Reverse Type 2 Diabetes: High Blood Sugar Symptoms and NutritionLuke Coutinho
India is the diabetic capital of the world. Did you know that 1 in 6 people with diabetes globally is from India? As you read this, 74.2 million people are battling diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a lifestyle condition that is affecting teenagers, middle-aged people, the elderly, and children too.
Did you know Type 2 diabetes is preventable. Why? Because it is a lifestyle disorder. It is caused by poor lifestyle and dietary habits. What does this mean? If you start making the right lifestyle changes over and above your medication, you can make it better. We have had hundreds of patients who have successfully managed or reversed their Type 2 diabetes and have been weaned off medications by their doctors by leveraging the power of lifestyle.
Today, I am listing down some of the top lifestyle changes that our nutritionists, clinical dietitians, doctors, and lifestyle experts have documented over the last couple of years to make this possible when it comes to Type 2 diabetes cases.
High blood sugar or hyperglycemia is a characteristic feature of type 2 diabetes and affects how the body processes glucose (sugar). In type 2 diabetes, the body either becomes resistant to the effects of insulin (a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar) or doesn’t produce enough insulin to maintain normal blood sugar levels. As a result, glucose builds up in the bloodstream, leading to hyperglycemia.
High Blood Sugar Symptoms
What are some high blood sugar symptoms? High blood sugar is commonly associated with diabetes, but it can also be caused by other factors. These high blood sugar symptoms can vary in severity and may not always be present. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or have concerns about your blood sugar levels, consult your healthcare professional for proper evaluation and diagnosis.
Here are some common high blood sugar symptoms:
- Excessive thirst
- Frequent urination
- Fatigue, lethargy, or lacking energy even with adequate rest
- Dry mouth
- Blurred or fuzzy vision
- Slow healing of wounds
- Recurrent infections like urinary tract infections, yeast infections, or skin infections
- Unexplained weight loss
- Increased appetite
- Numbness, tingling, feeling pins and needles in the hands or feet
Is Type 2 Diabetes Reversible?
Yes, there are cases where type 2 diabetes can be reversed. If not reversible, it can certainly be managed better.
There are four verticals that you need to look at closely when it comes to managing or reversing your diabetes type 2. Read this carefully and check what suits you. Make an informed decision.
#1 Nutrition for Diabetes Type 2
Here are some nutrition tips to manage your diabetes type 2.
Low carb, high protein, and good fats
When it comes to nutrition for diabetes type 2, going low carb can help, but only when done correctly. You may wonder how some go low-carb and don’t get the desired results or lose weight. And even if they do, they put it back on after some time. How do their type 2 diabetes sugar levels not change? When you go low-carb, you also need to make sure that you balance it out with quality proteins and fats.
Many people mistake going low-carb and high protein without focusing on healthy fats. Understand that there are good and bad fats. Your body needs good fats because these are precursors to your hormones, including insulin which is crucial to maintaining your blood sugar levels. Stop demonizing fats for making us fat, sick, and causing issues like high cholesterol and triglycerides. The wrong kind of fat found in junk/processed foods and refined oils and too much of it is the culprit. Add good fats like quality nuts, seeds, and cold-pressed/wood-pressed oils instead to improve your diabetes type 2. People who go on an oil-free or low-fat diet make a huge mistake by not understanding that the good fats from nuts, seeds, and pure oils are great for their heart, diabetic health, hormones, hair, skin, and even weight loss. Crucial vitamins like A, D, E, and K, are also absorbed in the presence of fats. Having said that, portion control is advised even for good fats. Anything in excess, even if it’s good fat, is going to be harmful. A simple lifestyle change involving a meal pattern that’s low carb, high protein, and high fat, but within your calorie limit will help improve your type 2 diabetes blood sugar levels.
When it comes to going low carb, also understand that there are good and bad carbs. Just because you are diabetic doesn’t mean you need to stop having rice. Work with food synergies. Have rice, but mixed with lentils, for instance, khichdi or dal chawal. When you combine the right foods, it changes the way they behave in your body. If you have a mountain of white rice and just a little vegetable and dal on the side, it will spike up your sugar levels. Use the right food synergies. So for the right nutrition for diabetes type 2, do it the right way.
Fruits – to eat or not to eat?
This is one of the most asked questions when it comes to nutrition for diabetes. Many diabetics stop eating fruits completely. Understand that there are good fruits and high-sugar fruits. After you have fruit, also have a couple of almonds or walnuts with them. The fiber and the protein in these nuts will synergize with the simple sugars in your carbohydrates and not let your blood sugar levels rise too high. So, if you have a big meal, add more fiber. Fiber doesn’t allow your blood sugar levels to spike quickly. People who use smart food combinations the right way are in better health. They don’t need to hop onto a fad and restrictive diet, because they’re eating smartly. Each meal is well-planned. So yes, want to go low carbs? Add more protein and good fat to balance it out.
