Even though Cathy feels that she is only halfway to her target weight and health, she is so thrilled with her progress that she shared her interim photos and experience with the Wheat Belly lifestyle:
“I love seeing everyone’s success. I have a long way to go but wanted to share my own progress since starting the Wheat Belly lifestyle.
“I am 51 years old and have been a type 2 diabetic for 26 years. I have been on both long and short acting insulin for over two years now. I have always been overweight but, once going on insulin, I decided I needed to make changes. No matter how hard I followed the nutritionist’s advice, I just kept gaining or at the very best maintaining. My friends have always eaten twice as much food as I do, yet I just kept gaining weight.
“In January I decided it was time to make some drastic changes. I started walking and began to eliminate grains from my diet. I am now six months in and my insulin dose has been cut in half with great control of my sugars. I am hoping to be able to come off all insulin soon. I just hit the 50 pound mark, but the real differences I see are in my face. The amount of inflammation was crazy in my ‘before’ picture. My skin was red and blotchy and I looked much older.
There is this notion that, once type 2 diabetes is established, you can never become non-diabetic. That is absolutely not true.
What it does not mean is that, once you reverse all typical type 2 diabetic phenomena–high fasting blood sugar, high HbA1c, high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, excess small LDL particles, excessive postprandial (after-meal) lipoprotein excursions, resistance to insulin, fatty liver–that you would be able to consume all the grains, carbs, and sugars you want and not re-trigger diabetes–you will, quite quickly, in fact. What it does mean is that, even if there is modest impairment of pancreatic beta cell function (producing insulin), if you achieve normal blood sugars, HbA1c of 5.0% or less, reduce triglycerides to 60 mg/dl, normalize blood pressure, raise HDL and reduce/eliminate small LDL particles, normalize liver tests (AST, ALT), then for all practical purposes you are non-diabetic: You will experience none of the long-term consequences of diabetes. You no longer have the excess cardiovascular risk of diabetes, you no longer are exposed to the phenomena of excessive endogenous glycation (glucose modification of proteins) that would have led to premature cataracts, arthritis, accelerated skin aging, peripheral neuorpathy and kidney disease. In other words, all the excess health risks of type 2 diabetes are erased.
But even if Cathy falls a bit short and requires, say, metformin to keep blood sugars under perfect control (because she may have less than normal residual beta cell function), she will still have erased nearly all of the excess risk of diabetes–by doing the OPPOSITE of following the awful dietary advice of the American Diabetes Association, diabetologists, and diabetes educators.
Cathy’s experience also highlights the health-impairing effects of the high doses of insulin used in type 2 diabetes that make weight loss virtually impossible and typically cause extravagant weight gain. Years ago, I watched people put on insulin injections gain 20, 30, even 50 pounds just over the first 6 months of starting. Eliminating the foods that raise blood sugar–grains and sugars–allowed her to reduced insulin dose while enjoying less blood sugar fluctuations, allowing weight to drop, restoring insulin sensitivity.
And just look at Cathy’s face: As she points out herself, the excessive edematous inflammation that she used to show is virtually gone.
Remember: Anyone wishing to stack the odds in favor of a full turnaround from type 2 diabetes needs to, yes, start with elimination of wheat and grains, but then correct all the other health distortions that persist after their elimination, discussed at length in Wheat Belly Total Health and summarized in this Wheat Belly Blog post.