Reversing Diabetes

Nutritional approaches have worked to reverse diabetes. When the body is viewed as a system, and it’s inputs, outputs, and processes are examined, the mystery disappears.

Originally published 1999

Diabetes starts out as an “insulin resistance” condition, before it turns into an “insulin insufficiency” condition. The major cause of the condition lies in the heat-processed fats and oils we have been consuming for decades in this society. Another important cause is the lack of chromium in the food supply. Any intelligent protocol for the management of diabetes must take into account those facts. This article describes the protocols that work, and explains the process for the condition, as well the cure.

The Role of Fats

The chemistry is fairly simple: horseshoe-shaped polyunsaturated fatty acids are twisted by heat. They’re straightened out, bond-shifted, and cross-linked so that the “business” end (the active end) is worthless.

That leads to the biology of the situation. The stationary end of the fatty acid can still attach to a phosphate group to make phospholipids — which are incorporated into the cell walls. But the other end doesn’t do it’s job — it lets in things it shouldn’t (the cause of allergies) and doesn’t interact with things it should — things like insulin, which causes insulin resistance, and oxygen, which allows cancer to grow. (Oxygen is supremely deadly to cancer, and the fatty acids constitute the transport mechanism.)

The bottom line is that millions of years of evolution have never prepared the body to recognize and avoid the transmogrified fatty acids. So they act, quite literally, as metabolic poisons. In the same way that cyanide connects with hemoglobin and prevents oxygen from doing so, these things are build into the cell walls, preventing the chemically-active versions from doing so.

There are many more cells, though, and there are always some good fats among the bad ones (and vice versa), so it takes a long time to see serious effects. One effect is clearly visible though, since every cell requires fatty acids to function, you eat six times more than you would with high-quality fats in the diet. Hence the excess weight.

In addition to transporting oxygen and nutrients to and through the cell walls, are the “active” parts of the brain, nervous system, hemoglobin, hormones, and immune system. It is the electrons they supply (in the right time, at the right place) that are responsible for synapses firing, hormones communicating, destruction of invaders by immune cells, etc. So its clear that good health requires eliminating the bad fats and supplying the good ones.

Learn more about the role of fats in diabetes: Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill, by Udo Erasmus, pp. 341-342.

The Role of Chromium

Chromium is needed to activate insulin. Without it, insulin won’t work.

Chromium is generally found in foods that contain sugar. So the mineral you need to metabolize the sugar is right there at the same time. Pretty cool. Except that when we refine things to make white foods like white sugar, white flour, and white rice, we remove all the chromium (and any other minerals). We leave behind the sugar and starch that makes the food products taste great, but we no longer include the chromium needed to metabolize it.

That wouldn’t be so bad, if we were taking in chromium from other sources. But according to Dr. Colgan, the USDA reports that chromium is deficient in most U.S. soils. Fortunately, we import a lot of our foods. And organic foods stand a better chance of having some returned to the soil. But it’s definitely coming from non-organic factory farms here at home.

Lacking chromium, the pancreas overproduces insulin as the body attempts to handle the sugar in the blood stream. The net result is that pancreas wear outs before its time.

The Role of Snacking

Another factor that causes the pancreas to wear out, according to the author of Mastering Leptin, is an insufficient amount of time between meals. To write that book, Byron Richards digested 7500 scientific articles on leptin, the most significant of 15 hormones released by fat cells. His advice is to make sure you have a good 4-5 hours between meals, to allow for the body’s full cycle of hormone activity and replenishment of hormone reserves.

Of course, that’s hard to do is an environment where the “food” industry has been addicting you to sugar and simple starches your entire life, and advertising like crazy to convince you that it’s a good thing. The fact is, you get ravenously hungry. And that’s a key that tells you how well you ate at your last meal, and how well you’ve been eating in general.

If you can go 5 hours without being hungry, you’re doing great. If you can go 4 hours, that’s not bad. If you can go no more than 3 hours, that’s borderline acceptable for a transition period, but it’s a bad sign. If you can’t even go 3 hours, odds are that you have a problem.

To get to the point that you’re simply not hungry for long periods of time, you need a really good dietary strategy. And the good news about a solid dietary strategy is that is known to reverse diabetes.

Reversing Diabetes

When you go to the doctor, diabetes is a death sentence. You get medications to “control” the problem. You take insulin injections for the rest of your life, and make sure your blood-sugar testing kit is always within reach. But eventually, you know it’s going to kill you.

