Can Diabetes Be Reversed? Exploring the Possibilities

Can diabetes be reversed? Explore the possibilities of reversing diabetes through natural treatments, lifestyle changes, and effective management strategies.

Diabetes is often characterized by high blood sugars.1 This happens because something goes wrong with the insulin in our bodies. Insulin is a hormone that manages our blood sugar levels. Without proper insulin function, blood sugar levels can rise and cause health problems.

Dr. Duru, an expert from UCLA, says we can do something about diabetes. He suggests that changing our lifestyle habits can help prevent or even reverse it. This includes eating well and exercising regularly.

Key Takeaways

  • Type 2 diabetes accounts for about 95% of diabetes cases1
  • Excess weight and insulin resistance are major drivers of type 2 diabetes1
  • Lifestyle factors like unhealthy diet and lack of exercise contribute to type 2 diabetes1
  • Significant weight loss can put type 2 diabetes into remission
  • Ongoing research explores mechanisms for reversing diabetes through interventions like bariatric surgery

Understanding Diabetes

Diabetes is when your body has too much sugar in the blood. In type 1, the pancreas can’t make insulin, causing high blood sugar.1 Type 2 happens when the body fights the insulin it makes. This also leads to high blood sugar.1

What Is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a long-term problem with how your body handles sugar. Without enough insulin or if your body resists it, sugar builds up in your blood. This build-up causes the problems linked to diabetes.1

Types of Diabetes

There are many types of diabetes, among them type 2 is the most common. It affects about 95% of people with diabetes.1 When a woman gets high blood sugar during pregnancy, it’s called gestational diabetes.1 Prediabetes shows that someone is at risk of getting diabetes. It’s often because of bad diet and not enough exercise.1

Causes of Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is mainly due to a lack of insulin.1 Type 2 is often linked to genes and lifestyle choices. These include getting too heavy and not eating well.1 Some groups are more likely to get type 2. This is because they might not have easy access to healthy food.1

Diabetes can be more likely if you eat a lot of fried or fatty foods. Simple carbs and processed foods can also increase your risk.1 Signs of type 1 diabetes include losing weight, feeling tired all the time, and getting sick often.1 Eating better and moving more can keep diabetes away or at least slow it down.1

Can Diabetes Be Reversed?

Exploring the Possibilities of Reversing Diabetes

Dr. Duru says it’s possible to turn back diabetes, especially type 2, with the right changes.2 The best way is to lose a lot of weight. This is often done by changing what you eat and moving more.2 This can lead type 2 diabetes to go away. When it’s gone, your blood sugar is back to a normal level without needing medicine. But, keep in mind this isn’t a cure forever. If the things that brought on diabetes, like putting on weight, come back, so might diabetes.3 Scientists are still studying how losing weight and other methods can fix the body’s issues linked to diabetes.

Weight Loss and Diabetes Remission

Eating better and moving more to lose a lot of weight are key. They help in getting type 2 diabetes to stop.2 Too much weight, especially around the stomach, makes your body resist insulin. This causes type 2 diabetes.3 By shedding a lot of pounds, you might lower the amount of fat in your liver and pancreas. This can make it easier for your body to use insulin the right way, bringing your blood sugar under control.2 Studies show that losing just a little weight, between 5-10% of your total, can do wonders for your blood sugar. It might even mean diabetes goes away.

Type 2 Diabetes Remission

Type 2 diabetes remission means getting blood sugar levels back to normal without medications.3 This brings big benefits like more energy and lower chances of problems such as vision loss and kidney issues.3 Remission is not a cure forever, though. If the reasons for diabetes, like gaining weight, are not managed well, it can come back.3 It’s key to keep up the healthy changes that helped in the first place. This ensures the good effects last.

What Is Type 2 Diabetes Remission?

Type 2 diabetes remission happens when blood sugar drops to a healthy level without drugs.3 This usually comes with losing a lot of weight. It’s usually a mix of eating better and being more active.3

Benefits of Type 2 Diabetes Remission

Getting type 2 diabetes into remission is great for your health.3 It means you have more energy, a lower risk of going blind or having kidney trouble, and a happier life.2 But remember, remission isn’t the end of the story. If you stop the healthy habits that got you there, diabetes can come back.3

type 2 diabetes remission

Sticking to the healthy eating and workout routines is very important after achieving remission.3 Even though reaching this point is a big deal, you have to keep watching your health and making changes to your lifestyle. This is to avoid the diabetes from returning.

How to Achieve Diabetes Remission

Dr. Duru says a big part to get and stay in diabetes remission is losing a lot of weight for good. This often happens when people change their diet and start moving more.24 Studies back this up. They show that losing a lot of weight might help some folks beat type 2 diabetes.

