“The idea of controlling diabetes through diet and exercise has gained importance…”
That’s how a recent feature article in the Chicago Tribune began. “Research shows the most common form of diabetes, Type 2, can be controlled with diet and exercise alone and in some cases can even be reversed without diabetes medications,” the article continued.
Type 2 Diabetes Reversed
Chicago Tribune author Kathleen Louden then described a published study that found that a diet and exercise program at the Pritikin Longevity Center in Miami, Florida, reversed Type 2 diabetes in just three weeks in half the men studied.
In that study, the Chicago Tribune article reported, “the men who succeeded no longer met the blood-sugar criteria for having diabetes or needed diabetes medication.”
Other research on the Pritikin Program has shown similar results. In one, published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, Dr. Christian Roberts and colleagues at UCLA followed 31 overweight men, ages 46 to 76, during their three-week stay at the Pritikin Longevity Center.
Half the men had the metabolic syndrome (a pre-diabetes condition); the other half had Type 2 diabetes, or both diabetes and the metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome, a disorder now reaching epidemic numbers worldwide, consists of a cluster of problems, including abdominal obesity, high triglycerides, low HDL “good” cholesterol, high blood pressure, and elevated fasting blood sugar. Having the syndrome puts one at major risk for diabetes and heart disease.
In just three weeks of diet and exercise therapy at Pritikin, the men’s health improved dramatically. In about 50% of the men, the Pritikin Program reversed the clinical diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
“A Phenomenal Clinical Response”
The three-week lifestyle intervention at Pritikin “showed a phenomenal clinical response,” wrote Drs. Frank Booth and Manu Chakravarthy of Washington University School of Medicine in an editorial in the same issue of the Journal of Applied Physiology.
Past studies have proven the benefits of diet and exercise in reducing risk factors for epidemic illnesses like diabetes. But most showed benefits “after many months to years,” stated Booth and Chakravarthy.
That’s why this new study on men following the diet-and-exercise program at the Pritikin Longevity Center – and the fast and profound results they achieved – is so “provocative,” pointed out Booth and Chakravarthy in their editorial entitled “Physical Activity and Dietary Intervention For Chronic Diseases: A Quick Fix After All?”
In the study, the three-week program at the Pritikin Longevity Center:
- Decreased LDL “bad” cholesterol by 26%, total cholesterol by 25%, and triglycerides by 28%;
- Enhanced insulin sensitivity and decreased fasting insulin levels by 6 and 30%, respectively;
- Reduced oxidative stress, the process whereby free radicals cause inflammation in the artery walls, triggering plaque rupture and heart attacks, by 20%;
- Decreased the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein by 39%;
- Decreased factors that damage the endothelium, the inner lining of the arteries, by 20%;
- Decreased MMP-9, a marker of plaque instability and progression, by 25%; and
- Increased nitric oxide production, which expands vessels and allows blood to flow more freely, by 9%.
These results were all the more impressive, wrote Drs. Booth and Chakravarthy, because the men did not have to wait till they had lost a lot of weight before attaining them. After shedding just 6 to 10 pounds, on average, they improved virtually all factors that lead to heart disease and diabetes. Put simply, losing weight takes time, but getting healthy can happen very, very quickly.