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Yes! You can delay diabetes with lifestyle changes

I am always interested in studies that run for 10 years. You know its results have stood the test of time!

This study compared the diabetes risk after 10 years of those who made lifestyle changes, those who took the daily medication Metformin, and those who made no changes.

And the winner is … (drum roll)  :-o   lifestyle changes!

Video: Thelma makes lifestyle changes

I found this great video which shows how one woman is avoiding diabetes by changing her lifestyle.

Thelma shares the small changes she has made which made a big difference. She is delightfully honest in describing the emotions of being told she was diabetic and how she battled to make changes. Well done Thelma!

Thank you to JNJHealth for use of the video.

The diabetes delay study

Washington University researchers studied 3,234 people at risk of developing diabetes as part of the Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study.

They were randomly assigned to 3 groups:

  • Those who made lifestyle changes. They reduced the amount of fat and calories in their diet and increased regular physical activity to 150 minutes per week.
  • Those who took the oral medication Metformin of 850 milligrams twice a day.
  • The placebo group made no changes to prevent or delay diabetes.

The results

At the end of the 10 year study those who made lifestyle changes which gave a modest weight loss, reduced the rate of developing type 2 diabetes by 34% compared with those who made no changes.

Those who took the oral diabetes drug metformin twice a day reduced the rate of developing diabetes by 18% after 10 years compared with those who made no changes.

The researchers added that those who made lifestyle changes improved their cardiovascular risk factors, including blood pressure and triglyceride levels and took fewer drugs to control their heart disease risk.

I would also think they saved $$$ from not taking medication twice a day for 10 years!

What the researchers had to say …

Lead author William Knowler said, “Sustaining even modest weight loss with lifestyle changes is highly challenging, but it produced major long-term health rewards by lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes and reducing other cardiovascular risk factors in people at high risk of developing diabetes.” The study was published in The Lancet.

What about your bad ‘genes’?

Unfortunately, there is only so much we can blame on our ‘poor genes’ too. An interesting study I reviewed early this year showed how your lifestyle affects your genes. :) Not the other way round!

What do you have to say?

Have you avoided type 2 diabetes by making changes to your lifestyle? It can be really hard to do. But, it is the most effective way of gaining health.

If you have any successful tips, pass them on and add a comment below!


12 Responses to “You can delay Type 2 diabetes with lifestyle changes”

  1. Steve says:

    Nice article! A few years back my doctor did say I was at risk of type 2 diabetes in the future. But, I did start eating better and exercising more a few years back, and since then, my doctor has not mentioned diabetes. Hopefully it stays that way.

  2. KellieMyHS says:

    Lifestyle changes are genuinely hard to do. Changing bad habits of a lifetime takes effort.
    However, the results are so much better that the alternative of taking meds twice a day for 10 years or doing nothing and dealing with diabetes and its consequences.
    I am a ‘chocoholic’ as Steve knows, but I always balance it up with exercise. It’s seems to be working OK so far! :)

  3. NotThePest says:

    I began lifestyle changes AFTER my type II diagnosis, however, not right after because my doctor didn’t tell me how important it was. It wasn’t until about four years after that I began my own research and dropped what I called my Fallacy of Inevitability thinking and got busy with exercising.

    Realizing it was better to make one change at a time, working on one thing until it became a habit, I began exercising–intentional walking–Feb. of 2006. I began keeping a log of how many miles I did a day on an Excel spreadsheet so I could over time do an analysis.
    Overtime my diet seem to self-adjust because the food cravings I gave in to, stop being an issue and my body (mouth, tongue) began finding other foods that I didn’t like (think fruits and vegetables) more appealing. It also took less to fill me up. This change of portion size reduction came on its own it wasn’t something I worked on. I think my exercising began clearing out some of the “sediment” in my blood vessels and then my body became more efficient in pulling out the nutrients in the foods I ate (That statement is only antidotal as I haven’t any scientific study to back it up. It also came from an experience I had while hiking in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest, in the USA near the Canadian Border, in the State of Washington. I noticed that all the streams running down the mountains, fast moving water, were clear, no sediments, etc. , as opposed to the Mississippi River near its mouth at the Gulf of Mexico where it is flat. That water is murky and filled with sediment. I used that analogy and visual as my motivation to exercise every morning.) I also had heard this saying from some health professionals, “We are a nation of overweight and undernourished people” knowing how much some of overweight undernourished folks ate. I’ve also read research on how exercise promotes the growth of collateral blood vessels in adults and helps change the elasticity of the same said vessels.

    • Steve says:

      Very inspirational! Great message!

      > my body (mouth, tongue) began
      > finding other foods that I didn’t
      > like (think fruits and vegetables)
      > more appealing

      I like how you put this! I have found the same thing happening to me as I’ve got older.

      Love the river analogy. When I hop on my exercise bike this afternoon, I will think of those fast running clear streams :)


  4. John S says:

    Wow! Where do I start? Conspicuously absent from these studies is the fasting insulin levels of the study participants. I doubt anyone ever measured them which is a crying shame and scientific error of Biblical proportions.

    I’ll give you the short story. What the mainstream medical people call ” adult onset or Type 2 diabetes” is really just the end stage SYMPTOM of insulin resistance. When we treat a symptom without primarily addressing is doing the patient an injustice althouhg the medical profession and drug compnaies flourish. Insulin resistance is a disturbance in energy metabolism. Neonates born to Mom’s that eat lots of carbs have higher insulin levels than those born of Mom’s who do not eat lots of carbs. The summary of the study (your link) is a little confusing to me. Am I right that all study participants had elevated blood sugar levels? And yet they gave the control group a placebo? I have an ethical issue with that but lets go on.

