I’m coming up on m 4th year of adhering to the Paleo lifestyle alone to control my Type 2 Diabetes and I hope the data I’ll show in this post will prove to those struggling with this disease that it is possible to achieve a ‘cure’ without medicine that has deleterious side effects or complicated insulin injections/formulations.
For those not familiar, an A1c is basically the gold standard of blood glucose measurements because it can go back as much as 3 months in the past to give an average blood glucose measurement.
“The A1C test is based on the attachment of glucose to hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen. In the body, red blood cells are constantly forming and dying, but typically they live for about 3 months. Thus, the A1C test reflects the average of a person’s blood glucose levels over the past 3 months. The A1C test result is reported as a percentage. The higher the percentage, the higher a person’s blood glucose levels have been. A normal A1C level is below 5.7 percent”
A person with Type 2 Diabetes can ‘fool’ themselves into thinking their blood glucose levels are good if they only take measurements with a home meter in the morning (fasting) but ignore the high glucose levels during the day after they eat foods that spike their glucose levels. You can’t ‘fool’ an A1c so that is why it is considered a true test of how a person is managing their Type 2 Diabetes over a long period.
Keep in mind that a normal A1c reading for someone without Diabetes is below 6% and you can see my A1c test results in the graph below (which includes the latest A1c I had last week during my annual physical).
After I was diagnosed I went the route of Metformin and while I achieved an A1c results of 5.6% (the first data point after the initial diagnosis), the side effects of those meds (which involved not being more than 2 minutes away from a bathroom at any time) caused me to switch to the Paleo lifestyle exclusively and I ditched the meds (red line indicates where I stopped taking the meds and switched to the Paleo Lifestyle).
Notice that when I was diagnosed in March 2013 I had an A1c of 11.5% so the results that I show above aren’t from a marginal person who was close to having Type 2 Diabetes. My Type 2 Diabetes was about as bad as it can be but yet my A1c test results over the past 3 years rival that of someone who is not afflicted with this horrible disease.
It should also be pointed out that the American Diabetes Association recommends that folks who have been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes maintain an A1c less than 7%. This is madness since an A1c of 7% corresponds to a blood glucose level of 154 mg/Dl and that level of blood glucose is WAY too high!
It continues to frustrate me that the accepted medical guidance of the day is to force meds and insulin into people and tell them that they can still eat all the pizza, pasta, bread, beans and whole grains they can get their hands on. Literally the medical community is encouraging folks to take the path of a slow painful death that includes blindness, decapitated limbs and heart failure.
If you are a Type 2 Diabetic, don’t accept this ADA solution from your doctor. There is a better alternative and it doesn’t involve spending money on doctor visits or medicine!
Love your graphs and data. Always proof of the diet’s health benefits!
I started ketosis back in 2013 as well.
I’ve had some trouble with sleep issues-getting back to sleep when I awaken at 3 AM. And of course that always leads to HUNGER!
Have you ever had that problem?
How is the diet going for you and your husband Tannngl? I don’t wake up after I go to sleep except in the very rarest of circumstances so I can’t relate to that. That is weird that you wake up in the middle of the night hungry. I have wondered what my blood sugar is in the middle of the night but i like my sleep too much to set an alarm to find out!
Hubby has eased off of keto. He eats white buns and potatoes on occasion and his FBS’s are too high,110,112. He also uses liquid sucralose a lot and this stimulates insulin not high blood sugars. And high insulin leads to weight gain.
I have maintained ketosis using my Ketonix to measure exhaled acetate which directly links to my blood beta-hydroxybutyrate. I have stayed in heavy ketosis probably 80% of the time. When I’m not in the red zone, heavy ketosis, I’m in the orange zone which is almost as good.
It’s been hard at restaurants but some now have ‘naked’ food! I’ve learned to love salad without dressing. Those veggies are so good! My tastes have changed.
So my blood sugars remain between 70-90, fasting or post pradial. Weight remains at 132-135. I’m 5 ft 8. Doing weight lifting and fasting 36 to 40 hours once or twice a week.
