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Simple Ways to Reverse Diabetes: A Path to Better Health

No one with a headache is suffering from a deficiency of aspirin.  And the vast majority  of Type 2 diabetics do not have a deficiency of insulin.  Their entire blood glucose regulatory mechanisms are malfunctioning. What are the underlying causes of diabetes, and how simple ways to make changes in your lifestyle to reverse diabetes?  Understanding diabetes can help you improve your quality and quantity of life and prevent the common complications of diabetes, such as eye, kidney, nerve, and heart problems.  

Simple Ways to Reverse Diabetes with Lifestyle

The Pima Indians of the Southwestern United States can help us answer this question.  A physician who worked with the Pima Indians found 1 case of diabetes among the entire Pima tribe in the year 1908, which was around the time that these Native Americans began to embrace the “western” diet of highly refined carbohydrates and sugar.  When Dr. Elliott Joslin, founder of the Joslin Clinic, visited these Pima Indians in 1937, he identified  21 diabetics.  In 1954, Drs. Parks and Waskow recorded 283 diabetics on the same reservation.

By 1965, there were 500 Pima diabetics.  Today, nearly 60% of all Pima adults suffer from Type 2 diabetes.  However, a splinter group of genetically similar Pima Indians living in New Mexico who did not embrace the western lifestyle of sugar, salt, fat, alcohol, obesity and sedentary lifestyle have an extremely low incidence of diabetes.[1]  Most Pima Indians probably have a genetic vulnerability to diabetes that only surfaces when they eat the wrong foods and become obese through sedentary lifestyle.  Most diseases, actually, are a collision between a genetic vulnerability and environmental insult.

Sugar is without question the number one murderer in the history of humanity.

Sakurazawa, Japanese author of 50 books on natural healing, 1964

Impact of Refined Sugar on Diabetes: A Study of Yemenite Communities in Israel

Another example of the role played by lifestyle on diabetes involves the Yemenites from the Middle East who have lived in Israel for over 25 years and have a much higher incidence of diabetes than Yemenites who continued to consume the low sugar unrefined diet in their native land.  The diet of both groups of Yemenites has similar calories, and ratios of protein, carbohydrates, and fats.  The only difference in those Yemenites who have a much higher incidence of diabetes is the 20% of calories consumed from refined white sugar.[2]

The study of Yemenite communities in Israel offers a compelling example of how lifestyle factors, particularly the consumption of refined white sugar, can influence the prevalence of diabetes. The group adhering to a low-sugar, unrefined diet in their native land experiences a lower incidence of diabetes compared to those consuming refined sugar in Israel. This study underscores the importance of dietary choices in managing and preventing diabetes. As a chronic condition with significant health implications, diabetes calls for careful attention to lifestyle factors, including dietary habits, to promote better health and well-being.

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Focus on Your Ancestral Diet

Americans have also moved from various ancestral diets throughout the world that had almost no sugar to the “modern” diet of 20% of calories from sugar.  We have suffered the consequences in deviating from our lifestyle that kept our ancestors alive.   The incidence of diabetes has doubled over the past decade from 10 million to now 20 million Americans with diabetes, half of which don’t even know that they have the disease.  Diabetes is now one of the most rapidly growing diseases in America–primarily because of our poor diet and sedentary lifestyle. Most diseases, actually, are a collision between a genetic vulnerability and environmental insult.

Researchers now speculate that ancestral groups who have a “thrifty gene”, or have been exposed to frequent periods of famines, are more vulnerable to diabetes.  These people survived famines with the ability to conserve calories.  Yet when food is abundantly available, as it is in America today, and these people get obese, this thrifty gene turns poor diet and obesity into diabetes.

Simple Lifestyle Changes Can Fight Chronic Diabetes Effectively

You may ask: “What does this example have to do with me beating my diabetes?”  Let’s look at the case of Mrs. Jones whose diabetes is caused by obesity, sedentary lifestyle, not enough fiber and too much sugar and the wrong fats in her diet.

All of these lifestyle factors team together to bring about insulin resistance, or Syndrome X. Mrs. Jones then develops Type 2 diabetes, which gives her fatigue, which furthers her junk food diet and sedentary lifestyle, which makes her diabetes worse, and on it goes.  The hypoglycemic drugs that her doctors give her work briefly, then stop having any effect.


Simple Changes Can Reap Huge Benefits

The poor diet that Mrs. Jones is consuming is the “slamming the thumb in the desk drawer”.  Drs. A, B, and C are all working on a paradigm that they studied in medical school “if you can name it (the disease), then I can tame it (with drugs or surgery)”.  Medical approaches can be useful short term quick fixes to subdue symptoms, but do not address the crucial “slamming the thumb in the desk drawer”.

The National Institutes of Health sponsored a study, the Diabetes Prevention Program, which showed that little efforts can make a huge difference in diabetes risk.  As little as a 5-7% weight loss coupled with small changes in the diet and 30 minutes daily of exercise was able to cut the risk for developing diabetes by 50% in high risk individuals.

