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How to Lower Blood Sugar & Reverse Diabetes Naturally: A Beginner's Guide

Nov 09, 2016 | Austin Gill

NOTE: This is a special article written by our medical director, Dr. Marlin Gill. It details the system he uses to help type 2 diabetic patients get control of their blood sugar and even begin reversing diabetes.

You should read this article even if you aren't diabetic!

Because type 2 diabetes is an issue of sugar metabolism, which we all have. 

In addition to going through the dangers of dietary sugar and elevated blood sugar, Dr. Gill discusses a simple system to aid habit formation that I recommend to everyone trying to make lifestyle changes.

So happy reading to you all, and thanks to Dr. Gill for this post!

 - Austin

P.S. The background image is sugar crystals under a microscope - look sharp don't they?

. . .

I’ve been treating patients for hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and diabetes for 30 years.

Sadly, for the majority of those years I treated them with traditional treatment, and only traditional treatment - mostly by prescribing blood sugar suppression medications, such as metformin.

Over the years I came to know most of my diabetic patients by name, and I realized that this really bothered me.

I knew their names because I was seeing them over and over again for the same issues! I hadn’t solved the problem, no one was getting better.

So I decided to do something about it and began developing a simple system that wouldn’t just suppress the symptoms of diabetes, but would actually reverse it by teaching people repeatable ways to make healthy lifestyle changes.

And guess what? It works. I’m seeing my diabetic patients less and less - now they’re just normal patients. I have reduced the number of medications they’re taking, even taken some off completely.

It will work for you too. You can lower your blood sugar, reverse your diabetes, feel better, and you don’t need to see me to do it.

All you have to do is follow the system that I’m about to share with you.

The Unique Danger of Diabetes (Why You Should Care)

Diabetes is the #1 risk factor for 4 of the first 6 leading causes of death.

Diabetes itself is the 7th leading cause of death.

Most diseases target a single organ system such as the brain (nervous system), heart (respiratory system), reproductive system, digestive system, etc.

Diabetes is uniquely dangerous because it affects every major organ system in the body.

Nothing is safe.

[1, 2]

Don’t have diabetes? Statistics show that you have a 30% chance of developing it in your lifetime.

There are also 90 million people in the US with prediabetes (elevated blood sugars) and 9 out of 10 don’t even know, you could be one of them. [3, 4, 5]

That’s a pretty grim picture. Good thing we’re not stopping here.

IMPORTANT: There is a difference between Type 1 diabetes (an autoimmune condition) and Type 2 diabetes (lifestyle related). This article refers specifically to Type 2 diabetes.

Have Hope: Type 2 Diabetes Is Preventable, Reversible, and Curable

Popular belief has long held type 2 diabetes as a chronic disease, meaning that once you get it there’s nothing you can do about it.

But that’s not true. With the right treatment type 2 diabetes is reversible and curable! [6]

Well if it’s reversible then why is the number of people diagnosed with diabetes each year still growing? Good question. I believe there are two main reasons for this.

First, the current medical treatment for type-II diabetes, although effective in slowing the disease and delaying complications, IS NOT effective for reversing it.

Type 2 diabetes is a disease caused by diet and lifestyle, which means it should be treated by diet and lifestyle.

Second, very little time is spent making information actionable.

You are told repeatedly what to do, but very rarely how to do it - so you struggle to make permanent lifestyle changes, to develop healthy habits.

What you need is a system that is simple, easy to follow, doable, and actually works to reverse diabetes.

Well, here it is.

 

The Sweet 6: Diabetes Reversal System

If you do this, you can reverse your diabetes in six months.

If you’ve struggled before to make permanent lifestyle changes it could be because you tried to change too much at once, or because you began with unrealistic expectations, or both.

Some “expert” may have given you list of a hundred changes to make, then just told good luck and sent you off on your own. That’s overwhelming and not helpful. Where would you even start?

Forget all that. Forget everything. Forget all the things you think you should be doing. Forget all the reasons why you convinced yourself you are unable to change.

What we’re going to do is simple. Stupid simple. It’s repeatable, doable, and it works.

Who It’s For

  • Anyone concerned about high blood sugar
  • Anyone who already has high blood sugar and wants to reverse it
  • Anyone with diabetes who wants to reverse it
  • Anyone with prediabetes who wants to reverse it and prevent developing full diabetes
  • Anyone who just wants to be healthier!

How It Works

The Sweet 6 is a 6 month system that combines of 3 action items working together to reverse your diabetes and set you up for a lifetime of continued success.

