I get it… I really do. Scientists like when results have endured real, rigorous testing to support them before using them to issue any official guidelines.
But that doesn’t make it any less frustrating when researchers ignore the obvious because it wasn’t proven in a laboratory. And I’ve gotten really tired of having to defend common sense in the face of increasingly ridiculous treatment recommendations — especially when it comes to diabetes management.
That’s why this latest study is such a breath of fresh air.
New research has found that intensive aerobic exercise, paired with smart nutrition, can tighten glycemic control better than so-called “standard care” in Type 2 diabetics. This means there’s less need for blood sugar meds. But as exciting as that is, that’s not what has me so thrilled.
I’ve been using these types of approaches for the past 25 years at my clinic — and with enormous success too. So the fact that they work is hardly surprising. But get this: The authors of this study actually came out and admitted that lifestyle interventions are superior to the current standard of diabetes care.
These results appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association. And all I can say is, FINALLY! I can practically hear the chorus of angels singing.
This was a Danish study. (Of course — good luck getting this kind of admission in the U.S.) And it found that three-quarters of the patients studied were able to reduce their use of diabetes medications when paired with intensive lifestyle intervention.
That’s bad news for Big Pharma… but it’s absolute music to my ears.
So what, exactly, constitutes an “intensive” lifestyle intervention? In this study, it meant 30 to 60 minute aerobic training sessions, five to six days a week. (Two to three of these workouts included resistance training.)
It also meant dietary changes, with the ultimate goal of getting BMI at or below 25. (In other words, below the “overweight” threshold.)
“Standard care,” meanwhile, featured individual counseling and your typical target-driven pharmaceutical therapies.
In the end, an “intensive lifestyle intervention” improved HbA1c — an important measure of long-term blood sugar control — in comparison to the standard treatment group.
Specifically, results showed that nearly 74 percent of patients in the lifestyle intervention group were able to cut their diabetes drug use. That’s compared to just over 25 percent in the standard care group.
These results reflect similar findings from a previous study called Look AHEAD, which showed that similar lifestyle interventions can also improve blood pressure levels and cholesterol profiles over the course of several years.
But ten times as many patients in this most recent study were able to lower their use of diabetes drugs. And needless to say, that’s a result worthy of its own headlines.
It’s also great news for me as a doctor — and certainly for you as a patient. Considering how many complications accompany this disease — amputation, dementia, erectile dysfunction — choosing the most effective treatment path is a no-brainer.
And if simply exercising more and eating better will make the most difference, who wouldn’t choose that over artificial medications that ultimately come with their own list of scary side effects? You can learn about even more drug-free strategies for preventing and reversing prediabetes, Type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome in my Metabolic Repair Protocol.
All in all, the diabesity epidemic isn’t going away anytime soon — in fact, it just keeps getting worse. Maybe, just maybe, this will finally convince the world that it’s time to stop using prescription drugs as a band-aid for issues we could solve completely with a little bit of willpower and a healthier lifestyle.