Addressing the Underlying Causes of Diabetes – A Path to Better Health

What if I slammed my thumb in my desk drawer every morning for a week.  The first time it happened, it really hurt.  The next day I do it again and my thumb is swollen and painful.  By the end of the week, my thumb is blue and red, bloody and swollen and very painful.

So I go to Doctor A, who tells me he is going to inject my thumb with anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce the swelling.  I get a second opinion from Doctor B who tells me that she wants to give me pain medication to better tolerate the discomfort.  I get a third opinion from Doctor C who wants to cut off the thumb because it looks defective.  The real cure here is to stop slamming my thumb in the desk drawer.

Diabetes: The Silent Threat – Simple Yet Deadly if Uncontrolled

At first glance, diabetes appears to be such a simple disease.  Too much sugar in the blood.  But that simple error creates an avalanche of problems in the body that create havoc with the health of diabetics, especially if they have poor regulation of their blood glucose.  Diabetes is such an insidious disease that it is the leading cause of blindness, kidney disease, amputations, and heart disease in the US.[3]

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And yet, if properly regulated, diabetes can become a minor limitation  in life, which is how baseball legends Jackie Robinson and Catfish Hunter viewed their diabetes.  Diabetes did not seriously curtail the accomplishments of diabetics Ray Kroc, multi-billionaire and founder of the McDonald’s empire; Hollywood celebrities Jack Benny, Mary Tyler Moore, and Ella Fitzgerald; U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes (who lived to age 94); and Ron Gillombardo, who at age 45 in 1992 in Barcelona became the oldest man in Olympic history to compete in powerlifting.  Mr. Gillombardo told the press that, were it not for his diabetes and need to follow a strict diet, he could not have accomplished such an athletic feat at such an age.

Diabetes can become a wretched disease for those who ignore it, or an opportunity to make your life into a masterpiece for those who control it.

Lifestyle changes that can be beneficial for managing diabetes:

Healthy Eating

Adopting a balanced and nutritious diet is crucial for diabetes management. Focus on whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Monitor carbohydrate intake and choose foods with a low glycemic index to help regulate blood sugar levels.

Regular Physical Activity

Engage in regular exercise, including aerobic activities like walking, swimming, or cycling, as well as strength training. Exercise helps improve insulin sensitivity and aids in managing blood sugar levels.

Weight Management

If overweight, aim to achieve and maintain a healthy weight through a combination of a balanced diet and regular physical activity. Weight loss can improve insulin sensitivity and glycemic control in individuals with type 2 diabetes.

Monitoring Blood Sugar

Regularly check blood sugar levels as advised by your healthcare provider to keep track of your diabetes management and make necessary adjustments to your treatment plan.

Medication Compliance

If prescribed medication for diabetes, adhere to the recommended dosage and timing as instructed by your healthcare provider.

Stress Management

Chronic stress can affect blood sugar levels. Practice stress-reducing techniques like meditation, yoga, or mindfulness to help manage stress and improve overall well-being.

Quit Smoking

If you are a smoker, seek support to quit smoking. Smoking can exacerbate diabetes complications and negatively impact overall health.

Limit Alcohol Intake

If you consume alcohol, do so in moderation. Excessive alcohol consumption can interfere with blood sugar control and may lead to other health issues.

Regular Healthcare Check-ups

Schedule regular check-ups with your healthcare provider to monitor your diabetes management, assess any potential complications, and make necessary adjustments to your treatment plan.


With a better understanding of this rampant disease, diabetes, and how to better control blood glucose levels using foods, supplements, and exercise, you will be on a path to improved quality and quantity of life and reverse complications. 

Some Type 2 diabetics (non-insulin dependent) may actually have their disease go into complete remission by following these recommendations. These suggestions can bring empowerment, therapeutic options, hope, wisdom, and a detailed game plan to you, the diabetic, to keep you out of harm’s reach and filled with the zest of life.

­­­­­­Choose nutritious and delicious foods to control blood glucose, take a few inexpensive nutrition supplements, understand the importance of 30 minutes a day of exercise, and the crucial need to reach your ideal body weight.

Following a proven program you can find a new level of vigor that you haven’t felt in years.  If you follow your doctor’s recommendations, then it will likely add years to your life and life to your years.


[1] . Bennett, PH, Nutr.Rev., vol.57, no.5, p.S51, 1999
[2] . Cohen, AM, et al., Lancet, vol.2, p.1399, 1961
[3] . Drum, D., et al., TYPE II DIABETES SOURCEBOOK, p.6, Lowell House, Los Angeles, 1998

Dr. Patrick Quillin

Dr. Patrick Quillin, PhD,RD,CNS is an internationally recognized expert in the area of nutrition and health. He has 30 years experience as a clinical nutritionist, of which 10 years were spent as the Vice President for a leading cancer hospital system where he worked with thousands of cancer patients in a hospital setting. He is a Best Selling Author with 18 books which have sold over 2,000,000 copies and also a Keynote Speaker.

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