How to reverse
type 2 diabetes
Do you have type 2 diabetes, or are you at risk for diabetes? Do you worry about your blood sugar? Then you’ve come to the right place.
The disease diabetes, both type 1 and 2, means that you have too much sugar in your blood. This page will show you how to best check and manage this.With a properly planned low-carb diet, you may be able to normalize your blood sugar naturally- without pills, calorie counting or hunger. Many people have already done so and studies have confirmed it. As a bonus, a normalized blood sugar usually makes you healthier and leaner.
The main potential danger regards medications, where doses may need to be adapted. In particular, insulin doses may need to be lowered to avoid low blood sugar, and SGLT2 inhibitors may need to be deprescribed. Learn more
Discuss any changes in medication and relevant lifestyle changes with your doctor. Full disclaimer
A disastrous epidemic
What’s wrong? Why do more and more people get type 2 diabetes?
In the past, before our modern Western diet, type 2 diabetes was extremely rare. The disease is now becoming more and more common around the world:
The number of people with diabetes is increasing rapidly and is heading towards 500 million. This is a world epidemic. Will someone in your family be affected next? Your mother, father, cousin, your child? Or you? Is perhaps your blood already too sweet?
Those affected by the most common form of diabetes (type 2) normally never regain their health. Instead, we take for granted that they’ll become a little sicker for every year that goes by. With time they need more and more drugs. Yet, sooner or later complications emerge. Blindness. Dialysis due to faulty kidneys. Dementia. Amputations. Death.
Diabetes epidemic causes inconceivable suffering. Fortunately, there’s something that can be done. We just need to see through the mistake that has led to the explosion of disease – and correct it. This can normalize your blood sugar. Many have already succeeded in doing this.
If you already know that you have type 2 diabetes, you can skip down to the section Where sugar in your blood comes from.
Otherwise, let’s see if you’re at risk.
Is your blood sugar normal?
Here’s a crash course in diabetes and high blood sugar.
Common symptoms of diabetes:
- Excessive thirst and an abnormally high urine production. This is because periodically blood sugar is so high (above 15 mmol/l or 270 mg/dl) that it leaks out into the urine pulling fluid from the body, which increases thirst
- Blurry vision is also common. All the sugar makes the lens in the eye swell and you will become more nearsighted
- With type 1 diabetes, you may inexplicably lose weight and your breath may smell of acetone (nail polish remover)
However, please note that with milder forms of diabetes you often don’t notice anything. Still, all that sugar in the blood may gradually damage your body.
Do you have type 2 diabetes? If you don’t know already, this is simple to test in a few seconds. Either in your doctor’s office or with your own cheap blood glucose meter.1 Prick your finger and a drop of blood is all that’s needed:
- A normal blood sugar level is up to 5.6 mmol/l (100 mg/dl) fasting, or up to 7.8 mmol/l (140 mg/dl) after a meal
- A marginally elevated blood sugar level may indicate prediabetes
- Above 7.0 mmol/l (126 mg/dl) fasting, or 11.1 (200) after a meal, indicates that you have type 2 diabetes
You may also test your urine with urine test strips: Glucose in the urine usually indicates that you have type 2 diabetes.
Test, and you will know.
Two types of diabetes
What causes diabetes? There are two common forms:
Type 2 diabetes is by far the most common form (around 90% of all cases) and the one which is increasing the most. It primarily affects overweight people in middle age or later. It’s not uncommon for the affected person to also have a high blood pressure and an abnormal lipid profile. Gestational diabetes is a temporary special case of type 2 diabetes.
In type 2 diabetes the body has an increasingly harder time to handle all the sugar in the blood. Large amounts of the blood sugar-lowering hormone insulin are produced, but it’s still not enough, as insulin sensitivity decreases. At the time of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, people usually have ten times more insulin in their bodies than normal.2 As a side effect, this insulin promotes fat storage and weight gain, something that has been in progress for many years before the disease was diagnosed.