Dietary Changes for Diabetes Remission

Change what you eat to help fight diabetes. Cut down on sugar, fried stuff, and things high in fat or processed. Eat more veggies, fruits, lean meats, and foods with lots of fiber.2 Losing weight is crucial in turning around type 2 diabetes.

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Exercise and Lifestyle Modifications

Being active regularly is also key. Try walking fast, swimming, or lifting weights. This helps make your body respond better to insulin and can help you lose weight.4 Keep in mind, changing how you eat and moving more are vital for managing diabetes type 2. They’re critical for not just beating the disease but also keeping it away.

The DiRECT study learned that many people saw their type 2 diabetes go away by losing a lot of weight and keeping it off for 12 to 24 months.4 Other research agrees. Losing weight, specifically around 10 kg, is often the key to stopping type 2 diabetes.

It’s important for patients to know that losing weight can lower their need for diabetes drugs. It can also drop their blood sugar levels and cut down on diabetes-related problems. There’s even a chance it could help put their diabetes in remission.4

The Role of Weight Loss in Diabetes Remission

Big weight drop is key to turning around type 2 diabetes. Mostly, this happens by changing what you eat and moving more. If you lose a lot of weight, fat in your liver and pancreas goes down. This makes your insulin and blood sugar work better.5

Even losing a bit of weight, like 5-10% of your full weight, can help a lot. It makes your blood sugar and diabetes get a lot better.5 If you lost more than 10% of your weight in the first year after knowing about your diabetes, you were more likely to stop having it.5 Losing 5-9.9% also helped a lot. But if you actually gained weight, your chances weren’t as good.5

For someone who had diabetes and then got better, the risk of it coming back was lower if they lost more than 10% of their weight.5 Even a smaller weight loss, between 5-9.99%, helped lessen the risk too. If you lost less than that, the risk was a bit higher.5

For people who are really overweight and have diabetes, bariatric surgery is an option. In many cases, it leads to diabetes going away.6 Research shows that this surgery works better than just taking a lot of medicine. Plus, the good effects last a long time.6

To sum up, losing a lot of weight, whether by changing your life or with surgery, is super important in fixing type 2 diabetes. This shows how crucial losing weight is for keeping diabetes at bay.56

Managing Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance is when our body’s cells don’t react well to insulin. This issue leads to type 2 diabetes. When cells resist insulin, they don’t absorb glucose properly. This causes high blood sugar levels. To fight this, losing weight, working out, and changing your diet helps. Avoid eating too many refined carbs and pick high-fiber, nutritious foods instead. Also, some medicines, like metformin, can make you more sensitive to insulin if you have type 2 diabetes.7

Understanding Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance is a health problem where cells don’t listen well to insulin. Insulin normally keeps our blood sugar in check. But when cells ignore it, blood sugar levels rise, risking type 2 diabetes. Being overweight, living a lazy life, and eating lots of refined carbs make this problem worse.7

Strategies to Improve Insulin Sensitivity

Want to improve how your body reacts to insulin? Here are tips that work:

  1. Weight Loss: Dropping as little as 5-7% of your total weight boosts how sensitive you are to insulin. This cuts down your type 2 diabetes risk by a lot.8
  2. Regular Exercise: Moving more, whether through walking, swimming, or lifting weights, improves how your body handles insulin and glucose.7
  3. Dietary Changes: Eat less refined carbs and more fiber-rich, nutritious foods. This will help your body use insulin better.7
  4. Medication: In some cases of type 2 diabetes, drugs, like metformin, can enhance insulin sensitivity. This leads to better blood sugar control.8

Following these strategies helps you take charge against insulin resistance. It lowers your odds of getting type 2 diabetes and other health issues.7

Natural Diabetes Treatment Options

Some people try natural ways, along with medicines, to deal with [natural diabetes treatment]. They use things like herbs and supplements. These include cinnamon, berberine, and chromium, which some say help control blood sugar.9

Herbal Remedies and Supplements

Things like acupuncture, yoga, and meditation might help too. They’ve been looked at for managing [alternative diabetes therapies] and feeling better overall. But, it’s not clear if these methods really work.9

It’s important for patients to talk with their doctor before trying these options instead of regular treatment.9

Alternative Therapies

A diet low in carbs and fasting is being used to try to help with type 2 diabetes. The book “The Obesity Code” discusses this. It’s about eating few carbs, more fats, and fasting to help with [herbal remedies for diabetes] and its control.9

Another book, “The Diabetes Code,” looks at preventing or undoing type 2 diabetes. It talks about eating less sugar and carbs, more natural fats, and fasting. This way of eating and fasting can help reverse type 2 diabetes.9

Some people with type 2 diabetes say they’ve had good results with these ideas. These books lay out what to eat and when, with recipes that are easy to make. However, this method might not work for everyone. It’s best to get advice from your doctor first.9

Bariatric Surgery and Diabetes Remission

Bariatric surgery helps those with severe obesity and type 2 diabetes. It can lead to the halt of diabetes in some cases. This surgery, including gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy, helps people lose weight. It does this by reducing the food their body can absorb. This weight loss lowers the body’s resistance to insulin, which is a key step in managing blood sugar levels. While this surgery does help many people, its effects can differ over time.

