LEVIN FAMILY HEALTH - Open 1st August 2023


Gary Says he wants to know - What is Diabetes?

Gary Says.... What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a disorder of blood sugar (glucose) and insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is produced by the pancreas and plays a crucial role in regulating blood sugar levels in the body. In people with diabetes, the pancreas either does not produce enough insulin (Type 1 diabetes) or the body becomes resistant to the insulin it produces (Type 2 diabetes), leading to high blood sugar levels. This can cause a range of health problems if left uncontrolled.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder in which the body's immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. This results in a complete deficiency of insulin, which requires lifelong insulin therapy to manage blood sugar levels.

In contrast, type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder characterized by both insulin resistance (the body's inability to use insulin effectively) and insulin deficiency (the pancreas produces less insulin than is needed). Over time, insulin resistance can lead to damage to the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, which exacerbates the insulin deficiency and leads to high blood sugar levels.

Type 2 diabetes is often associated with lifestyle factors such as obesity, physical inactivity, and poor diet, and can be managed with lifestyle changes and medication. However, in some cases, insulin therapy may also be necessary to control blood sugar levels.

Chronic high blood sugar levels can damage blood vessels, leading to a range of complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney damage, and nerve damage. Additionally, excess glucose in the bloodstream cannot be effectively used by the body's cells for energy, leading to feelings of fatigue and weakness.

It is important to note that high blood sugar levels are often a consequence of an underlying process that has been going on for years before blood sugar becomes abnormally high. In the case of type 2 diabetes, lifestyle factors such as obesity and physical inactivity can lead to insulin resistance, which over time can cause the pancreas to produce less insulin. Therefore, early intervention and management of risk factors can help prevent or delay the onset of diabetes and its complications.

The good news is that diet and exercise can help decrease insulin resistance and its associated weight gain, which may help prevent or even put diabetes into remission.


Diabetes, Food & Lifestyle Changes


The more carbohydrate eaten in a meal, the more sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream and usually the higher the blood sugar will be. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose during digestion, which then enters the bloodstream and can raise blood sugar levels. Some foods that are commonly thought of as healthy, such as fruit and starchy vegetables like potatoes, can contain significant amounts of carbohydrates that can raise blood sugar levels.

However, it's important to note that carbohydrates are still an important part of a healthy diet, and not all carbohydrates are created equal. Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables contain complex carbohydrates that are broken down more slowly, leading to a more gradual and sustained increase in blood sugar levels.

For people with diabetes, monitoring blood sugar levels after meals can help them better understand how different foods affect their blood sugar levels and make more informed dietary choices. This can help them manage their blood sugar levels more effectively and reduce the risk of complications associated with high blood sugar levels.


Protein-containing foods, such as eggs, poultry, meat, seafood, and tofu, generally have little to no effect on blood sugar levels when consumed in moderate amounts.

Dietary fat also has little to no effect on blood sugar levels, but as you mentioned, most foods that contain fat also contain other macronutrients like carbohydrates and protein. Some high-fat and high-protein foods, like cheese, may have a minimal effect on blood sugar levels, while others, like doughnuts and French fries, are high in both carbohydrates and fat and can significantly raise blood sugar levels.

It's important to note that the quality and quantity of the fat in our diet can impact our overall health. Consuming foods high in saturated and trans fats, like fried foods and baked goods, can increase the risk of heart disease and other health problems. On the other hand, consuming foods high in unsaturated fats, like nuts, seeds, and fatty fish, can have health benefits and may even help improve blood sugar control in people with diabetes.


The American Diabetes Association (ADA) released a consensus report in 2019 stating that reducing carbohydrate intake was the most effective nutritional strategy for improving blood sugar control in people with diabetes. This recommendation was based on a review of the scientific evidence that has shown that low-carbohydrate diets can be safe and effective for improving blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes.

Several systematic reviews and meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials have also provided strong evidence supporting the effectiveness of low-carbohydrate diets for managing diabetes. These studies have shown that low-carbohydrate diets can lead to significant improvements in blood sugar control, weight loss, and other health markers in people with type 2 diabetes.

It's important to note that low-carbohydrate diets may not be appropriate for everyone and that any dietary changes should be made in consultation with a healthcare professional. Some people may need to adjust their medication dosages or monitor their blood sugar more closely when following a low-carbohydrate diet.

These are all important findings that highlight the potential benefits of low carb diets for individuals with type 2 diabetes. It is important to note, however, that any changes in diet or medication use should be made under the guidance of a healthcare professional. While low carb diets may be effective for some individuals, they may not be appropriate or necessary for others. It is important to take into account individual health needs, goals, and preferences when making dietary changes.

Reversing Type 2 Diabetes – the HOW

Type 2 diabetes was traditionally seen as a progressive disease that could be managed with medications and lifestyle changes but not reversed. However, as more research has been conducted, it has become clear that sustained weight loss and a healthy lifestyle can lead to remission or reversal of type 2 diabetes in many people. This has led to a shift in focus towards preventing and reversing the condition rather than simply managing it.

Recent studies have shown that type 2 diabetes can be reversed or put into remission through lifestyle changes such as a very low carb diet, weight loss, and exercise. This is especially true for people who have had the condition for a relatively short period of time. However, it's important to note that not everyone with type 2 diabetes will be able to achieve remission through these methods, and medical management may still be necessary for some individuals. Additionally, any changes to diabetes treatment or management should be done in consultation with a healthcare professional.

It is important to work closely with your healthcare team, including your doctor, a registered dietitian, and certified diabetes educator, to develop a personalized treatment plan that works for you. This may include a low carb diet, regular physical activity, weight loss, and medications as needed. Regular monitoring of blood sugar levels and other health indicators is also important to ensure that your treatment plan is effective and safe. With dedication and support, it is possible to achieve better blood sugar control, improve overall health, and reduce the risk of diabetes-related complications.