#1: Fasting Mimicking Diet (FMD)

Each month you FMD for 5 days. You start with this because it’s quick and because it’s the most effective thing you can do for your health without overly stressing the body.

THIS IS THE KEY TO THE ENTIRE EQUATION. If you do nothing else, do this - alone it may be enough to reverse your diabetes.

#2: Habit Formation

Each month you focus on developing one healthy habit. ONE.

The key here is habit! This isn’t a quick fix crash diet - this is a lifestyle program designed to encourage permanent improvement in your life.

Focusing on just one thing at a time allows us to direct all your energy towards the task at hand, eliminating distractions, affording you the willpower to succeed.

30 days is the minimum amount of time needed to create a new habit. So when you move on to number two, the first will be second nature.

#3: Weekly Rewards

You get a treat each week. 1 day per week you will be allowed to eat whatever it is you are working towards cutting out that month.

For example, if Dr. Pepper is your weakness and this month you are focused on cutting it out, then one day per week (I prefer Saturday) you get to drink a Dr. Pepper.

This reinforces your will power for the next week, and builds around the principle that most things are okay in moderation - one Dr. Pepper per week won’t kill you, but 3 a day just might.

The system encourages you to take on manageable challenges, to improve one area of your diet at a time, to practice that improvement for long enough to create a habit, to celebrate small victories, and ultimately create a healthy and enjoyable lifestyle free of diabetes.

Let’s do this.

Using the System, a Month by Month Plan

Required Skill: Reading Labels

Well you’ve made it this far, so you pass the skills test!

As you continue, you’ll quickly notice that the main objective of the habits below is to lower your sugar intake by cutting out high sugar foods. [7]

However, the lists provided aren’t exhaustive, which means you’ll have to read labels when you're shopping.

Sugar content is listed on every product, just look at the back and try to get as close as possible to 0 on the line that says, sugar.

The recommended daily intake of sugar is 30 grams. Keep that in mind when you’re shopping.

The KEY: Fasting Mimicking (FMD)

Fasting Mimicking is a 5 day calorie restriction diet that mimics the effects of fasting - all the benefits without the burden.

Studies have shown it to be extremely effective for losing weight, lowering blood sugar, reversing diabetes - and, most importantly, being doable! [8]

Our version is the LifeBox Core Plan, and we think it's the best  😉 .

You can use it, or develop your own.

FMD will reset your body and give you a head start on your way to reversing diabetes.

It works by allowing your body to use up your blood sugar, after which it can deplete the glycogen (sugar) stores in your liver, lowering your sugar levels enough for your body to get to work on reversing insulin resistance - the true offender. [9]

This is the core because everything else in the system is built around and relies upon this - because  undoes existing damage to your body. Everything else just helps it stay that way.

 

 

In addition to FMD each month, I want you to pick one dietary habit to improve. I've provided examples below of the 6 most common pitfalls I come across.

You don't have to do these exactly as they're written, and if you come across something that you are already doing that isn't an excuse for a month off - just pick something else and work on that.

Just remember, the ket is working on one at a time.  

Month 1

Habit #1: Choosing Sugar Free Drinks

I can’t stress enough the destruction caused by sugary drinks, it’s literally just pumping sugar straight into your body - and sugar is toxic.

Avoid drinking these.

  • Real sodas
    • 12oz of coke contains 39g of sugar, 105% of the daily recommended intake. Even scarier, sugar accounts for 100% of the caloric value in a coke. It contains zero nutritional value. [10]
  • Sweet tea
  • Fruit juices & smoothies
    • 12oz of Mott’s apple juice, for example, contains 42g of sugar, that’s more than coke! And again sugar accounts for 100% of the caloric value, zero nutrients.
    • Naked Juice’s green machine contains 34g of sugar.
  • Energy drinks
  • Your favorite latte from Starbucks
  • Chocolate milk
  • Some milk alternatives such as almond milk
  • Any other drink with added sugar. [11]

Drink these instead.

  • Water! Seriously, you should be drinking more water.
  • Sparkling Water
    • My favorite is La Croix, they’re naturally flavored and contain zero sugar. Lots of options and they’re all good (well, minus the coconut).
  • Coffee (black)
    • Coffee is super good for you, it is a major source of antioxidants, lowers risk of diabetes, can guard against alzheimer’s, liver cancer, and more. So drink up!
    • If you aren’t used to drinking black coffee, try opting for a lighter roast - it will be less bitter. You’ll get used to it, I promise.
  • Tea (unsweetened). Like hot tea, such as green, english breakfast, chamomile, etc.
  • Diet Sodas, if you must.