It’s been great and I feel good for an old woman. 😊
In my previous post I meant that when I don’t sleep during the night my hunger hormones really don’t work right and I’m hungry all day. But if I sleep well I’m able to easily fast and eat reasonable meals during the succeeding day.
I really need to find the problem with my sleep.
It is fantastic that you have documented so clearly that diabetes, even severe recently diagnosed diabetes, can be reversed with lifestyle and exercise alone.
Critics might say it’s an N1 experiment that doesn’t apply but I have had very similar experience by achieving low body fat levels and exercising.
Approximately 80% of type 2 diabetics see their blood sugars return to normal levels following barriatric surgery, even before much excess weight is lost.
The reason for this is the imposed fast following surgery. Absolutely any very low calorie diet/fast will have the same effect even if it’s 500 calories a day of white rice, sugar and fruit.
With a very low calorie diet, excess fat that impedes normal pancreas and liver function is lost preferentially.
Keep the excess fat out of the liver and pancreas, blood levels return to normal. It’s just that simple and just that hard.
There are 20 million people in the US with type 2 and 80 million at least, with pre-diabetes. Virtually all of them, are overweight. The few exceptions are,”skinny fat,” where they may be normal weight but have low muscle mass and a relative high body fat percentage with visceral body fat. This is especially true of Asians who are more susceptible to type 2 at lower BMIs.
It hasn’t been since the H-pylori bacteria was discovered as the cause of ulcers, that the medical community has been so willfully blind to the “cure” for a medical condition.
However, the cure for ulcers was accepted relatively quickly once it was proven antibiotics could cure the condition in a matter of weeks.
The cure for diabetes has taken longer because it’s not as easy as taking pills for a couple of weeks and most people fail loosing the amount of weight necessary to permanently reverse diabetes. If they regain weight, diabetes returns, as is the case with many barriatric patients who regain weight after initial loss following surgery.
Call be cynical but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that many of the same doctors who were doing hundreds of thousands of completely useless ulcer stomach surgeries transitioned to doing hundreds of thousands of barriatric surgeries to “cure” obesity and type 2 diabetes.
The cure for obesity is simple. Stop eating processed foods 95% of the time, exercise and intermittent fast. A 5/2 schedule where you eat normally for five days and fast (500 to 600) calories for 2 days works extremely well at loosing weight and keeping it off long term.
There is also strong inferential evidence from animal studies that restricting calories 2 days a week will will extend longevity.
Here is a BBC documentary on it. The whole program is good but the last 10 minutes is the money.
Also this is interesting regarding protein intake and low carb diets.
Thanks Blaine, and as I’ve said before, you were a big part of my turnaround as you introduced me to the New Castle study (700 cal/day) that kick started my body back to health. Keep spreading the word as I know you do, you are continuing to help people.
As someone who likes to look at the evolutionary aspect of our diet/exercise, it stands to reason that our ancestors went several days per week without food. They didn’t have a grocery store around the block and plentiful meals (especially protein) were hard to come by. species without metabolisms that could handle the days without food eventually died off and didn’t reproduce. homo sapiens survived and thrived because they are wired to handle it.
I’ve shared my story with numerous Type 2 Diabetics and everyone who seriously adopted the Paleo lifestyle showed the same dramatic results. Not everyone stayed with it and then lapsed back into meds but I don’t buy this N=1 argument either.
Paleo and other nutrition solutions to auto immune diseases is starting to be a big business for a reason and I feel we’re starting to get traction in the medical community too. Who knows, when I retire I may start up a consulting service!
I think Dr. Fung has it exactly right in the video above. We have evolved in just the last 100 years or so from a focus on eating food for survival to eating food for pleasure and hyper-palatability.
Most people have no idea what a prolonged fast feels like as they mistake sugar withdrawals for hunger and they are not even close to being the same thing.
A fast is relatively easy compared to sugar withdrawls.