    “Adult onset diabetes” does not usually just appear out of nowhere. There is usually a decades long creeping up of insulin resistance as measured by rising fasting insulin levels. This can be measured and monitored but virtually no doctors do it. The blood sugar over these decades is normal yet the insulin levels are rising and the a tipping point occurs when the insulin resistance is so bad that the blood sugar is elevated. This when a doctor declares the patent has diabetes while all along this disaster could’ve been prevented by treating the underlying cause primarily with diet. Exercise of course helps too and should be encouraged.

    That poor lady in the You Tube video said that her diabetes is just the way it is. I wonder who told her that. You don’t just get or catch diabetes – it’s a self inflicted condition caused by diet, being overweight and being sedentary. The main dietary problem is too many carbs and trans fats in any amount.

    The benefits described in the article were modest at best especially when you take into account that at the end of ten years the yearly diabetes incidence rate of the control was approaching that of the intervention and metformin groups.

    In order to treat insulin resistnace or to reverse adult onset diabetes all one has to do is restrict carbs so that the fasting insulin level drops to under 10 (the lower the better). The added benefits of this is that triglycerides, cholesterol and blood pressure will NECESSARILY reduce. The good thing about this is that it will work in virtually all patients. While I understand that this lifestyle change is hard to achieve I think that all patients deserve the correct, true facts surrounding this insulin resistance epidemic and let them choose.

    Below is a link to papers by Dr. Ron Rosedale who is a very respected leptin, aging and diabetes expert. Good reading!! Information is power.

    • Steve says:

      Hi John S,

      Thank you for your thoughts and information, and also for the link. Interesting reading!

      > Information is power.

      Thanks for the information!

  5. John S says:

    Your welcome! I see my proofreader missed some typos and omissions! LOL

    The biggest error (omission) was in the 2nd sentence of the 2nd paragraph. That should read:

    “TREATING a symptom without primarily addressing THE CAUSE is doing the patient an injustice although the medical profession and drug companies flourish.”

    Blood pressure is a good example. Most hypertension is labeled “idiopathic” which means that there is no known cause. Well, really there is a known cause for most hypertension and it is excessive insulin levels. Once again the short story is that excess insulin levels lead to water/fluid retention, loss of magnesium and stimulation of the nervous system that controls blood vessel restriction/dilation. Dramatic reductions in blood pressure are often seen when people lower their insulin levels by diet. Drs. Michael and Mary Eades, authors of Protein Power, describe this very nicely in their book Protein Power. Here’s a link to an article summarizing the Eades work.

    Do a Google search on Michael Eades to find more. Better yet buy Protein Power. In the USA it is in paperback and cost under $10.

    Ron Rosedale also observes the same thing in his practice when people stay on a low carb, healthy fat diet.

    • Steve says:

      I have not heard of the link between insulin and blood pressure before (keep in mind I am a computer programmer, not a doctor nor a nutritionist :-)

      For most of my life I loved eating starchy carbohydrates. Cereal, rice, pasta, and especially bread … I could never get enough of them.

      About 3 to 4 years ago I found myself starting to eat less starchy carbohydrates and more vegetables and good fats (especially olive oil). I wasn’t following any diet, or doing it for any other reason, except that is what my body was telling me to eat!

      These days I eat very little starchy carbohydrates, and instead eat lots of vegetables, olive oil, seeds and nuts, and a bit of protein. When I don’t eat my normal amount of vegetables and olive oil, I feel kind of sluggish the next day.

      I had not thought much about it before, but maybe the reason I like what I eat these days, is because of the insulin effect that you mention.

      Thanks for bringing this to my attention!

  6. John S says:

    Steve- usually I would say that it is just the opposite – that eating carbs raises you sugar peaks and lowers your sugar troughs (peaks and troughs if you plot out your blood sugar over time). When your blood sugar has wild swings over time that’s when you get carb cravings and feel sluggish and weird. I wouldn’t necessarily consider an insulin effect that makes you feel better but more aptly that your blood sugar is more stable and the ‘highs’ are lower and the ‘lows’ are higher.

    If you still have high blood pressure then I’ve talked to several people that are very impressed with a deep, slow breathing biofeedback method that apparently works very well. There is an expensive biofeedback machine of some sort but the music CD’s are just as good at a fraction of the cost. Here’s link to one:

    • John S says:

      FYI. Here is a link to an article published by the doctor who developed the RESPeRATE – a device that uses breathing exercises and soft music to reduce blood pressure.

      This the machine that I talked about in my prior post.

    • Steve says:

      Hi John,

      My BP now averages a healthy 110/75. I still take a bit of medication, but have cut back to about a quarter of what I was on. My diet, lifestyle and weight are better now, which I think is what dropped my BP down.

      I have heard of RESPeRATE and Breatheasy before (and in fact Kellie reviewed Breatheasy a few year ago). Not really my thing, but I am sure it could work for others.

      Thanks for all your posts and links. It is friday afternoon here now, and I look forward to doing some reading over the weekend.

      Enjoy your weekend!

bottom KellieMyHS

About Kellie

Kellie is 37 years old and together with her brother Steve makes up the My Health Software team.

She helps on the websites and gathering news for the programs. Kellie worked in the medical industry prior to having her two children (8 and 6) and has a strong interest in self awareness and management of health conditions.


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