Fruit platters are a big NO
Stop overdoing fruits. This is one of the biggest mistakes you can make in nutrition for diabetes. A big problem that I see in India is people started having huge platters of fruit. Have one fruit at a time. Space your fruits out. You can have one in the morning, another mid-morning, and maybe one in the evening (before sunset). A Type 2 diabetic can safely have 1-2 fruits spread across the day, but having them together or snacking on a huge fruit platter is what’s going to bother sugar levels. It is important to space out your fruit intake because you don’t want too much fructose going into your system at once. Follow your fruits up with unsalted nuts and seeds. When you overdo fruits, you become vulnerable to fructose malabsorption in your gut. This can lead to gut issues and spiked sugar levels.
Most people get portion control wrong in nutrition for diabetes type 2. If you eat exactly how much your body needs, you will produce the digestive enzymes to break down food and produce the right amount of insulin. But when you overeat or eat frequently, you make your pancreas produce more and more insulin, tiring it out. This can cause insulin insensitivity problems in the long run.
Master the art of chewing
If you are a fast-eater, chances are that you will eat more than what your body requires. In cases of overeating, the body naturally produces an excess of everything – be it insulin, digestive enzymes, or stomach acids. Slow down, and chew every bite mindfully. We have done these experiments in the past with our diabetic clients. If you chew well, you aid digestion because your saliva contains amylase and lipase that help to break down carbohydrates and fats in your mouth itself. Thus, there is a direct correlation between how well you chew and your blood sugar levels behave. Keep chewing your food until it attains a liquid-like consistency in your mouth, and then swallow it. Check your post-meal blood sugar levels. You will find a difference because you are not just depending on your system for digestion, but the digestion that starts in your mouth. When you send undigested food that you have eaten quickly and not chewed well into your system, you put pressure on your digestive system to produce more acids to break it down. By slowing down, you will not only eat less but also have better control over your blood sugar levels.
Add fiber, but do not overdo it
DO NOT overdo fiber because it can be good and bad. Having too much fiber can irritate your gut lining. Have a balanced meal. No nutritionist or doctor in the world can tell you the right amount of fiber. Only you can find out by eating it and ensuring you don’t feel bloated or gassy.
When you have sufficient fiber, it can delay the way blood glucose enters your bloodstream. Fiber-rich foods include fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, lentils, legumes, and so on.
Functional foods you can add
Now we will speak about some functional foods and herbs when it comes to nutrition that can help improve pancreatic health and the production and sensitivity of insulin to your cells.
- Jamun vinegar: Similar to apple cider vinegar, but made with Jamun (black plum), it is excellent to keep the blood sugar level in check. Add a teaspoon of this to a glass of water and drink it 15 minutes before meals.
- Fenugreek: Eating overnight soaked fenugreek seeds and drinking its water can help direct drops in your blood sugar levels when consumed in the morning on an empty stomach. There is a warning that if you consume them excessively, you can go into a hypo where your sugar levels dip dangerously low. Moderation is key. You can also have a teaspoon of soaked fenugreek seeds immediately after meals. It works with insulin secretion by stimulating the pancreas to produce more insulin and keeping your blood sugar levels down. Find more benefits here.
- Sri Lankan cinnamon: We mention Sri Lankan Cinnamon specifically because it is safe to consume. You have Cassia/Indian cinnamon, excess consumption of which can be toxic to the liver. Sri Lankan Rolled Cinnamon/Ceylon cinnamon has a direct impact on your blood sugar levels. Add it to your food preparations or your yogurt (if you eat dairy), or your cup of green tea. A cup of good quality green tea with a dash of cinnamon is good at maintaining your sugar levels.
- Green unroasted coffee bean extract: Studies suggest that extract from these can help lower blood glucose levels and aid weight loss.
- Flax seeds: Loaded with fiber and low glycemic food, add these to your salads, soups, desserts, or breakfast. You can opt to grind it to make a powder, mix it with water and drink it to maintain sugar levels. Flax seeds are also rich in antioxidants (lignan) linked with improving insulin sensitivity.
- Amla: Known as Indian gooseberry, amla is powerful for Type 2 diabetics. It is rich in chromium which stabilizes blood sugar levels and improves insulin sensitivity. Know 20+ benefits of amla here.