Nutritional practitioners, on the other hand, have been reversing diabetes for decades. Their “miracle cures” result from a simple fact: Given the right nutrients, the body is fully capable of healing itself. Nutritional practitioners therefore make sure that the body gets the nutrients it needs, and they make sure that their patients avoid the metabolic poisons that are so prevalent in the American food supply. The result, predictably, is yet another “miracle” that modern medicine can’t explain. (That’s a sad reflection on medical ignorance. At the very least, one would expect them to understand how such cures work, when they occur.)

Some of the protocols that nutritional practitioners advise include:

  • Correcting fatty acid intake
  • Fasting
  • Raw foods (for enzymes)
  • Whole foods (cooked, for fiber and long-term energy)

These protocols and others like them limit sugar, supply chromium to activate insulin, and make the body’s cells receptive insulin once again by providing high quality fats. So of course they work!

Correcting Fatty Acid Intake

The trans fats (bad guys) come from:

  • Margarine and partially hydrogenated oils
    (found in cookies, many breads, and many refined foods)
  • Refined oils
    (all the oils on the supermarket shelves have been treated so they won’t spoil — at best, that means they have been rendered chemically inactive, which makes them useless in the body. At worst, that turns them into metabolic poisons, as well.)
  • Fried foods
    (commercial deep frying is the worst. The *absolute* worst is frying in vegetable oil. Lard is better.) Note: For home cooking, butter is semi-ok. Since butter and lard are saturated, they are straight-line, not horseshoe-shaped. You can’t do much of anything to them by heating them.

To reverse the condition, it is necessary to eliminate the bad fats, and supply good fats. (In addition, it is necessary to do everything possible to avoid the worst secondary conditions, which comes from the excessive sugar-induced oxidation, which can damage the eyes and many other bodily functions).

When the diet is optimal, it still takes about 2 years for the complete healing cycle, because that’s how long it takes for the soft tissues of the body to be replaced.

So, where do you find good fats?

  • Unrefined oils from the health food store.
    (My favorite is Udo’s Choice. Take a tablespoon every morning in a glass of water.)
  • Raw eggs (the yolks)
  • Raw fish (Sushi)
  • Deep sea salmon & sardines
  • Avocado
  • Olives
  • Raw seeds & nuts. (sprouted Pumpkin Seeds from are my favorite.)


To speed up the healing process, you may also want to consider fasting. As explained in Fasting and Eating for Health, by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, a lot of housecleaning goes on during a fast, and many triglycerides (fatty acids) are eliminated. Fasting can speed up the process of eliminating bad fats that have already accumulated. Given a diabetic condition, however, it would be unwise to fast other than in a medically-supervised program that is geared to such undertakings. Such clinics exist. They’re worth looking into.

Raw Foods

In Raw Food Treatment of Cancer, Kristine Nolfie, M.D., writes:

“Consistent consumption of raw vegetables and fruits has a surprisingly beneficial and speedy effect on diabetes, provided the patient has not taken insulin, or, at most, only small quantities of it for a year or two. It helps also when the patient has taken large doses of insulin for several years, but it takes longer…

“…several raw vegetables contain insulin, especially Jerusalem artichokes. Most vegetables contain in their raw state the precursor of insulin known as INULIN.

“Five chemists and three physicians in America carried out a protracted examination of four thousand diabetics and concluded that only one percent needed insulin. The rest of them recovered on nutrition alone.”
–pp. 30..31

A raw plant food, by definition, eliminates 100% of the bad fatty acids from the diet, and supplies the pure and natural fatty acids that are required for health. In addition, they come with what amounts to their own insulin supply. (Again, if you have started taking insulin, it makes sense to find a raw foods health clinic and make the transition under the supervision of a qualified medical practitioner.)

Finally, raw foods and other unprocessed, natural foods supply the chromium needed to potentiate insulin, along with other vitamins and minerals.

Whole Foods

Cooking up a single-pan meal with a variety of vegetables, plus a protein source like meat, eggs, or fish, is a relatively easy way to up the “whole foods” content of your diet. Cooking the foods makes them easier to digest, and smooths out energy levels so much that I generally wind up skipping a meal a day or two later, without even missing it. (Diet gurus don’t recommend that, but I’ve noticed that my weight drops occur on those days. The important thing is that I don’t force those days to occur. They happen naturally, when my body is ready for them.)

I first learned that single-pan strategy from a beach volleyball “monster” friend of mine, Alex Tsirfa. He’s lean and super fit from spending weekends at the beach in the summer, or skiing in the winter. He manages to do it for both lunch and dinner, which keeps him plenty thin and energetic. I generally only manage it at dinner, but it makes a serious difference.

