps blood sugar raised in the bloodstream. To reverse diabetes, it is also important to take care of your mental well-being. We all know it is difficult to get up and go for a jog for 20 minutes when you are wrapped in a blanket of overwhelming emotions.

Seek a multidisciplinary approach:

Remember, bringing your blood sugar under control is not always about diet and weight loss; there are a lot of factors that can come to play – your sleep cycle, stress levels, your anxiety, time management and much more. Lifestyle changes call for more effort than just tweaking the diet or doing a 30 minutes jog. This is why, at Diabefly Reverse, a team of specialists, including – a nutritionist, a certified physiotherapist and a clinical psychologist, work together with your Doctor to help you achieve your health goals with tailor-made plans made according to your needs. The coaches work in tandem to ensure the best care and outcomes along with your doctor’s medical treatment. Your mental and psychological well-being is of equal importance in diabetes reversal, as is your physical health.

Is Type 2 Diabetes Reversal Possible for Everyone?

Sometimes, despite taking all the measures like diet, exercise, weight loss, stress management, some people are unable to reverse their diabetes or get into remission. Researchers still don’t fully know what makes it workable for some and not for others. However, there are a few parameters that can help in deciding if a diabetes reversal is possible for someone:

Diabetes reversal or remission is most likely to happen if your condition is in the early stages. However, as the condition progresses, the body may slowly lose its ability to make insulin over time, reversal might not be viable. To know if you can reverse your diabetes, try our Diabefly Diabetes Reversal Calculator, which will assess your chance of reversing diabetes by taking into consideration your age, gender, BMI, duration of diabetes, current medication, family history of diabetes and other health conditions. The higher the score is, the better your chances of reversal.

If you can manage your HbA1c levels without medication for more than a year, you are believed to be in complete remission; if you can do so for more than 5 years, you are in prolonged remission. However, even during your remission period you will still need to be tested for high blood sugar, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, kidney and eye problems. This is done as a safety measure to ensure that your symptoms don’t flare up and a relapse is not on the cards.

To know more about Diabefly Reverse and how it can help you smartly take control of your diabetes, help you reverse the condition and incorporate healthy habits for a better and fitter life, visit our website or speak to one of our counsellors on +022-489-69984.

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