Not necessarily. If you can lose weight, change your diet, increase your activity level, or change your medications you may be able to reduce or stop insulin therapy. Under certain circumstances, you may only need insulin temporarily – such as during pregnancy, acute illness, after surgery or when treated with drugs that increase their body’s resistance to the action of insulin (such as prednisone or steroids). Often the insulin therapy can be stopped after the event or stress is over.
Heart-healthy fish. Eat heart-healthy fish at least twice a week. Fish can be a good alternative to high-fat meats. For example, cod, tuna and halibut have less total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol than do meat and poultry. Fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines and bluefish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which promote heart health by lowering blood fats called triglycerides.
While some people attempt to manage their type 2 diabetes with diet and exercise alone, this may not work for everyone. In fact, though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 16 percent of people with diabetes don't take medication, the majority of people with diabetes require insulin or oral meds at some point, often at diagnosis.
I encourage my clients with Type 2 Diabetes to do the following: stop dieting and labeling foods “good” or “bad” and, instead, think of them as having high or low health benefits. The diet mentality only promotes rebound eating. The goal is to develop an internal, rather than an external, locus of control. I also encourage them to learn how to become “normal” or intuitive eaters by connecting to appetite cues for hunger, fullness and satisfaction, and eating with awareness, which often means without distractions.
Losing weight can lower your blood sugar levels. Losing just 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can make a difference, although a sustained weight loss of 7 percent or more of your initial weight seems to be ideal. That means someone who weighs 180 pounds (82 kilograms) would need to lose a little less than 13 pounds (5.9 kilograms) to make an impact on blood sugar levels.
One serving in a category is called a "choice." A food choice has about the same amount of carbohydrates, protein, fat and calories — and the same effect on your blood glucose — as a serving of every other food in that same category. So, for example, you could choose to eat half of a large ear of corn or 1/3 cup of cooked pasta for one starch choice.
Activity – so important to keep busy – mentally as well as physically. Find an activity that you really WANT to do. I like to garden and now that I am tracking my activity, I find it gives me an excuse to go out and putter. Since I enjoy it and accomplish something good, it satisfies me. I have discovered that with some practice I can read while walking on the treadmill. If the book engrosses my mind, I will walk much longer than if I am just watching the timer.
Mexican researchers were finally able to isolate the unique way that it works: The plant is an inhibitor of alpha-glucosidase, an enzyme that releases sugar from foods, particularly carbohydrates. We all know that carbohydrates, especially simple carbs like sugar and foods made with white flour, are the bugaboo of people with Type 2 diabetes, so this news alone is a huge boon for people with the disease.
Why do red meat and processed red meat appear to boost diabetes risk? It may be that the high iron content of red meat diminishes insulin’s effectiveness or damages the cells that produce insulin; the high levels of sodium and nitrites (preservatives) in processed red meats may also be to blame. Red and processed meats are a hallmark of the unhealthful “Western” dietary pattern, which seems to trigger diabetes in people who are already at genetic risk. (44)
Thiazolidinediones. Like metformin, these medications — including rosiglitazone (Avandia) and pioglitazone (Actos) — make the body's tissues more sensitive to insulin. These drugs have been linked to weight gain and other more-serious side effects, such as an increased risk of heart failure and anemia. Because of these risks, these medications generally aren't first-choice treatments.
A healthy diet for prediabetes does not necessarily need to be low in carbohydrates. According to U.S. News and World Report rankings, the two types of diet for prediabetes and high cholesterol in 2018 are moderate diet patterns. A Mediterranean diet pattern is ranked first, followed closely by the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or DASH, diet.
You also might hear about alternative treatments for diabetes, such as herbal remedies and vitamin or mineral supplements. These practices can be risky, especially when people stop following the treatment plan their doctor has given them. So get the facts by talking to your diabetes health care team. They keep track of the latest research developments, and will introduce new products as they become available.
The majority of our dialysis patients lose kidney function completely – in other words they no longer urinate. So imagine what happens when they eat salty foods (not salt) – they get thirsty and drink – Then the dialysis treatment must try (only try) to remove the fluid they accumulate. It is true that high blood sugar also causes thirst – which I must keep in mind. I have many patients who rely on their PCP for advice with their insulin. They take the same amount of insulin regardless of their blood sugar – and the A1C remains elevated – I can’t change how they administer the insulin – but only recommend asking for a referral to an endocrinologist.
Cut back on added sugar. Read nutrition facts and ingredient lists to help with this. If sugar is one of the first 3 ingredients- the product may have too much sugar. Use fresh or frozen (without added sugar) fruit to flavor or sweetened things instead of buying things already flavored with less healthy sugars or flavorings. For example: instead of buying strawberry yogurt. Buy plain yogurt and add fresh berries. You will not only be cutting back on added sugars, but you will be adding fiber and volume which can help fill you up and control your blood sugar.
Eat healthy foods. Plan meals that limit (not eliminate) foods that contain carbohydrates, which raise your blood sugar. Carbohydrates include starches, fruits, milk, yogurt, starchy vegetables (corn, peas, potatoes) and sweets. “Substitute more non-starchy vegetables into your meals to stay satisfied for fewer carbohydrates and calories,” Compston says.
Treat yourself as you would a good friend who is struggling with a lifestyle change. You would be supportive and encouraging – a slip is not the end of it all. Sometimes it’s OK to indulge in a treat, but don’t feel guilty – enjoy it to the fullest – then get back on track. It’s OK to sit and read a book one day – just try to not make it the normal thing to do. I realized this morning when I had breakfast with a friend who is struggling with weight loss and I saw that the biggest difference was our attitude. She was moaning about how hard it was to lose and what she couldn’t eat and how much she had to work out, instead of looking at the fact that she has lost 20 pounds! That said, it’s not always easy to be positive, but all I really need to do is look back 4 months and I know I am making a difference.”
John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.
They would often say to me, “Doctor. You’ve always said that weight loss is the key to reversing diabetes. Yet you prescribed me a drug that made me gain 25 pounds. How is that good?” I never had a good answer, because none existed. It was not good. The key was weight loss, whereupon the diabetes often goes away or at least gets significantly better. So, logically, insulin does not help reverse the disease, but actually worsens it.
Charlene Crawford has spent more than half of her life with diabetes. At 14, she was diagnosed with prediabetes. By 18, she had type 2. She was prescribed medication, which she barely took, and advised to make lifestyle changes, which she didn't do. But when she got pregnant, her priorities shifted. "Having a child makes you see things differently," says Crawford, a mother of two. "I wanted to be there for him and not be so tired and be active when he needed me."