I sort of knew that high-fiber, whole-food meals were important, just from watching him. But I didn’t catch on to just how important it was until I read The UltraMind Solution, by Dr. Hyman. It’s about “mental” diseases, but to address those, he looks at the whole body. Somewhere in the chapters on digestion, hormones, and energy metabolism, I came to realize just how important whole foods are to energy levels and insulin management.

I also realized that my “raw foods” eating had been limited to fruit, mostly, for the simple reason that it tastes good and digests easily. But because I wasn’t cooking regularly, I wasn’t eating a lot of the fiber-rich, nutrient-dense vegetables — especially the legumes (beans and peas) that keep you satisfied for so long after a meal! So I started doing that single-pan cooking, and it made a big difference, almost immediately.

Two other terrific sources on dietary programs come from Dr. Joel Fuhrman, who wrote the definitive book on fasting. Depending on your personality type, one or the other is bound to be helpful:

  • Eat to Live is for the person who wants acquire understanding as rapidly as possible, and then make a “cold turkey” dietary switch. It teaches you the principles you need to figure out a dietary strategy.
  • Eat For Health is a two-volume set that lays out a step-by-step program with recipes. Everything is laid out for you, so you can follow along to get where you want to be.

How The “Cures” Work

Looking at the body from a systems level, it is important to realize that in its millions of years of evolution it has never once had to worry about insulin resistance that results from cells that simply don’t respond to it. Nor has it had to worry about inactive insulin, resulting from a lack of chromium.

The body, sensibly enough, monitors the amount of sugar in the blood to determine whether insulin is needed. That happens in the liver. When you think about it. There’s no other way for the body to operate. If it monitored insulin, it could keep from creating more when insulin is already present in the blood supply, due to insulin resistance. But then it wouldn’t know when sugar arrived, so it wouldn’t know when insulin was needed in the first place.

Actually, the liver doesn’t even wait to see how much sugar arrives. It expects a certain amount of sugar in the food supply, so it starts secreting insulin when you eat. Based on the amount of food that is eaten, the body secretes a certain amount of insulin. Twenty minutes later, it looks at the blood stream and measures the amount of sugar (not insulin). If there is still sugar in the bloodstream, more insulin is secreted.

In the early stages, this mechanism produces the symptoms of hypoglycemia. After eating, the body may have already produced enough insulin to take the sugar out of the bloodstream, but a lot of the insulin isn’t doing anything because it can’t find the right cell receptors to bind to. The body, which is measuring sugar levels only, puts out even more insulin. About forty minutes later (an hour or so after eating) there is a big blood sugar drop as the additional insulin keeps removing sugar from the bloodstream.

How this process turns into diabetes is still something of a mystery. But if the condition is correctable through diet, then it is not as simple as a simple failure to produce insulin. Most likely, it occurs when the intake of bad fats goes “over the top”.

Recall that the hormones, like the brain and nervous system, are produced from fatty acids — the good ones, that is. Because the brain and nervous system won’t function without them, they get first priority for the good fats. Additional good fats are required to make hormones and other chemical messengers that operate at the cellular level (“eicosanoids”). The remaining fats get built into the cell walls and stored as fat.

If the food supply contains too few of the good fatty acids, hormones like insuin can’t be built! (Unlike the cell walls, bad fats won’t do.) Because raw plant foods provide insulin or its immediate precursor, that body’s manufacturing defect is remedied almost immediately. Over time, then, it appears that the insulin-production capacity can be restored, as well.

Finding a Good Medical Practitioner

If you are currently taking insulin (or any other drug, for that matter), then it is advisable to make dietary changes under supervision, to reduce the medication by appropriate amount. The key is this:

Find a doctor who uses nutritional remedies as the first choice.

They’re still rare, because health insurance typically only pays for drugs. But they are becoming increasingly common.

There are other options, too:

Search out a naturopath or an osteopath.

A naturopath is a professional who has the same kind of training, but without the emphasis on drugs and surgery. They’re dedicated to natural cures, and they can be extremely helpful.

An osteopath is a medically-trained professional who recognizes that the body heals itself, and that the physicians job is to help create the conditions for healing.

Learn more: Using Medical Practitioners Wisely


A diagnosis of diabetes does not have to be a “death sentence”. Nutritional approaches have been very effective.


Diet and fasting programs:

Underlying science:

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