Weekly Reward

Don’t forget to reward yourself for your hard work! Each Saturday enjoy one of your favorite drinks that you have been working to quit. But just one, and just Saturday.

Month 2

Habit #2: Replacing White Bread

Mmmm, so soft and fluffy. I get it. Bread is delicious, but it’s pure carbohydrate, which to your body that is the same thing as sugar.

Similar to sugary drinks, bread contains no real nutritional value! All it does is fill you up, raise your blood sugar, and make you fat. There are so many delicious things you can eat instead to give your body the nutrients it deserves.

Avoid eating these.

  • Sandwich style white bread slices
  • Hamburger buns
  • Rolls
  • French and Italian bread
  • Bagels
  • Pizza (crust)

One big pitfall of avoiding bread is dining out. So be proactive. When you sit down, ask your waiter not to bring any bread. If it’s not on the table, you’ll be less tempted to eat it.

Eat these instead.

The best thing you can do is cut out bread completely!

  • Lettuce or leafy green wraps
  • Sweet potatoes and vegetables
    • Cook up some sweet potato slices and use them as bread substitutes
    • You can do the same with portobello mushrooms, eggplant, butternut squash, zucchini, bell pepper, or any other veggie you can slice.
  • Fried Eggs
    • Same thing, use them as bun substitutes.
  • Whole grains breads.
    • Whole grain has more fiber which buffers blood sugar spikes
    • Be sure to look for 100% whole grain on the label. Just because it’s brown doesn’t mean it’s whole grain.

Weekly Reward

Saturday! Go enjoy a pizza, or a hamburger with a bun! Then back to cutting out white bread. You’re working so hard! It’s going to pay off.

Month 3

Habit #3: Avoiding Potatoes

Unfortunately, potatoes don’t count as vegetables.

Like white bread, potatoes are pure carbohydrate that your body quickly breaks down into sugar, causing blood sugar and insulin spikes.

In fact, one cup of potatoes has been shown to have the same effect on blood sugar as a can of coke! [12]

Avoid eating these.

  • Baked potatoes
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Potato salad
  • Potato casserole
  • French fries (or any other types of fries)
  • Hash browns
  • Tater tots
  • Potato chips
  • Gnocchi

Eat these instead.

  • VEGGIES
    • Vegetables contain carbs, the good kind. They’re also naturally lower in sugar, and contain fiber that buffers dietary sugars and keeps your blood glucose and insulin low.
  • Eat tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, brussel sprouts, zucchini, avocados, cucumbers, asparagus, spinach, mushrooms, onion, bell peppers, olives, celery, radishes, beets, etc.
  • You can also eat legumes, or beans.

Weekly Reward

Cutting out potatoes is a hard one, but you can do it! Don’t forget to give yourself a little treat on Saturday for the well fought battle. Go have some french fries or hash browns. Then back to the plan.

Month 4

Habit #4: Escaping Candy & Dessert

The best way to avoid these is to change your environment.

Don’t go inside the gas station when you fill up, remove any candy from your house, ditch the candy jar at work -just get rid of it. If it’s around you’ll eat it.

Avoid eating these.

  • Candy
    • Bars, suckers, hard candy, gummies.
  • Sugary desserts
    • Ice cream, brownies, cobbler, pie, pudding, cake, cupcakes, cookies, donuts, fudge, blondies, and anything else I’ve left out. 

Eat these instead.

  • A bowl of fresh fruit or berries.
    • Top it with whipped cream (full fat). Fresh fruit is super sweet and the fiber in it acts as a buffer against high blood glucose.
  • Dark chocolate
    • Preferably that is over 70% cocoa - it’s good for you. Just remember I said SOME. So have one square, not the whole bar. [13]
  • Sugar Free Ice Cream.

You don’t need dessert, especially not every day. Make it an occasional treat.

Weekly Reward

Saturday again, so have some dessert! Doesn’t it taste so much better when it’s occasional? It does.

Month 5

Habit #5: Starting Your Day Right

Traditional breakfast foods are almost completely carbohydrate based - bad. Cleaning up your breakfast can make a HUGE impact on your overall health.

A quick and easy way to do that is to eat breakfast at home. Stopping at McDonald’s or even Chik-fil-a is the fastest way to start your day off on the wrong foot.

Avoid eating these.

