Are you at risk for different types of diabetes?
According to the Center for Disease Control, it isn’t looking good.
The average American has a 1-in-3 chance of developing prediabetes symptoms at some point in their life. (1)
To make matters worse, an estimated 1-in-10 Americans already have some form of one of the types of diabetes. (1)
Unfortunately, these numbers aren’t showing any signs of slowing down.
The main types of diabetes are:
- Type 1 diabetes (autoimmune)
- Type 2 diabetes (diet-induced)
- Gestational diabetes (pregnancy-related)
Diabetes can also be caused by complications from medications, surgery, and various illnesses.
Roughly 90-95 percent of all diabetes cases are type 2. (2)
Fortunately, type 2 diabetes is preventable and reversible with diet and exercise.
But the stakes are high.
Diabetes is a dangerous disease that can lead to amputations, blindness, and death.
Keep reading to learn more about the different types of diabetes and how to treat them naturally.
What Is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a group of illnesses where the body struggles to regulate blood sugar levels.
In healthy individuals, the pancreas produces a hormone called insulin to help the body store sugar and fats.
However, people with diabetes don’t produce and/or use insulin properly.
Ultimately, this can cause high blood sugar and a long list of side effects.
The Diabetes Health Crisis
The United States is in the middle of a full-blown diabetes epidemic of epic proportions.
Unfortunately, this isn’t an exaggeration.
According to the American Diabetes Association, 30.3 million Americans have some form of diabetes. (3)
That’s almost 10 percent of the population!
Another 86 million people are prediabetic. These folks have high blood sugar, it just isn’t high enough to be considered diabetes. (3)
Statistically, people with prediabetes have a 30 percent chance of developing type 2 diabetes within a few years. (3)
Shockingly, an estimated 8 million Americans already have diabetes and don’t even know it. (3)
Although diabetes is most common in adults, it still affects roughly 132,000 Americans under the age of 18. (4)
As if that wasn’t bad enough, diabetes is a huge financial burden.
In 2017 alone, diabetes cost $238 billion in direct medical costs, not to mention another $90 billion in lost productivity. (3)
However, this doesn’t even take into account treatment for coexisting conditions.
For example, patients with diabetes have significantly higher rates of heart disease and stroke.
The scariest fact, however, is that diabetes kills.
When it’s all said and done, diabetes is the seventh-leading cause of death in the United States. (5)
What Causes Diabetes
Diabetes is caused by one of the two following situations:
- Your cells become resistant to insulin.
- The pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin.
In order to understand diabetes a little bit better, it helps to know more about how the body processes food.
Here’s how metabolism is supposed to work if you don’t have diabetes:
- When you eat or drink, carbs and complex sugars are broken down into simple sugar molecules called glucose.
- Next, the body transports glucose through the blood to deliver energy for daily activities.
- Then, the pancreas releases insulin.
- Finally, insulin arrives and allows glucose to enter the cell.
- When the glucose enters the cell, blood sugar levels drop.
However, in people with diabetes, glucose remains stuck in the blood and causes high blood sugar.
Who Is Most Likely to Develop Diabetes?
Unfortunately, some people are more likely than others to develop diabetes.
With type 1 diabetes, family history and genetics are the biggest contributing factors.
Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, is strongly influenced by diet, exercise, weight, stress, and sleep.
So if you’re obese, stressed, and eat a lot of sugar, you’re much more likely to develop diabetes.
However, the good news is that you can prevent type 2 diabetes by making healthier choices.
For example, a 3-year clinical trial found that diet and exercise can decrease diabetes by 58 percent. (6)
Impressively, the effects lasted a full 10 years after the study ended.
Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes
Regardless of whether you have type 1, type 2, or gestational diabetes, the symptoms are generally the same.
Common signs and symptoms of diabetes include:
- Mood swings
- Poor vision
- Changes in appetite
- Dry mouth
- Sexual dysfunction
- Slow-healing wounds
- Frequent infections
- Bruising easily
- Dry skin
- Unexplained weight changes
- Swelling, pain or tingling in the hands and feet
However, if you’re getting dangerously close to full-blown diabetes, the symptoms may be slightly different.
Signs of prediabetes can include:
- Frequent urination
- Constant thirst
- Chronic fatigue
- Blurred vision
Some people develop a skin condition called acanthosis nigricans, where the skin darkens and thickens.
At the same time, you can experience sudden drops in blood sugar a few hours after a meal.
This may leave you feeling jittery, sweaty, confused, dizzy, and fatigued.
