Is type 2 diabetes
a reversible disease? We are told that this is a chronic
and progressive disorder. That means that once you develop
type 2 diabetes, you’re going to have it for life
and there’s nothing you can do about it. You’re going to be on medications,
you’re going to be on insulin and then you’re going to develop
the complications. Blindness, nerve damage,
amputations, heart attack, strokes, kidney damage, dialysis… The whole works… it’s inevitable. But is it really? Imagine a world where type 2 diabetes
is a simple reversible disorder where a simple dietary maneuver can reverse
your diabetes in a matter of weeks. The American Diabetes Association
of course disagrees. They say right on their website
that it’s a fact that for most people type 2 diabetes
is a progressive disease. So you might as well forget about it. Don’t even try to get better,
it’s hopeless. They’re telling you there’s no hope. But we can look
at certain examples and we can see that this
is actually not true at all. Let me give you some of these examples –
bariatric surgery. Bariatric surgery is also called
weight loss surgery or stomach stapling. What they do is they take your stomach
and they cut it to the size of a walnut, so you really just can’t eat. Because you’re not eating,
you’re going to lose a lot of weight. But what happens
to the diabetes? Well let’s look at this study here. In this study they randomized
two groups of people. One group of people stayed
on their medications and got the best medical therapy
available. The other group got
weight loss surgery. On the horizontal axis
is time over 12 months. On the vertical axis is the number
of medications that these people were taking. You can see that the number
of medications that people took while doing the best medical therapy
available, really didn’t change. They kept taking the same number
of medications, they’re really no better
than they were when they started. Than they were at the end. But look at the weight loss
surgery group. Very quickly within a matter of months they’re coming off all their medications
and it keeps going. By 12 months many of these people
are off of all their medications and their blood sugars
are completely normal. That’s amazing! Wasn’t this a chronic
and progressive disorder? Wasn’t this a disorder
where there’s no treatment and there’s nothing you can do,
it’ll get worse? Well not really,
not according to this study. It looks like diabetes
is a disease that’s reversible. But better than that,
it’s quickly reversible. And even other types of weight loss surgery,
such as gastric banding, have the same benefits. Gastric banding is a procedure
where they put a belt inside your stomach and tighten it so you can’t eat. And again what you see here is that the diabetes very quickly reverses
and it stays gone. So this is not a chronic and progressive
disorder, this is a reversible disorder. I’m not saying that gastric banding or weight
loss surgery is the answer for everybody, but it simply points to the fact
that the situation is different and this is a reversible disease. Let’s look at another example. We can look at fasting. Fasting is a dietary maneuver where you don’t eat anything
for a certain period of time. I had this patient here, Richard,
who came to me for treatment of his diabetes. He had been diabetic for 10 years,
he was taking about 70 units of insulin and he was developing complications. He was getting eye disease,
he was getting kidney disease. So we changed his diet,
we put him on a low carbohydrate diet and we gave him some simple tips and we included some intermittent fasting
in his regimen. Over a period of months
he lost about 50 pounds. And his diabetes got incredibly better. We took him off all of his insulin,
we took him off all of his medications and his blood sugars are normal. Even two years out now
he is still on no medications and his blood sugars
are doing amazing. So in fact this is
a reversible disease. Fasting seems to lead
to a reversal of his diabetes. And this is not a new finding. In fact, if we go back almost 100 years, Dr. Elliott Joslin, perhaps the most famous
diabetes specialists in history, wrote this in the Canadian
medical journal… “That temporary periods of under-nutrition
are helpful in the treatment of diabetes “will probably be acknowledged by all after these two years
of experience with fasting.” So what happened was that
he had been using fasting for two years and he thought it was
so amazingly great that it’s going to be obvious,
everybody is going to know this. There were a few problems
of course. At the time he didn’t differentiate
between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Well, it’s very beneficial for type 2 diabetes,
it really doesn’t impact type 1 very much. And with the discovery
of insulin a few years later all focus shifted to insulin and everybody forgot
about these dietary therapies. Recently in the United Kingdom Dr. Taylor performed a study
called “The counterpoint study” and there he put people
on very low calorie diets. Well, it’s not fasting,
it’s very close. And look at these results. In this group the blood sugars
went from 9.6 to 5.9 in seven days. Seven days! His sugars have gone back to normal. What happens with this idea
that it’s chronic, it’s progressive, you’ll always be on medication? It’s simply not true. There’s another example we can give. We can look at the example
of very low carbohydrate
diets, or so-called ketogenic diets. Let me give you a case – I had a 27-year-old graduate student,
she was actually studying physiology and she was recently diagnosed
with type 2 diabetes. Her hemoglobin A1c was 10.4%. This is a three-month average
of her blood sugars. The diagnosis of diabetes happens at 6.5%,
so 10.4% is very high. Her doctors were very concerned
of course and started her on three medications
right away. Being only 27 she didn’t want to stay
on medications for the rest of her life. So she looked on the Internet and decided
that she would follow a ketogenic diet. Well, she very quickly lost
about 20 pounds and at her three-month checkup,
her hemoglobin A1c was 5.5%. Well within the normal range
and clearly not diabetic. Better she had taken herself off
of all the medications as soon as she started. So in this case it looked like
her type 2 diabetes was essentially cured. Wow! That’s not what we are told.
Right? But we all know this is true. We all know that the type 2 diabetes
is completely reversible. For example if somebody comes up to you
and says, “You know what? I lost 50 pounds
and my diabetes went away.” You’d say, “Wow, that’s great!
Terrific, good for you!” You wouldn’t say to them,
“No, you’re lying to me. “The American Diabetes Association
says it’s chronic and progressive. Get back on your medications!” No, of course not. So, it’s immediately obvious
that this is just a lie. Type 2 diabetes is not chronic
and it’s not progressive. It’s reversible. But what about all the cases
about people on medications? Do you ever hear people say, “I started my insulin
or I started my medications and now I’m so much better,
I took myself off”? No, not really. If you take medications,
you’re generally on it for life. Right? But what about the standard
low-fat diet? Nobody ever comes up to me and says, “You know, I went to my dietitian,
I started a low-fat diet and now I’m so much better,
I’m off all my medications.” I’ve seen thousands of patients
and that doesn’t happen. So in those cases the diabetes
is not cured. So actually there are treatments
that lead to a cure and there are treatments
that do not lead to a cure. So those that lead to a cure – bariatric surgery, fasting
and very low-carb diets And these treatments
do not lead to a cure – insulin, other drugs,
a low-fat diet. You’ll never guess of course
which direction all our current treatment protocols
and research are heading to. They’re all heading
towards the path of no cure. And that’s why, they tell you –
it’s a chronic and progressive disease. But it’s not. This is amazing news. This is amazing because type 2 diabetes is in fact
a curable and reversible disease. The fact that treatments exist,
means that there is hope for all of us. Drugs however cannot cure
a dietary disease. The cure must be a diet. The right diet.