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Five ways to naturally control Type 2 diabetes, found in studies

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Studies show you can control Type 2 diabetes naturally.

Patients with Type 2 diabetes can control their blood sugar levels and mitigate damage to the blood vessels and major organs naturally. It’s important to take medications prescribed by your physician, but without lifestyle changes, patients with diabetes suffer from decreased quality of life as a result of the physical and financial toll of diabetes.

Engage in short periods of exercise

In December 2011 researchers published findings that Type 2 diabetes can be controlled by exercising for short periods of time. The trick is you might have to exercise a little bit harder, but that’s still good news. It means you don’t have to hit the gym. Just get up and move, take a brisk walk, march in place or go for a short jog. Even a quick session of vigorous swimming or walking in the pool can help people with diabetes control their hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C) levels, lose weight and preserve healthy blood vessels.

The findings, published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, show high intensity, short workouts are a valuable addition that can help patients naturally control Type 2 diabetes.

The study authors wrote, "Given that the majority of individuals with and without type 2 diabetes do not accumulate sufficient exercise to achieve health benefits, and the most common cited barrier to regular exercise is a lack of time, our results suggest that low-volume high-intensity training may be a viable, time-efficient strategy to improve health in patients with type 2 diabetes.” The finding is particularly important for individuals newly diagnosed with the disease. Speak with your doctor for clearance before engaging in any exercise program.

Consume anti-inflammatory foods

Focus on anti-inflammatory foods. In other words, foods with a low-glycemic index (GI). When carbohydrates break down into sugar they raise glucose levels that in turn releases inflammatory molecules. The result is damage to all organs of the body and the blood vessels that, over time, adds up to poor overall health, especially for people with diabetes.

Two recent studies found Type 2 diabetes patients can easily incorporate lower GI foods into the diet for better control.

Ohio State University researchers published findings in January, 2012 that focusing on foods with low glycemic index improved blood glucose control for diabetic patients studied.

Naturally controlling Type 2 diabetes means eliminating white potatoes, white rice and pastas and white bread. Instead, eat more whole grains, legumes, fruits and nonstarchy vegetables.

Type 2 diabetic foods that are low-glycemic index and can be easily incorporated in the diet include pumpernickel bread, lentils, kidney beans and barley.

Eat a handful of nuts every day

There is evidence that eating a handful of nuts each day can help control and prevent complications of Type 2 diabetes. A study published in the journal “Diabetes Care”, June, 2011, found replacing carbohydrates with a handful of unsalted, raw or roasted nuts daily helped diabetics lower their HbA1C levels – a blood test that shows diabetes control - by two-thirds.

If you’re HbA1C level is above 7.0 you’re at risk for diabetic retinopathy, kidney failure, peripheral neuropathy and a variety of other complications. Your doctor might recommend that keeping it below 6.0 is best.

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Try Cinnamon

One study suggested supplements could help control Type 2 diabetes naturally from the insulin stimulating effect of cinnamon.

The study, published in 2009, showed patients with Type 2 diabetes who took cinnamon supplements twice a day were able to lower their HbA1C levels. One gram lowered the percentage by 0.83% after 90 days. More studies are needed to confirm the findings. Speak with your Dr. before adding any of supplements, vitamins or herbal remedies for diabetes.

Lose weight

Even if you are just a little overweight, the single most important thing you can do to control diabetes is lose weight.

The only way to lose weight is to restrict calories and engage in an exercise program – with your doctor’s guidance.

A 2003 analysis, published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, studied the effects of weight loss on Type 2 diabetes. The authors concluded, “The reviewed data suggest that US health care providers should endorse the American Heart Association’s and European diabetes associations’ recommendations that diabetic persons achieve and maintain a BMI of ≤25 kg/m2. Weight management may be the most important therapeutic task for most obese Type 2 diabetic individuals.”

Ask your doctor for a consult with a nutritionist. A registered dietitian can help you find the right meal plan for your activity level and weight loss goals.

Studies show there are natural ways to control Type 2 diabetes that can ensure quality of life and just might lead to fewer medications that can be costly and interfere with lifestyle.


Journal of Applied Physiology
“Low-volume high-intensity interval training reduces hyperglycemia and increases muscle mitochondrial capacity in patients with type 2 diabetes”

Patient Education and Counseling
“Goal difficulty and goal commitment affect adoption of a lower glycemic index diet in adults with type 2 diabetes”
Carla K. Miller et al.
January, 2012

Diabetes Care: doi: 10.2337/dc11-0338
"Nuts as a Replacement for Carbohydrates in the Diabetic Diet"
David J.A. Jenkins, MD; et al

“Effectiveness of Cinnamon for Lowering Hemoglobin A1C in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized, Controlled Trial”
Paul Crawford, MD
Sept/Oct 2009

Journal of the American College of Nutrition
“Importance of Weight Management in Type 2 Diabetes: Review with Meta-analysis of Clinical Studies”
James W. Anderson, et al.
October, 2003

Image credit: Morguefile



One of the best methods used to help people with diabetes control their blood sugar and lose weight is carbohydrate counting. This is not a "low carb" diet, but more about eating "consistent carbs" so that the blood sugar stays consistent and the metabolism stays revved up. This is actually how we should all eat! No food is off limits, which allows people to lead normal lives - eating out, going to dinner parties, etc. -Mandy Seay, RD, LD nutritionistics.com
Thank you Mandy - that's important and much appreciated. You're exactly right - consistency prevent fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Less stress for diabetics about what's happening is an added perk to eating 'consistent carbs', I should think also - which also helps with glucose control. Excellent! Thanks again.