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How Bariatric Surgery Affects Diabetes

After bariatric surgery, the body may work better at managing type 2 diabetes. This surgery mainly aims to change how your body uses energy. For example, in gastric bypass, the stomach is made smaller. In the gastric sleeve procedure, part of the stomach is removed. Making the stomach smaller or altering it affects how hungry you feel. This, in turn, can lead to eating less and losing weight. Losing weight helps the body use insulin better, improving blood sugar levels.

Risks and Considerations

Bariatric surgery is not risk-free, but it does help many with severe obesity and diabetes. There are dangers such as lacking certain nutrients, dumping syndrome, and surgery risks. It is crucial to pick patients carefully and provide thorough care after surgery. Doing so reduces the danger and improves the surgery’s success.

Global estimates of the prevalence of diabetes for 20104-14%10
Cardiovascular effects of intensive lifestyle intervention in type 2 diabetes145-15410
Pharmacotherapy of childhood obesity30-40210
Bariatric surgery for type 2 diabetes impact on obese patients77-46810
Ileal interposition with sleeve gastrectomy for control of type 2 diabetes11-78910
Effect of endoscopic duodenal-jejunal bypass liner on obesity and type 2 diabetes260-99210
Gastrointestinal surgery for severe obesity1156-196110
Operation proves most effective therapy for adult-onset diabetes mellitus222-33910
Lifestyle, diabetes, and cardiovascular risk factors 10 years post bariatric surgery351-269310
Obesity-related cardiovascular risk factors after weight loss163-73510

Can Diabetes Be Reversed? Exploring the Possibilities

Research shows diabetes cannot be permanently “cured.” Yet, it can be put into remission, especially type 2 diabetes. This is often done through weight loss, which is achieved by changing what you eat and moving more.111

For those with severe obesity and type 2 diabetes, bariatric surgery is a proven option. Many see their diabetes go into remission after such surgery. Yet, it’s essential to stick with healthy habits or the results of surgery. This is because diabetes can come back if weight is not managed well.1211

Diabetes Prevention Strategies

Dr. Duru suggests several steps to avoid diabetes. They mainly involve life choices.13 For example, you should eat healthier by cutting down on sugar and fried food. Instead, eat more veggies, fruits, and proteins. Also, active living is key. Try to walk fast, swim, or lift weights.13

Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle

Adults should try to get at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise a day. Aim for 150 minutes a week. This helps lose weight and keeps you healthy.13 Also, don’t sit for too long without moving. Break it up often. This stops blood sugar spikes and risk of diabetes.13

Eating foods high in fiber is good. They help with weight loss and make your blood sugar stay even.13 Plus, consuming healthy fats keeps your heart strong. Think olive oil, nuts, seeds, and fish.13

Genetic Factors and Diabetes Risk

Genes can play a part in diabetes risk, but you can still fight it. “Genes are not your destiny,” says Dr. Duru. Making good life choices matters a lot.13 The American Diabetes Association says it’s smart for adults over 45 to check for diabetes. Younger people who are overweight and have diabetes risks should check, too.13

Diabetes Remission Research and Studies

Scientists are figuring out if diabetes can go away for good, especially type 2 diabetes.12 The Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial (DiRECT) is a big study exploring this. It looked at using a low-calorie diet to stop type 2 diabetes.14 The study found that many people could get rid of their diabetes by losing a lot of weight.14

The DiRECT Study

After two years, around one-third of those in the DiRECT study didn’t have diabetes anymore.14 And, at the second year mark, three out of four people who had their diabetes go away still didn’t have it.14 For those who didn’t gain back the weight after five years, their diabetes stayed away.14

Ongoing Research Efforts

Work is still happening to find other ways diabetes can stop, like using bariatric surgery and different medicines.12 Also, they’re looking at how changing the gut bacteria might help.12 These studies are teaching us more about how diabetes can be turned back and how to best help people.12

Managing Diabetes Long-Term

For those in diabetes remission, long-term care is key.15 Diabetes is a lasting health issue that mostly impacts grown-ups. Now, more kids are getting it too.15 Checking blood sugar is vital, either by yourself or through tests. It keeps the condition in check and catches any problems early.15 Also, avoiding diabetes issues like losing eyesight, kidney problems, or heart issues is a big deal.

