“You have Type 2 diabetes.”
On average, each year in the U.S. over 400,000 men and women age 20 and older receive this news from their doctor.
For many, the diagnosis comes as a shock. For others, it is the dreaded confirmation of long held fears.
Over 29 million people in the U.S. have diabetes. About 90-95% of diagnosed cases are Type 2, caused by decades of unchecked elevated insulin.
Many individuals express a (heartbreaking) belief that Type 2 diabetes is inevitable and irreversible, dooming them to a future of additional health problems and an early death.
But is this true?
Consider 3 common myths about Type 2 diabetes, and the truth that can bring relief and hope to those newly diagnosed.
Myth #1 – “Type 2 diabetes is hereditary and runs in my family.”
There is no genetic test for Type 2 diabetes. This is because many different genes influence a person’s risk. For example, a person may have one gene that increases their risk, and another than decreases it.
More importantly, our environment, especially what we eat, can “turn on” or “turn off” a gene’s expression. While we may inherit our parents DNA, we do not have to inherit their chronic disease.
In a report published in The New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Walter Willett and his colleagues from the Harvard School of Public Health demonstrated that 91 percent of all Type 2 diabetes cases could be prevented through diet and lifestyle improvements.
Truth: Type 2 diabetes runs in families because family members often share the same diet and lifestyle.
Myth #2 – “Type 2 diabetes, like other chronic disease, is just part of the aging process.”
While it is true that aging and insulin resistance are closely related, it is also true that aging and increased weight are closely related.
Kitt Falk Petersen, MD, a researcher at Yale University’s School of Medicine, hypothesizes that as we age our mitochondria slow down and cannot convert sugar and fat into energy as efficiently as when we are young. So as we age, fat builds up inside muscle and liver cells and ultimately makes them less sensitive to insulin.
So she put study participants with Type 2 diabetes over the age of 65 on a diet. They lost weight, and in just 13 weeks their blood glucose levels returned close to normal and a there was a dramatic decrease in the amount of fat in their liver.
Truth: Healthy aging does not have to include chronic disease, such as Type 2 diabetes.
Myth #3 – “Once you have diabetes you’ll always have it.”
Studies have shown that diabetes is reversible in the first few years.
According to Dr. Mark Hyman, “eating in a way that balances your blood sugar, reduces inflammation and oxidative stress, and improves your liver detoxification is the key to preventing and reversing insulin resistance and diabetes.”
A whole foods, plant strong diet that is high in fiber and rich in delicious fruits and vegetables is key. Whole fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds are anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and detoxifying.
These foods send all the right signals to your genes, promoting a healthy metabolism.
A healthy diet, combined with vigorous exercise, supplements and stress reduction have allowed many men and women to improve their insulin sensitivity and reverse their Type 2 diabetes.
Truth: With diet and lifestyle changes, Type 2 diabetes is reversible for many people.
Have you been recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes or prediabetes?
If so, take heart! With step by step changes and the right support, you may be able to reverse your condition.