Types of Diabetes
The main types of diabetes are type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.
Only a very small percentage are caused by other factors like surgery and medications.
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the immune system destroys the cells in the pancreas that make insulin.
Ultimately, this means that glucose can’t enter the cells.
The result is high blood sugar, inflammation, and severe diabetes symptoms.
Genetics is the biggest risk factor with type 1 diabetes.
The onset can be triggered by a virus, heavy metals, or food sensitivities to wheat and soy.
For example, cow’s milk can trigger type 1 diabetes, and researchers think that the milk protein casein may be to blame. (7)
Although it can appear at any age, type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children.
For this reason, it has earned the nickname “juvenile” diabetes.
Type 1 diabetics have to inject insulin every day to avoid life-threatening drops in blood sugar.
Unlike type 2 diabetes, type 1 diabetes is rarely reversed.
However, making the right dietary changes can reduce symptoms.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes, and it occurs when insulin receptors in the cells stop responding to insulin.
Typically, this is due to a high-sugar diet.
Gradually, the cells that interact with glucose burn out.
In most cases, type 2 diabetes starts mild and slowly gets worse over time.
Unfortunately, many people live for years with full-blown diabetes before getting diagnosed.
By the time doctors make a diagnosis, long-term damage may already have occurred.
Type 2 diabetes is both preventable and reversible.
Ultimately, it comes down to making the right diet and lifestyle choices.
Later on in this article, we’ll cover how to reverse type 2 diabetes naturally.
Type 2 diabetes can develop at any age due to poor diet and exercise, although it’s more common in older individuals.
Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include obesity, physical inactivity, high blood pressure, and genetics.
You’re also more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you have a history of gestational diabetes.
Gestational diabetes occurs in pregnant women and typically goes away after the baby is born.
However, if high blood sugar continues after pregnancy, it can develop into type 2 diabetes.
Just like with type 2 diabetes, symptoms of gestational diabetes can be mild and often go unnoticed.
In fact, many women with gestational diabetes have no obvious symptoms. (8)
The only way to know for sure is to take a blood sugar test.
Other Types of Diabetes
Here are some other less common types of diabetes:
- Latent Autoimmune Diabetes of Adulthood (LADA): A form of type 1 diabetes that develops in the elderly.
- Brittle Diabetes: A particularly challenging variation of type 1 diabetes with extreme swings in blood sugar levels.
- Double Diabetes: This occurs when someone with type 1 diabetes develops insulin resistance.
- Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young (MODY): A variation of type 2 diabetes that occurs children (strong genetic risk factor).
- Neonatal Diabetes Mellitus (NDM): A variation of type 2 diabetes that occurs in infants 6 to 12 months (strong genetic risk factor).
- Steroid-Induced Diabetes: The use of corticosteroids can lead to insulin resistance when taken over long periods.
- Secondary Diabetes: When diabetes is caused by complications from diseases like cystic fibrosis, pancreatitis, and Cushing’s syndrome.
Officially, type 1 and type 2 diabetes are the only ones assigned a number.
“Type 3 diabetes” is just a casual way of referring to the other types listed above.
On a similar note, “diabetes insipidus” is unrelated to diabetes mellitus, and is caused by a reaction to the medication vasopressin. (9)
How to Reverse Diabetes Naturally
Just to be clear, there’s no “cure” for diabetes.
Type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes can always develop or return under the right conditions.
Type 2 diabetes, however, can predictably be prevented and reversed.
Here’s how to reverse diabetes naturally:
1. Remove the Following Foods from Your Diet
Watch what you eat!
It could be the difference between developing diabetes and having a vibrant, healthy life.
In general, you should always avoid foods that cause inflammation and boost blood sugar.
Here are the top foods to avoid:
Sugar spikes blood glucose and puts a lot of stress on insulin receptors in the body.
Refined sugar, like candy, cereal, and pastries are the worst.
However, cane sugar can be found in other foods too.
For example, condiments like ketchup, barbeque sauce, mustard, and spaghetti sauce are loaded with sugar.
According to a 2016 study, these foods can trigger extreme jumps in blood glucose and increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. (10)
Raw honey and green stevia are the best alternative sweeteners because they have a low glycemic index.
In other words, they shouldn’t spike your blood sugar.
Simple carbs from gluten-containing grains can spike your blood sugar and promote inflammation.
In fact, it only takes a few short minutes to break down carbs into glucose.
Gluten is linked to high rates of diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, anxiety, and depression.
Why does gluten trigger so many different conditions?
