While there is no consensus yet on just what type of diet is best for people with type 2 diabetes to follow, there is overwhelming evidence that being active is one of the best things you can do to control your condition. The National Institutes of Health’s landmark Look AHEAD trials, which sought to establish whether intensive lifestyle modifications could affect diabetes outcomes, found that when participants lowered the amount of fat in their diet and increased their physical activity to 150 minutes a week, they reduced their chances of developing type 2 diabetes by 58 percent.
How much the blood sugar level goes up after eating depends on the type of nutrients the food has. The three main types of nutrients found in foods are carbohydrates (carbs), proteins, and fats, which provide energy in the form of calories. Foods containing carbs cause blood sugar levels to go up the most. Foods that are mostly protein and/or fat don't affect blood sugar levels nearly as much.
If you have type 2 diabetes and your body mass index (BMI) is greater than 35, you may be a candidate for weight-loss surgery (bariatric surgery). Blood sugar levels return to normal in 55 to 95 percent of people with diabetes, depending on the procedure performed. Surgeries that bypass a portion of the small intestine have more of an effect on blood sugar levels than do other weight-loss surgeries.
There are many promising studies suggesting chromium supplementation may be effective, but they are far from conclusive. For example, a small study published in the journal Diabetes Care compared the diabetes medication sulfonylurea taken with 1,000 mcg of chromium to sulfonylurea taken with a placebo. After 6 months, people who did not take chromium had a significant increase in body weight, body fat, and abdominal fat, whereas people taking the chromium had significant improvements in insulin sensitivity.
Diabetes pills are not a form of insulin. They help the body make more insulin or use insulin more effectively. This helps reduce the amount of glucose in the bloodstream between meals and at night, which helps keep blood sugar levels under control. Diabetes pills can also help with weight loss and help improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which tend to be abnormal in people with type 2 diabetes.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, there is still not enough good evidence to support the use of herbal supplements as effective type 2 diabetes treatments. While many of these supplements show promise, until results from additional studies come out, do not take herbal supplements to treat type 2 diabetes without first consulting with your doctor. Herbal supplements have side effects and can interfere with other medications.
Use any combination of the tricks below to accelerate your weight loss and return to good health. If you use all five wisely, you can get to your ideal weight in 6–12 months or less — even if that means losing 100 pounds or more. Yes, think about your weight 10, 20, 30 years ago. Another friend of mine started on this journey last year weighing 270 pounds. He’s in his mid-thirties and about to reach his college wrestling weight class of 197 pounds and just ran his fastest 2 miles ever. He got to this point by following the two rules above and just 3 of the 5 tricks below.