Question

Living with Diabetes

Can diabetes be cured with diet and exercise?

A Answers (2)

  • AToby Smithson, Nutrition & Dietetics, answered on behalf of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

    Diabetes cannot be cured but can be controlled. Diet and exercise are two lifestyle management tools to help control blood sugar levels and to help manage diabetes. People with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes can effectively manage their diabetes by following a healthy balanced diet (with a strong emphasis on carbohydrate management), exercising a minimum of 30 minutes five days per week, and carefully following their prescribed medication plan (whether oral medication/pills, injectable, or insulin). My website www.DiabetesEveryDay.com helps people with diabetes stay engaged with "self-management".

  • AWilliam Lee Dubois, Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism, answered
    Diet and exercise cannot cure diabetes. The best you can hope for, assuming your blood sugar is not at a life-threatening level (which it commonly is at diagnosis), changing your eating and activity patterns can cause you to lose weight. This weight loss can cause a type 2 diabetic’s insulin resistance to drop. That in turn may give the pancreas a chance to catch up. The diabetes can go into “remission” as long as the patient stays young and healthy.

    If you succeed with diet and exercise you’ve only beat back the first assault. Diabetes is chronic—it never, ever goes away. It is progressive—it will always get worse. The risk in the diet and exercise approach as monotherapy is a lack of vigilance. It will work for a while, but it will ultimately fail.
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