The paradigm for the prevention and cure of early type 2 Diabetes has been shifting away from using pharmaceuticals over the past 10 years and toward the more enduring results which can be achieved by modifying diet and increasing exercise. In the early stages of the disease compliance with increased physical activity and consistent avoidance of starches and foods with high fructose content is generally all that is required in order to stabilize glucose well below 200. The goal is not to increase insulin levels in the body, but to decrease the amount of insulin that the body requires.
When food is consumed by the pre-diabetic the beta cells of the pancreas secrete insulin in an amount proportional to the carbohydrate load. Two hours after a high-carbohydrate meal, the high circulating insulin levels may drop blood sugar levels and make one so hungry that the patient resumes eating. Increase of circulating lnsulin levels will increase corporal fat deposition. If fructose is consumed together with glucose this will stimulate simultaneous gluconeogenesis and fatty acid synthesis in the hepatocytes and the fatty acids and triglycerides which are produced may be deposited in the mesenteric distribution leading to central obesity. The greater the level of obesity, the more resistant the patient is to insulin. The pancreas increases insulin secretion even more until eventually the pancreas no longer produces adequate insulin supplies.
So we can talk about three phases of type II diabetes
The first phase, known as prediabetes, is asymptomatic. The patient eats carbohydrates in excess, secretes a large amount of insulin, gains weight, and circulating glucose levels are still completely normal.
One of the findings of the physical examination of this phase is known as acanthosis nigricans, a black discoloration of the neck and armpits caused by high insulin levels. The resistance of the cells to insulin increases gradually as the patient gets fatter, but the pancreas manages to always produce more and more insulin to maintain normoglycemia.
The second phase of type II diabetes is slightly symptomatic because although the person still produces insulin, this amount of insulin is not sufficient to keep the glucose level below 180. In this phase the patient is still overweight.
Eventually in the third phase of type II diabetes the pancreas reduces insulin production and the person is frankly hyperglycemic. The patient loses weight quickly, because without insulin, glucose can not enter the cells. In this phase it is already too late to cure the disease because since the pancreas does not produce enough insulin the patient begins to look more like type I diabetes. There is a propensity towards malignant external otitis, diabetic retinopathy, renal insufficiency, and ulcerations and gangrene of the feet.
To cure the disease it is necessary to attack the problem from all sides while the pancreas still produces insulin. It is a bit like chemotherapy for cancer, which requires sacrifice and determination, because changing the dietary habits of a lifetime is not easy. A half-hearted treatment will accomplish nothing more than postponing the inevitable, while strict adherence to the regimen in the early stages of the disease can reverse it. There are three fundamental steps:
1- It is necessary to decrease the total consumption of starches and sugars in order to reduce the need for insulin to levels that the pancreas can provide. That is to say that we are going to give the pancreas a vacation. Look at the table, the foods on the green list are very low in carbohydrates. These are the foods that one can consume in unlimited quantity without raising the level of glucose in the blood. Note that meals on the red list have more than 50 times the amount of carbohydrate for each 100g serving compared to foods on the green part of the list. Even the consumption of very small quantities of foods that appear on the red portion of the list completely sabotages the diet and guarantees failure.
It is important to understand that one does NOT ask the patient to eat less, but only to avoid wheat, juice and bananas. Remember that junk food is high in starches, mainly wheat. If anything, you want your patient to eat more food, so that he does not feel hungry, but principally the foods on the green list.
2 - Daily physical activity should be increased consistently to increase the basal metabolic rate. For example, walk every day for an hour. Note that extreme sporadic exercise only burns an insignificant amount of calories. It is more important that exercise is daily or several times a day to lower glucose (and insulin levels). One has to increase the proportion of muscle mass compared to adipose tissue in order to achieve a higher basal metabolic rate and thus burn more calories. This can only be achieved when physical activity is engaged in consistently.
3- For most people it is necessary to reduce at least 10 to 15% of body weight in order to put diabetes into remission. Note that generally when one completely excludes juices and sweetened drinks, banana and wheat in all its forms (flour, cookies, bread, noodles, etc.) the weight loss is immediate. For most people you do not have to ask patients to eat less food ... simply insist that they eat vegetables, fish, turkey and eggs but NO sweetened beverages or bread and other flour products.
When one consumes less than 20 grams of carbohydrates in a meal, the catabolism of fatty acids, known as ketosis begins. In the beginning, beans and fruits (except lemon juice) are omitted so that it is easier to achieve this goal of less than 20 grams of carbohydrate. Once, the weight loss has been achieved, modest amounts of beans can be eaten as well as fruits that are not bananas. Eating more than 20 grams of carbohydrate at one time is more than enough to stop the catabolism of fatty acids and eliminate the weight loss that is necessary for a long-lasting cure. As it is about burning fat, remember that the process of metabolizing fat produces ketosis, and in the first few days a person may feel a bit of nausea and should drink enough water for the acetone to come out in the urine. Weight loss is essential so that the disease does not return, but it must be easy if the diet is rigorously followed.
4- It is necessary to have objective evidence of progress. For example, the diabetic or pre-diabetic should weigh themselves regularly, if possible every day, to see how they are progressing in terms of the goal of weight loss to achieve a body mass index of 25. Post- prandial glucose should be measured with fingerstick glucometry 90 minutes after meals so that the patient can verify which are the foods that most raise the glucose level.
Generally post-prandial glucose peaks should be routinely measured 90 minutes after meals with a glucometer. The goal is to verify that the glucose after eating food is below 140 mg/dL. If there is no consumption of wheat and flour, juices and sweetened drinks or bananas, it is likely that the glucose level will be acceptable.. Medications for diabetes are more appropriate for people who refuse to make dietary modifications. Even tiny amounts of bread will derail dietary efforts completely due to the Amylopectin A content in wheat. When it comes to wheat one should not instruct people to eat "just a little bit". If you add the carbohydrates of the foods in the table you will notice that a piece of bread or a cookie has more carbohydrates than a whole day of chicken, fish, eggs and turkey. By drastically reducing starch intake, glucose and triglyceride levels will drop, in addition to weight.
Why not just take insulin instead instead of changing diet?
For persons who still produce adequate quantities of insulin, adding additional exogenous insulin carries significant health risks. Excess insulin increases obesity, increases cancer risk and worsens hypertension through increased sodium reabsorption in the kidney. The use of endogenous insulin should be confined to individuals with hyperglycemia who have type 1 diabetes, who are significantly underweight, or who have medical emergencies.
When does the diet not work?
It is important to understand that no diet can be effective if one is taking steroid medications, since glucocorticoid medications (prednisone, prednisolone, dexamethasone, betamethasone etc) increase levels of serum glucose. Hydrochlorthiazide diuretics may also raise serum glucose slightly.
It is also important to understand that during the process of lypolysis one of the byproducts is LDL cholesterol. A marked elevation of LDL cholesterol from one's own fat is transient and always occurs during periods of fasting or weight loss. When the weight stabilizes, the LDL cholesterol level stabilizes at normal levels.