Why do more and more people get type 2 diabetes today? You’ll know why when you are done reading this page. A clue: the disease was once in many languages called sugar disease.
For more on type 2 diabetes, check out the videos or link below.
Type 1 diabetes (juvenile-onset diabetes) primarily affects children and young adults. People who get type 1 diabetes are often of normal weight. In the months prior to being diagnosed they have usually lost weight inexplicably.
Type 1 diabetes is caused by death of most of the body’s insulin-producing cells (from an unknown cause). Severe deficiency in insulin causes high blood sugar and rapid weight loss.
Treatment primarily consists of administering the insulin you don’t make with insulin injections. In addition, a diet that doesn’t raise blood sugar dramatically facilitates getting a stable and normal blood sugar.
For more an type 1 diabetes, check out our videos or link below.
Where sugar in your blood comes from
The problem for people with type 2 diabetes is that the body has difficulty keeping blood sugar levels down. The blood turns too sweet. So where does sugar in the blood come from?
Sugar in the blood comes from the food that we eat. The foods that turn into different types of sugar as soon as they reach the stomach are called carbohydrates. This means sugar (as in soda, fruit juice, candy) and starch (as in bread, pasta, rice and potatoes).
Starch, in for example bread, is broken down to glucose in the stomach. When glucose enters the blood stream it’s called blood sugar.
The more carbohydrates we eat in a meal, the more sugar is absorbed into the blood stream. The more sugar that’s absorbed into the blood stream, the higher the blood sugar will be.
Reversed dietary guidelines
Dietary advice has in recent decades looked similar in all of the Western world. While more and more people gotten type 2 diabetes, and while the affected have become sicker and sicker, they’ve been advised to eat the very foods that raise blood sugar.
Here’s a good example, the Swedish Plate Model for people with type 2 diabetes:
Which sections of the plate raise blood sugar? Well, those that contain carbohydrates (sugar and starch).
Bread and potatoes consist of starch, milk contains milk sugar and fruit contains plain sugar:
Thus, the food pictured above dramatically raises blood sugar. People with diabetes, who try to eat this way won’t normally become any healthier or thinner. On the contrary, they will usually need more and more medications and will become more and more obese as the years go by.
The advice above is therefore not only illogical, but also works poorly. It completely lacks scientific support according to a Swedish expert investigation. On the contrary, in recent years similar carbohydrate-rich dietary advice has been shown to increase the risk of getting diabetes and appears to potentially worsen blood sugar levels long-term compared to a lower carbohydrate diet.3 The advice does not improve their health in other important ways either.4
The only reason to continue to give this bad advice is the lingering fear of natural fat. If you’re going to avoid fat you need to eat more carbohydrates in order to get satiated. But in recent years the old theory about fat being dangerous has been scientifically questioned seems to be on its way out.
Normalize your blood sugar
What happens if you remove the blood sugar-raising foods? What’s left then?
For example this:
Many people with type 2 diabetes are now choosing to eat foods that don’t raise blood sugar.5 Foods with fewer carbohydrates and a higher proportion of fat, LCHF foods.
They often notice that starting with the first meal, their blood sugar improves. The need for medications, especially insulin, is dramatically reduced. Substantial weight loss usually follows. Finally, they usually feel a lot better, more alert and improve many health markers.
More and more doctors (I’m far from the only one) advise similarly with great results. More and more people question the old blood sugar-raising carbohydrate-rich advice, even in the media.
Since the Fall of 2011, the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare has recommended a low-carbohydrate diet with diabetes. There’s a big change in the air today and you do not have to wait.
Spectacular stories of health improvements:
Is it your turn now? By all means try: Low carb for beginners
Do you think that the low-carbohydrate diet for people with type 2 diabetes is a new invention? It’s not. There’s long-time experience of the positive effects.