Because it causes intestinal inflammation and weakens the gut lining.
From there, inflammation can enter the bloodstream and travel throughout the body.
This can ultimately lead to hormone imbalances and decreased insulin sensitivity.
Even non-gluten carbs, however, shouldn’t be eaten in large amounts.
Avoid canola oil, soybean oil, safflower oil, and cottonseed oil.
These oils are pro-inflammatory and are linked to several diseases, including diabetes.
All dairy products can cause inflammation.
This is because the milk protein casein can trigger the immune system just like gluten.
Heavy alcohol consumption (more than three drinks per day) can increase the risk of diabetes by 43 percent. (11)
However, even small amounts of alcohol can spike blood sugar.
Beer and cider, for example, are naturally high in carbs and sugar.
Although spirits like vodka and whiskey are low in sugar, cocktails and other mixed drinks are loaded with sugar.
Besides, alcohol is inflammatory.
2. Eat More Diabetes-Friendly Food
You’ll also want to stock up on high-fiber, anti-inflammatory foods.
First and foremost, focus on foods that have a low glycemic index.
These foods are converted into glucose more slowly and shouldn’t spike your blood sugar.
Low-glycemic foods include:
- Wild-caught fish
- Grass-fed meat
- Non-starchy vegetables like spinach and broccoli
High-fiber foods that are low on the glycemic index include:
- Brussel sprouts
These foods are also great for gut health because they are fuel for healthy gut bacteria. (12)
Coconut, wild-caught salmon and grass-fed beef are excellent sources of healthy saturated fats.
Plus, the medium-chain triglycerides found in coconut oil can balance blood sugar. (13)
The body uses chromium to metabolize carbs and fats.
To top it all off, it also regulates insulin and improves glucose tolerance. (14)
Foods that are in chromium include broccoli, green beans, and grass-fed beef.
Magnesium is an electrolyte that helps process glucose.
Research shows that people who don’t get enough magnesium have higher rates of diabetes. (15)
If you want to reverse diabetes, you’ll need to eat more magnesium-rich foods, like almonds, spinach, broccoli, and chard.
3. Try Fasting
Fasting, or going for extended periods without eating, may help reverse diabetes.
Not eating gives insulin receptors a much-needed break from processing glucose and allows blood sugar to normalize.
The best part is that you can experience many of the benefits of just skipping breakfast.
For example, a 2015 human study found that waiting to eat until noon each day can lead to long-term improvements in type 2 diabetes. (16)
4. Plan Your Meals
Even if you’re eating the right foods, you can still spike your blood sugar by eating too much at one time.
That’s why it’s important to plan your meals carefully.
Plus, certain foods can put you at risk for crashes in blood sugar an hour or two after your meal.
The key to reversing diabetes is to get the nutrients you need while keeping your blood sugar stable.
One of the ways to do this is by carb counting.
This is when you carefully measure the number of carbs you eat with each meal.
Although the specific amounts can vary depending on your metabolism, you should never eat more than 60 grams of carbs per meal.
For snacks, on the other hand, try to keep it between 15-30 grams.
If counting carbs sounds too time-consuming, another method is to focus on having a good mix of fibrous veggies, clean protein, and healthy fats on your plate.
The fiber should help slow food absorption and prevent jumps in blood glucose.
When you look at your plate, it should be at least half-filled with fibrous, non-starchy veggies.
The rest should be fatty meat like grass-fed beef and wild-caught salmon.
However, it’s always best to count carbs closely when you’re first starting out.
Later on, after you get a feel for how you respond to certain foods, you can take a more casual approach.
Research shows that exercise is an important part of blood glucose control.
According to a 2010 study published in the journal Diabetes Care, regular exercise can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. (17)
At the same time, it can improve cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
Plus, it’s now well-established that regular physical activity can reduce the risk of heart attack and death.
Long-Term Diabetes Complications
Here’s a full list of the long-term side effects of diabetes:
- Skin infections
- Numbness and tingling
- Limb amputation
- Slow healing
- Weight gain
- Heart disease
- Nerve damage
- Sleep apnea
- Risky pregnancy
- Digestive issues
- Dental disease
- Kidney disease
Diabetes can be debilitating.
Complications typically start with nerve damage and can lead to the loss of limbs in a matter of years.
If left untreated, side effects can snowball into heart disease, kidney failure, and even blindness.
If you have any more questions about treating the different types of diabetes, feel free to contact us at Complete Care Health Centers.
We’re happy to help you reverse diabetes naturally with diet and exercise.