The average American consumes about 2,000 pounds of food a year with a whopping 635lbs of dairy products or 32% by weight. The figure for vegetables is 415lbs for vegetables but potatoes and corn are by far the top two “vegitables.” Both were completely unknown to the world 500 years ago except to the inhabitants of North and South America where they originated.
The corn and potato hybrids we have in stores today would be unrecognizable to what farmers grew 150 years ago.
The concept of Paleo, basically eating whole unprocessed, natural foods and ditching wheat, dairy and sugar, is gaurenteed to show health benefits.
My only complaints with the commercialization of Palio is the overemphasis on animal protein and processed natural sugars.
Look at a Palio cookbook and all the recipes have honey, molasses and coconut oil in amounts that would be inaccessible to 99.9% of all humans on the planet 500 years ago.
I’ve evolved to all natural unprocessed food. 5 times more vegitables than I used to eat with corn and potatoes at the bottom, not top of the list.
And I eat about one-third of the animal protein I used to and about 75% less than a lot of Paleo followers.
Mostly green and colored vegetables, berries, fruit, eggs, fish, chicken and red meat in that order but I’m not a fanatic about it.
There are rare and appropriate meals where I will eat whatever I want. It’s just I no longer want to gorge on processed foods like I once did.
Have you ever had a fasting insulin level test done? The results can help fill in the potential gaps to maximizing tighter control. If you have had them taken, can you share the results? My informal studies have shown that most Type 2 Diabetics have not reached a definitive baseline in terms of their fasting insulin level. Getting this level down below 5, or at least trending downward seems to be a good biomarker to assess the effectiveness and continued efficacy of drug, supplement, and/or dietary strategies.
No, I’ve never had one of these done but just googled it and it sounds worthwhile. I’ll have to call my primary care physician and see if he can do one. thanks!
A friend of mine just got a very thorough blood workup and he had an A1c if 5.2, which under nearly every circumstance medical practitioners in the U.S. would say is “fine” However, he also got his fasting insulin done — at my insistence — and it was 12, which much higher than the already high average if 8.8 for the average US male: the reading should be about 3 – 5. This clearly showed that his body had developed a significant level of insulin resistance, but hadn’t led to any other “obvious” biomarkers. Probably one of the biggest mistakes is not catching this phenomenon in time. An overabundance of insulin causes all sorts of systemic, sub-clinical havoc that we have not devised test for but sets the stage for accelerated aging and chronic illness in later life. It doesn’t help that the reference range for fasting insulin is 2 – 25 for most labs in the US!
In general, everyone should try to shoot for:
A1c: 4.4 – 5.2
FBG: 72 – 85
FIN: 2 – 5
Any number in those ranges, taken together, are truly normal — close to optimal on either side of the range — even for the ketogenic or low carb folks. Of course, these numbers are not in isolation: HDL, Triglycerides, Cholesterol, blood panels, etc. also need to be in line, but the accepted norms for the lab reference ranges are fairly good, with the exception of TSH. TSH should be 2 or lower, if possible.
From my informal research, which i am adding to all the time, getting fasting insulin to a normal or lowest natural baseline possible is critical in type 2 patients for long term success. Giving insulin or insulin promoting drugs as long term therapy, under the most common circumstances upon initial diagnoses, seems incorrect.
I have no formal education in this area and lack the ability to judge all the hundreds of conflicting papers I’ve read on the subject.
From my perspective, there is way too much emphasis on bio panel results and not the process of getting there.
Again, this is only my experience but I have found if you don’t eat processed foods, sugar or grains, can jog at a slow 10mph pace for 30 continuous minutes, lift weights to muscle failure 2 or 3 times a week and maintain body fat percentage at 10% to 14%, you won’t have to ever look at another blood panel again.
At least that’s my N1 experience of weighing over 260lbs, loosing 100 pounds and adopting the lifestyle mentioned above.
Just eat clean and train to pass the Marine or Army physical fitness test for someone half your age and everything else will take care of itself.
The only caveat is to avoid over training and the injuries and stress hormones that go with it.
It is possible to over do exercise. There has to be sufficient time for recovery and there is a fine line in avoiding injuries.