In the past, before we were afraid of fat and before there were modern drugs to lower blood sugar, the dietary advice was different from today’s. At that time diet was all that was available to help people with type 2 diabetes.
Here are pictures from a cookbook for people with type 2 diabetes from 1917. You can read the entire book for free online. Below is an image of pages 12-13, where there’s a summary on what they should and should not eat.
Let’s start with what people with type 2 diabetes were not to eat a hundred years ago.
Strictly forbidden foods
The title of the page is “Foods Strictly Forbidden”. It starts with sugar and “Farinaceous Foods and Starches”, in other words flours and starches. Examples follow:
- Sweet drinks
These absolutely forbidden foods are now a part of the recommended diabetes-diet according to the Swedish Plate Model. These foods now take up the largest part of the diabetes-plate. This, while we get more and more people with type 2 diabetes, who need more and more drugs and get sicker and sicker. Hardly a coincidence.
Especially valuable foods
Here’s the list of recommended nutrient-dense diabetes foods: Butter, olive oil, cheese, meat, fish, eggs…
This is the advice that people with type 2 diabetes received a hundred years ago. Even in Sweden, with the high fat-Petrén diet that included fatty pork cuts, butter and green cabbage. And when they start eating this way today the same thing happens as it did in the past. Their blood sugar levels improve dramatically from day one. This makes sense, as they avoid eating what raises blood sugar.
Most overweight people will then gradually lose a substantial amount of weight and will be able to do well with less medication.
Today’s carbohydrate-rich dietary advice to people with type 2 diabetes is based on the old fear of naturally fatty foods. There are no quality studies showing that a carbohydrate-rich diet is beneficial compared to a low carbohydrate diet.
Hence, when Swedish experts recently examined this they didn’t find any scientific evidence for today’s advice on a low-fat and whole grain-rich diet.
When it comes to stricter low-carbohydrate diets as LCHF there are so far only limited scientific studies. But the studies that have been done, show that LCHF-like advice is better for blood sugar and weight than today’s low-fat advice.
Since then the Swedish Board of Health and Welfare has published the guidelines for healthcare professionals. They have become receptive to several options regarding diets for people with type 2 diabetes and now highly recommend a low-carbohydrate diet as a first choice.
In addition, as early as in 2008, the Swedish Board of Health and Welfare examined and approved advice on LCHF within the health care system. Advice on LCHF is, according to the Swedish Board of Health and Welfare’s review, in accordance with science and proven knowledge. In other words, certified healthcare professionals, who give such advice (for example myself) can feel completely confident.
Even the American Diabetic Association (ADA) is, since 2008, approving advice on a low-carbohydrate diet for people with type 2 diabetes.
Studies on low-carbohydrate diets and diabetes
- Low-carbohydrate diet in type 2 diabetes: stable improvement of bodyweight and glycemic control during 44 months follow-up
- Short-term effects of severe dietary carbohydrate-restriction advice in Type 2 diabetes–a randomized controlled trial
- Long-term effects of a diet loosely restricting carbohydrates on HbA1c levels, BMI and tapering of sulfonylureas in type 2 diabetes: a 2-year follow-up study
- The effect of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet versus a low-glycemic index diet on glycemic control in type 2 diabetes mellitus
- Comparative Study of the Effects of a 1-Year Dietary Intervention of a Low-Carbohydrate Diet Versus a Low-Fat Diet on Weight and Glycemic Control in Type 2 Diabetes
- Effects of a Mediterranean-Style Diet on the Need for Antihyperglycemic Drug Therapy in Patients With Newly Diagnosed Type 2 Diabetes
- BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care 2017: Systematic review and meta-analysis of dietary carbohydrate restriction in patients with type 2 diabetes
A tale of two meals
How much is your blood sugar affected by the food you eat? A lot. Here’s an example of how significant the difference can be:
In the picture to the left a real LCHF meal that I had a couple of years ago, and measured my blood sugar. Steak fried in butter, vegetables fried in butter and a homemade béarnaise sauce (melted butter and egg yolk). Lots of fat, an ample amount of protein, but almost no carbohydrates.