Monitoring Blood Sugar Levels

Keeping blood sugar levels right is crucial, even for those not in remission.15 The right medicine, like metformin or insulin, can manage blood sugar.15 But, what you eat and how much you move are just as important. This can sometimes even bring the diabetes into remission.15 Checking your sugar often, with guidance from doctors, helps keep everything in line.

Preventing Diabetes Complications

15 Being overweight or obese ups the diabetes risk.15 Dropping some weight helps control blood sugar and reduce medicine needs.15 The CDC says aiming for 150 minutes of weekly exercise can manage diabetes.15 For some, cutting down on carbs to 130 grams daily works well. Eating right and staying active are key. They help avoid vision loss, kidney issues, and heart trouble linked to diabetes.

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15 Diabetes can’t always be fully cured, but cutting calories or surgery might help in certain cases.15 Some stories say people can be in remission for up to 15 years.15 Diabetes keeps changing, so ongoing care is a must. This might mean changing how you’re treated over time. Working closely with your healthcare team, keeping a close eye on your health, and living a healthy life are vital for the long run.


While diabetes isn’t something we can cure forever, there’s hope. Research shows that type 2 diabetes can go into remission. This happens by losing a significant amount of weight. You can do this by changing what you eat and moving more.12

Bariatric surgery is also an option for those with severe obesity and type 2 diabetes. It often leads to diabetes remission. Yet, it’s important to keep up the healthy habits that got you there. This is because diabetes can come back if you gain weight again.12

Science is still looking into how to really beat diabetes. Knowing that, there’s light at the end of the tunnel for people with this condition. A big analysis of many studies including millions of people after 1980 shared a lot of useful info.16

Other studies have focused on how lifestyle changes, like those in the Diabetes Prevention Program, can help with type 2 diabetes. They found these changes can be really effective.16

Even if we can’t call it a cure, there’s a lot we can do to fight diabetes. This research gives hope to those wanting to get better control of their health.1216


Can diabetes be reversed?

Research shows that type 2 diabetes can be put into remission. This is possible through significant weight loss and lifestyle changes. It’s important to keep up these healthy habits to prevent diabetes from coming back.

What is diabetes and what are the different types?

Diabetes means having high blood sugar. There are three main types: type 1, type 2, and gestational. Type 1 comes from not making enough insulin. Type 2 happens when your body doesn’t respond well to insulin. Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy.

What causes diabetes?

Many things can cause diabetes. These include your genes, what you eat, how active you are, gaining too much weight, and facing insulin resistance.

How can diabetes be reversed?

The top way to reverse type 2 diabetes is by losing a lot of weight. Changing what you eat and exercising more can help. In some cases, surgery may also be an option to help you lose weight and put your diabetes into remission.

What is type 2 diabetes remission?

Type 2 diabetes remission means your blood sugar goes back to normal without using diabetes drugs. It’s a great health boost. But, it’s not a cure. If you go back to bad habits like gaining weight, the diabetes can come back.

How can diabetes remission be achieved?

To get into diabetes remission, you need to lose a lot of weight in a healthy way. This often means changing your diet and being more active. It’s important to keep these good habits going to prevent diabetes from returning.

What is the role of weight loss in diabetes remission?

Losing extra weight, especially around your stomach, helps a lot. It reduces insulin resistance, the main issue in type 2 diabetes. This can help your body use insulin better and control your blood sugar.

How can insulin resistance be managed?

To manage insulin resistance, lose weight if you need to and workout regularly. Change your diet to have less processed foods and more foods with fiber. Sometimes, medicines like metformin can also help make your body more sensitive to insulin.

What are some natural or alternative treatments for diabetes?

Some people try natural or alternative ways to help manage diabetes. This might include using herbs, supplements, acupuncture, yoga, or meditation. Always talk to your doctor before trying these, though. They work best as additions to your regular diabetes treatment plan.

How can bariatric surgery affect diabetes?

Bariatric surgery can be a game-changer for people with severe obesity and diabetes. It often leads to diabetes remission by helping you lose a lot of weight. This, in turn, reduces insulin resistance and helps your body better control your blood sugar.

How can diabetes be prevented?

Staying healthy every day can help keep diabetes away. Eat well and stay active. These simple lifestyle changes are key, whether or not diabetes runs in your family.

What research is being done on diabetes remission?

Many studies are looking into how to put type 2 diabetes into remission. One big trial, the DiRECT study, looked at using a low-calorie diet for this. Scientists are working hard to find the best ways to reverse diabetes.

How should diabetes be managed long-term?

If you’re in diabetes remission, keeping it that way takes effort. Always check your blood sugar and keep up with healthy living. Working with your doctor closely is a top tip to staying well and avoiding diabetes problems in the future.

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