  • Breads
    • Toast, bagels, biscuits, pancakes, cereal
  • Baked goods
    • Muffins (muffins = cake), donuts, croissants, scones, pumpkin bread, banana bread, and any other dessert bread.
    • Once piece of Starbucks coffee cake, with 63g of carbohydrates and 36g of sugar, easily puts you over the daily recommended intake of sugar. Crazy!
  • Sugary Breakfast bars

Eat these instead.

  • Eggs
  • Bacon
  • Plain greek yogurt
    • Not vanilla, or sweetened, or any kinds with fruit in it - they all contain sugar.
  • Fruit / Veggie Smoothie
    • Make it at home with fresh fruits and veggies (not fruit juice).
  • Whole Grain Oatmeal

Weekly Reward

My favorite thing to do on Saturday is to go have brunch! Enjoy a great breakfast, eat a muffin, or maybe even some pancakes.

Month 6

Habit #6: Snacking Right

Eating between meals keeps your insulin and blood sugar high - so really you shouldn’t be snacking at all.

But that’s a tall order, so the next best thing is to ensure your snacks are healthy and sugar free.

Avoid eating these.

  • Candy bars
    • I’m reiterating because it’s important, candy is not a snack.
  • Crackers, chips, french fries
  • Sugary Dairy Products
    • Most dairy products are loaded with sugar. Dairy naturally contains sugar (lactose), then more sugar is added on top of that!
    • A Chobani Fruit on the Bottom Greek Yogurt cup, for example, contains 15g of sugar. That is HALF the daily recommended dose . . .
  • Energy bars
    • Meal bars, snack bars, energy bars, granola bars, and other bars are LOADED with sugar.
    • If you’re going to bar, here’s a look at some of the more healthy ones (not healthy, just more healthy). [14]

Eat these instead.

  • Nuts
    • Almonds, pecans, walnuts, pistachios
    • NOT peanuts, they’re actually a legume
  • Fresh veggies!
    • Dip them in natural (i.e. no sugar added) peanut butter or hummus.
  • Plain greek yogurt
  • Fresh fruit

Weekly Reward

You’ve made it all the way to month 6! Just look at all the healthy habits you have formed. Go ahead and reward yourself this Saturday while you’re watching football and tear up that bag of chips.

 

Summary: Keys to Successfully Reversing Diabetes

  1. Fasting Mimicking Each Month.
    1. If you do nothing else, do this.
    2. It is the most simple and effective thing you can do to start seeing results right away.
  2. Develop 1 Healthy Habit at a Time
    1. Developing one at a time keeps you focused and ensures you don’t get overwhelmed. Stick with it until it’s second nature to you!
  3. Set Your Environment for Success.
    1. Will-power is a limited resource, and it weakens as you move later in the day. The easiest way to overcome this is to remove temptation.
  4. Take Personal Responsibility
    1. I've given you all the information you need and the best system with which to improve your health and reverse diabetes, the rest is up to you.
    2. You have to want this! And you have to believe that you can do it - because you can.
  5. Celebrate Victories!
    1. Did you have a candy bar craving today but opted for a handful of almonds instead? Woohoo! You’re awesome. Say it to yourself out loud, “I’m awesome.” Long term success is built one small victory at a time.
  6. Always Get Back Up
    1. You’re going to fail, the key is not letting it throw you off track. One failure won’t ruin the process!
    2. True success isn’t never failing, it’s getting back up when you do. This isn’t about being perfect, it’s about being better than you were yesterday.

 

What do you think about Sweet 6 System? Leave your comments below!

 



Resources

[1] intensivedietarymanagement.com/end-organ-damage-t2d-17/

[2] draxe.com/diabetes-symptoms/

[3] cdc.gov/diabetes/library/socialmedia/infographics.html

[4] cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/publications/aag/diabetes.htm

[5] diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/statistics/

[6] nutritionfacts.org/video/diabetes-reversal-is-it-the-calories-or-the-food/

[7] wellnessmama.com/1440/reverse-diabetes-naturally/

[8] cell.com/cell-metabolism/abstract/S1550-4131%2815%2900224-7

[9] menshealth.com/health/how-to-cure-diabetes

[10] authoritynutrition.com/13-ways-sugary-soda-is-bad-for-you/

[11] sugarstacks.com/beverages.htm

[12] hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/2014/01/24/the-problem-with-potatoes/

[13] lifehack.org/289595/15-surprising-and-science-backed-health-effects-dark-chocolate

[14] greatist.com/eat/best-granola-bars

Additional Resource

Austin Gill

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