Type 2 diabetes is a massive but still growing epidemic. More than 10% of the U.S. population — 34.2 million Americans — has diabetes, a share that has doubled within the last 20 years. An additional 34.5% of American adults has pre-diabetes.
Even more troubling, the rate of diabetes among children rose 95% within the same timeframe.
So why am I optimistic about the future?
Because type 2 diabetes is not only preventable — it’s also reversible. November is National Diabetes Month so it’s the perfect time to spread this news to a broader audience: Type 2 diabetes can be put into remission.
In the mid 1990s, I learned in medical school that type 2 diabetes was a chronic and progressive disease. Until recently, most physicians and health professionals believed that once you had type 2 diabetes, you had it forever. Just earlier this year, the American Diabetes Association (ADA), along with other international experts on diabetes, confirmed that type 2 diabetes is not a life sentence but rather, a disease that can be put into remission. In that consensus paper, they defined remission as sustaining normal blood glucose levels for three months or more after ceasing glucose-lowering medications.
This changes everything. Simply controlling the disease was not good enough; the goal should be full remission. And it’s completely possible. I have helped thousands of patients at my clinic for over a decade achieve remission. The focus was not on taking more medications, but changing their lifestyles — especially their diet.
Remember that type 2 diabetes is a dietary disease and giving drugs won’t reverse it. That can only be achieved by fixing the root cause — the diet. Our body can store food energy in the form of glucose and body fat. If the storage tanks are filled and we still keep eating, the glucose will spill over into the blood. When blood glucose rises, that’s type 2 diabetes. Think of a sugar bowl that you keep putting sugar into. At some point, it all overflows.
If the problem is simply too much glucose in the body, then the solution is rather…