- Karela juice: Low in calories, low-carb, and rich in Vitamins A and C and fiber, it is effective in controlling blood sugar. Consult your doctor before adding it, so that you don’t go into hypo with a combination of karela juice and your diabetes medication.
- Turmeric: Curcumin, the active compound found in turmeric has a positive impact on controlling blood sugar levels and is highly anti-inflammatory. Studies suggest that curcumin can improve insulin resistance, hyperglycemia, and hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol and triglycerides.)
- Garlic: Yes, it can help regulate your sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity. It is also said to be effective in reducing LDL (bad cholesterol) and increasing HDL (good cholesterol).
- Curry leaves: Also known as kadipatta, it is loaded with enzymes that help you control your sugar levels. Make it into chutney, add it to your juice, or food preparations or simply chew on them.
- Aloe vera: Grow your own Aloe Vera at home. When you consume the right strain of aloe vera on an empty stomach in the morning, it can help control your blood sugar levels. It is highly anti-inflammatory too.
- Cloves: Add these to your tea infusions or your food preparations. Just biting into a clove soaked for one to two hours in water can also help reduce blood sugar levels.
- Oregano leaves: Dry or fresh. You can even opt for its powder. Use it to garnish your food, and add it to your teas or salads.
- Nuts, seeds, raw/cooked vegetables, lentils, legumes, whole grains, and millet are good to control your sugar levels.
Understand that these are not magical foods. Beyond nutrition, a focus on the other pillars of your health and making relevant lifestyle changes is equally important.
Circadian intermittent fasting for Type 2 diabetes
If you have diabetes type 2, you need to try it out. Many of our clients who have managed their type 2 diabetes with lifestyle changes and intermittent fasting mindfully control their sugar levels and fasting windows. Find a balance and do it scientifically under supervision. I cannot tell you how powerful fasting is for your blood sugar levels. Fasting allows your digestive system to shut down and redirects your energy to healing and detoxification. The most important point for diabetics is to remember that the earlier your dinner, the healthier you will be. When you do this, your blood sugar levels will behave better when you wake up the following morning.
We are designed to wake up with stable blood sugar levels, but most people have irregular blood sugar levels because they have a late night or heavy meals or keep very small gaps between dinner and bedtime.
Try the circadian rhythm intermittent fasting, where you have your last meal by sunset and then break your fast 12 hours later the following morning. If you are still not hungry and your blood sugar levels are stable, you can extend this by a couple of hours. But if you are hungry and your blood sugar levels are wavering, listen to the cues of your body and break the fast. It is not about achieving a magic number. Do it the right and safe way.
#2 Adequate exercise/movement for Type 2 diabetes
If you have type 2 diabetes and your sugar levels keep fluctuating and don’t seem to come down even after increasing medications month-on-month, you may want to first check your activity levels. A sedentary lifestyle is one of the top causes of type 2 diabetes. Your body was not designed to sit for long hours. Sitting is the new smoking.
You need adequate blood circulation for the oxygen, blood, and nutrients from the blood you eat to nourish each of your trillion cells. When you move, you increase your blood circulation. Make an effort to be more active. Even if you are investing one hour of workout but sedentary rest of the day, it’s not going to help. The idea is to remain active throughout the day- beyond that one-hour workout. You need to get up from your chair, move around, walk up to the door whenever the bell rings or get your remote control.
I know so many diabetics who do not even walk for twenty minutes a day. The most simple change you can make is to walk 30 to 45 minutes a day. 10-15 minutes or even 30 minutes after every meal for 6 out of 7 days. We have observed this work beautifully for our clients. Scientifically too, the first 30 minutes after a meal is when your sugar levels start rising. So when you add some activity to it, for. e.g. a light walk can help you bring it down. Take your calls while walking.
Swimming, weight training, or engaging in cardio can also help. If you can fit in a workout good for you. Yoga and Pranayama are also super powerful. Certain asanas are designed to control blood sugar levels and boost circulation (Surya namaskars, Dhanurasana, Paschimottanasana, Bhujangasana, Mandukasana, Ardha Matsyendrasana, and so on.)
#3 Quality deep sleep for type 2 diabetes
Medical science shows the correlation between one night of sleep deprivation on your blood sugar levels. You can eat the best low GI foods in the world, but if you are not sleeping well at night, you will have irregular blood sugar levels. Chronic sleep deprivation leads to insulin resistance and makes your diabetes type 2 worse. Sleep is magical. Your hormones (including insulin) balance in a state of complete rest. Pay attention to the quality of your sleep. Look at adopting simple techniques that can help you sleep deep.