In the picture to the right you can see the lunch that I was unbelievably served at the 11th International Congress on Obesity in Stockholm 2010. This is a major international conference for obesity doctors and scientists. The food contains almost exclusively energy from sugar and starches, things that are broken down to simple sugars in the stomach.
Let’s see what impacts the two meals had on my blood sugar:
A blood glucose level between 4-6 mmol/l (≈70-100 mg/dl) is typical while fasting. It can then rise after a meal, depending on how much carbohydrate you eat.
As you can see, nothing happened to my blood sugar when I ate the LCHF meal. Not really surprising. If you don’t eat many carbohydrates, not a lot of glucose will reach the blood stream, and consequently the blood-glucose level will stay where it was.
As a contrast, the lunch at the obesity conference sent my blood-glucose level through the roof, all the way up to 9.9 mmol/l (180 mg/dl), in just an hour. Full report here: Sugar shock! (Google translated from Swedish)
Want to do a similar test yourself? Order a simple blood glucose meter and test strips here.
Who profits from a dangerously high blood sugar?
Within the healthcare system people with type 2 diabetes are still often given advice on blood sugar-raising foods. It is not uncommon to receive nice, colored folders, like the Swedish one above. In this folder it’s stated that foods that raise blood sugar slowly are good for you. Examples of such foods are said to be fruit, rice, pasta, potatoes and bread!
Why is it good for people with type 2 diabetes to eat food that raises blood sugar? Who benefits from this? Who’s giving away all these free folders?
Typically, as in this case, it’s a pharmaceutical company that has printed the folder. They sell drugs that lower blood-glucose levels. And then they give away folders with dietary advice that raises blood sugar and makes people with type 2 diabetes need more drugs.
Pharmaceutical companies are making more money on providing dietary advice that makes people with type 2 diabetes sicker. This is not a conspiracy theory. It’s just simple market economics.
The advice on carbohydrate-rich foods, for example, may make a person with type 2 diabetes require initiation of treatment with insulin injections. One single year’s insulin-consumption may easily cost $2000 or more. Multiply this number by the 422 million diagnosed people diabetes worldwide and you will see the enormous economical interests in this.
Become your own evidence
More and more people no longer trust propaganda from the pharmaceutical industry or poorly updated experts. They’re taking command of their own health. There’s a big change underway that can lead to a healthier future for very many people.
Are you confused and don’t know what to think? That’s OK. There’s a simple way to find out what effect a low-carbohydrate diet will have on you.
Try it. Try it yourself for a few weeks and monitor the effect. Here are some examples of what you can expect:
- Improved blood sugar levels, starting from the first meal
- Increased satiety and weight loss, often noticeable already within a week
- Reduced sugar cravings
- A calmer and gas-free digestive system
Take command of your own health and test for yourself:
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This is a 45-minute video of Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt’s presentation from the Low Carb USA conference in 2017, explaining much of the case for low carb for people with type 2 diabetes.
More on type 1 and type 2 diabetes
Do you want to learn more about good treatment of type 1 and type 2 diabetes, including which medications to use if needed? Please see further reading:
How to cure type 2 diabetes
Is it possible to cure type 2 diabetes? Doctor Jay Wortman, M.D., knows more about this than most people. He developed type 2 diabetes himself fourteen years ago, but after a simple dietary change, he’s still completely symptom free, with no medication.
Jay Wortman also did a spectacular study on native Canadians. When they went back to eating traditional foods their Western diseases went away.
Above is a 25-minute interview I did with Dr. Wortman.
More from the Diet Doctor
Selected blog posts on diabetes from the last few years:
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Compared to a higher-fat Mediterranean diet, conventional low-fat advice resulted in more people getting diabetes:
For example, it does not appear to decrease the risk of heart disease:
Here are some amazing stories from some of these people: