7 Essential Strategies To Fight Chronic Disease

Functional Medicine Doctor & NY Times bestseller By Mark Hyman, M.D.
Functional Medicine Doctor & NY Times bestseller
Dr. Mark Hyman is a practicing family physician, a 13-time New York Times best-selling author, and an internationally recognized leader, speaker, educator, and advocate in his field. He is the Director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine.

Heads up: the statistics are grim. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, type 2 diabetes in America has tripled since the 1980s, and researchers estimate one in three Americans will have diabetes by midcentury. More than one-third of American adults are obese.

Sadly, these numbers continue to increase and experts predict things will only become worse.

I've developed a term to describe this epidemic. "Diabesity" describes the continuum of health problems ranging from mild insulin resistance and overweight to obesity and diabetes, which contributes to most heart disease, cancer, and premature death in the world.

Tragically, these conditions are 100% preventable and reversible with some simple, effective nutrition and lifestyle modifications.

Sugar is the toxic drug that feeds this epidemic. Every American eats about 152 pounds of sugar and 146 pounds of flour (which turns to sugar) every year. That's about a pound of sugar every day.

Food is medicine. When you remove disease-producing food and add the right food, healing occurs quickly. These seven strategies can help prevent, treat, or reverse diabesity and help you regain health without drugs and surgery.

1. Remove sugar.

Empty calories from quickly absorbed sugar, liquid sugar calories, and refined carbohydrates — which all convert to sugar — create high insulin levels, eventually leading to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Chronically high insulin levels contribute to inflammation, high blood pressure, poor sex drive, increased cancer risk, and depression.

The number one thing you can do to reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes and obesity or reversing its impact? No contest: Eliminate or dramatically reduce sugar in all its many disguises.

2. Add whole, unprocessed foods.

Whole, unprocessed real foods balance your blood sugar, reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, and improve your liver detoxification to prevent or reverse insulin resistance and diabetes. Stock up on colorful fruits and vegetables, plenty of omega-3 fats, coconut butter and olive oil, legumes, nuts, and seeds.

3. Implement the right nutrients.

Supplements make your cells more insulin-sensitive and more effective at metabolizing sugar and fat. Combined with the right diet and lifestyle modifications, these nutrients can help you balance blood sugar and reverse or prevent diabetes. At the very minimum, I recommend:

  • A high-quality multivitamin and mineral
  • One to two grams of omega-3 fatty acids
  • 1,000 — 2,000 IUs of vitamin D3
  • 300 — 600 mg of alpha lipoic acid twice daily
  • 200 — 600 mcg of chromium polynicotinate
  • 5 grams of PGX, a unique type of fiber that controls appetite and blood sugar before each meal with eight ounces of water

4. Exercise.

While even a 30-minute walk can help, vigorous becomes the key to help balance blood sugar and lower insulin levels. Get your heart rate up to 70% to 80% of its maximum capacity for 60 minutes, up to six times a week. Step it up a few notches with high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and strength training. Studies show HIIT can benefit type 2 diabetes and obesity. Best of all, you can do it in just minutes a day.

5. Sleep well.

Insufficient sleep or poor sleep damages your metabolism, spikes sugar and carb cravings, makes you eat more, and increases your risk for numerous diseases including Type 2 diabetes. One study among healthy subjects found even a partial night's poor sleep could induce insulin resistance. Prioritize sleep so you get eight hours of solid, uninterrupted shut-eye every night. Create a sleep ritual that includes herbal therapies, creating total darkness and quiet, and relaxing with my UltraBath.

6. Control stress.

Chronic stress spikes insulin, cortisol, and inflammatory compounds called cytokines. This hormonal havoc drives the relentless metabolic dysfunction that leads to weight gain, insulin resistance, and eventually type 2 diabetes. Managing stress becomes a critical component of obesity and diabetes management. You can't eliminate stress, but you can learn to control it. Meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, massage, laughing, and dancing are among the best ways to manage stress and reverse type 2 diabetes.

7. Measure.

Research shows that people who track their results lose twice as much weight and do twice as well. Begin by getting a journal to track your progress. What should you track? In addition to what you eat, you'll want to get a baseline of all measurements: your weight, weight, waist size, body mass index (BMI), and blood pressure (optional). Many patients become inspired when they see their results on paper.

What strategy would you add to reverse diabesity? Share yours below or on my Facebook page.

Mark Hyman, M.D.
Mark Hyman, M.D.
Dr. Mark Hyman is a practicing family physician and an internationally recognized leader, speaker,...
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Mark Hyman, M.D.
Mark Hyman, M.D.
Dr. Mark Hyman is a practicing family physician and an internationally...
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