- Here are some resources that can help:
- Follow These Pre-bedtime Rituals For A Deep And Sound Sleep
- Stop Making These 8 Sleep Mistakes
- Top 3 Breathing Exercises For Deep Sleep
- How Can Late-night Workers Have An Improved Sleeping Schedule?
#4 Emotional wellness for type 2 diabetes
Emotional wellness is one of the most crucial verticals you need to pay attention to. Even doctors know the impact of stress on your sugar levels. When I was in Bangalore at a medical university, we were doing hospital rounds, and I asked: What is the number one reason for diabetes? Unlike sugar or junk food like you would expect, the doctor said chronic stress. When you are stressed, you produce cortisol. A little stress isn’t going to hurt you. It can work as good stress. But when you are chronically stressed, your cortisol levels are perpetually high. It impacts every other hormone in the human body, including insulin. Elevated levels of stress have a direct impact on diabetes. When your cortisol increases, your insulin decreases. Chronic stress = low insulin = high blood sugar.
It can be dangerous for your health. Deeply rooted emotional stress throws your hormones out of whack and elevates your blood sugar levels. When you activate your fight or flight response in the sympathetic nervous system, your blood sugar levels automatically rise. So if you have more stress in your life, you need to have more outlets to release it. Practice meditation, turn to prayer/spiritual path, get a hobby, surround yourself with good friends, spend time with your family and kids, and practice acceptance, letting go, and forgiveness.
- Resources to de-stress:
- Stressed? Try Some of These Asanas To Feel Better
- From Stress To De-stress In Just 2 Minutes
- Feeling Disconnected And Unhappy? Ground Yourself With Luke’s Guided Meditation
The connection between constipation, acidity, and sugar levels
We’ve also seen a huge link between chronically constipated people and highly acidic people and their blood sugar levels. If you have these, address and fix them. Constipation means that your body is holding on to toxins and bacteria that it needs to eliminate. The longer you keep this waste in your system, the bigger the toxin overload that lowers your immunity. You will have trapped gasses and also excess acidity. This is connected with every possible inflammatory disease on this
planet. If you are acidic or constipated start making lifestyle changes to deal with them.
Decoding the diabetes and sugar connection
Here’s what you need to understand about sugar and diabetes. Refined sugar is not nutrition. Sugar depletes critical electrolytes such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, and sodium from your body leading to cellular dehydration and chronic muscle spasms. When you have cellular dehydration, you decrease the energy of your cells and reduce their ability to respond to insulin as efficiently as they should. Another drawback of white sugar is that it depletes trace minerals like chromium, copper, and zinc, which work to sensitize your cells to insulin. Cut refined white sugar out. Switch to healthier alternatives (consume these in moderation).
How to Quit Your Sugar Addiction?
Lose that excess weight
Clinical trials have proven that changing your lifestyle and losing excess weight can help in managing or even reversing type 2 diabetes. How do we lose weight? Weight loss is not about punishing your body with exercise and going on a starvation diet that restricts you from food that contains vitamins and minerals that your body needs. Weight loss is hormonal. When your hormones are in balance, your cells open up and take in the excess glucose, store it, and burn it when you use that energy. You have to allow the human body to lose weight, you cannot force it. And weight loss or your inability to lose weight is just not related to diabetes but also thyroid and several other hormonal issues. This is another reason why young girls and women with PCOS and other hormonal imbalance issues struggle to lose weight. So, get onto a personalized plan that assesses your past and current lifestyle, addresses the root cause of your weight gain, and creates the right lifestyle plan for you to lose fat safely. Our You Care Wellness program helps you find a way. Know more about it here.
- Also, check out:
- The Fastest Way To Burn Body Fat
- Top Lifestyle Secrets To Build Lean Muscle (And Why)
The bottom line
I often come across people who think if their parents/grandparents have type 2 diabetes, they will likely get it too. Understand that very few cases are highly genetic. Many people do not have type 2 diabetes despite having a family history. Why? Because they have made the right nutrition and lifestyle changes. You are responsible for your health. You can break the pattern.
Even if you are currently struggling with it, don’t panic. Move from the victim mentality and look at managing or possibly reversing it. There is always hope to managing or reversing type 2 diabetes.
As you read this, there are many patients who are reversing their diabetes, slowly and steadily. If they can do it, you can give it a chance too. You lose nothing, by trying. Use all the pillars – nutrition, movement, sleep and emotional wellness and observe the changes yourself.
Need personalized guidance to manage your diabetes or prediabetes? Your nutrition and lifestyle matter.
At You Care Wellness, we help you find a way.
Speak to our wellness consultants on 18001020253 or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ALSO WATCH: Thousands Of Our Patients Reversed Type 2 Diabetes By Doing THIS
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