5 Foods to Prevent or Reverse Diabetes

Fighting Diabetes

Developing type 2 diabetes is a serious threat to longevity. Diabetes dramatically increases heart attack and stroke risk and is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S..

A superior diet can prevent diabetes and a nutritarian diet can even reverse the disease, removing it completely in a majority of patients.

The standard American diet (SAD) of processed foods, refined grains, oils, sugars, and animal products is at the root of obesity and type 2 diabetes epidemics.

Keeping glucose under control with drugs in individuals who continue to consume this diet will not prevent diabetes complications and a premature death. Resolving this requires nutritional excellence, as well as daily activity or exercise.

Sticking to a High Nutrient Diet

High-nutrient, low glycemic plant foods are the optimal choice for those who seek to prevent or reverse type 2 diabetes. I have seen the results in my own practice – the vast majority of my type 2 diabetic patients, who adopt a nutritarian diet, reverse their disease, regain a normal weight and become non-diabetic. They are able to gradually reduce their insulin and eventually other medications. 

Most no longer need any diabetes medications after the first six months. They simply get well. I work with people who have diabetes who want to live a long and healthy life and enjoy the sense of achievement and the confidence that they can take control over this disease.

You can do this, too.

In a study of type 2 diabetics who followed my high-nutrient, low-glycemic diet, 90 percent of participants were able to come off all diabetic medications and the mean HbA1c after one year was 5.8 percent, which is in the normal, non-diabetic range. Superior nutrition offers many benefits, the most important one is that it can restore your health.

5 Foods that Can Fight Diabetes

Don’t live with your type 2 diabetes; get rid of it. Here are the five foods to focus on to fight diabetes:

Go Green

Make salad your main dish. Green vegetables are the most important foods to focus on for diabetes prevention and reversal.

A higher consumption of leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower) and other green vegetables are associated with lower HbA1c levels.

In addition to the usual lettuces and the now-ubiquitous kale, try the stronger-flavored greens that are packed with nutrients, like mustard and collard greens. A meta-analysis found that greater leafy green consumption was associated with a 14 percent decrease in risk of type 2 diabetes. Another study reported that each daily serving of leafy greens produces a 9 percent drop in risk.

No Starch, Please

Non-starchy vegetables like mushrooms, onions, eggplant, peppers and garlic are the building blocks of a healthful diet. The bonus is that these foods have almost nonexistent effects on blood glucose, and are packed with beneficial phytochemicals and fiber.

This makes them essential components of an anti-diabetes diet. Try different varieties of this category of vegetables, like oyster or shiitake mushrooms, and scallions or shallots. Or heat things up with spicy jalapeño or poblano peppers.

The Benefits of Beans

An ideal carbohydrate source, beans, lentils, and other legumes are low in glycemic load because of their abundant fiber and resistant starch. Since fiber and resistant starch are not broken down in the small intestine, the amount of calories that can be absorbed from beans is reduced. In addition, the resistant starch is fermented by the bacteria in the colon, forming products that protect against colon cancer. Eating beans and legumes is associated with a reduced risk of both diabetes and colon cancer.

Just Go Nuts

Nuts are low in glycemic load, promote weight loss, and have anti-inflammatory effects that may prevent the development of insulin resistance. The Nurses’ Health Study found a 27 percent reduced risk of diabetes in nurses who ate five or more servings of nuts per week. Among the nurses who already had diabetes, this same quantity of nuts reduced the risk of heart disease by 47 percent.  

The Health Assets of Whole Fruit

Most diabetics shy away from fruit because of the sugar content. I recommend sticking to low-sugar fruits like berries, kiwi, oranges, and melon to minimize the glycemic effects. Fresh fruit has many benefits. Rich in fiber and antioxidants, fruit is a nutrient-dense choice for satisfying a sweet tooth. Eating 3 servings a day is associated with an 18 percent decrease in the risk of diabetes.

In my book, The End of Diabetes, I offer a plan to reverse type 2 diabetes using superior nutrition and moderate exercise.  Don’t merely control your diabetes, get rid of it!  Type 1 diabetics should use this approach too; by optimizing their nutrition, they can use much less insulin and dramatically reduce their risk of dangerous complications later in life.


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Carter P, Gray LJ, Troughton J, et al. Fruit and vegetable intake and incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ 2010, 341:c4229.

Bazzano LA, Li TY, Joshipura KJ, Hu FB. Intake of Fruit, Vegetables, and Fruit Juices and Risk of Diabetes in Women. Diabetes Care 2008, 31:1311-1317.

Villegas R, Gao YT, Yang G, et al. Legume and soy food intake and the incidence of type 2 diabetes in the Shanghai Women's Health Study. Am J Clin Nutr 2008, 87:162-167.

Jiang R, Manson JE, Stampfer MJ, et al. Nut and peanut butter consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes in women. JAMA 2002, 288:2554-2560.

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