Can Type 2 Diabetes and Prediabetes Be Reversed?

Have you heard that type 2 diabetes can be reversed and wonder if it is true? Yes, it is! Well, kind of…let me explain. Diabetes is a chronic (long-lasting) disease, so “remission” is generally the term used. Diabetes remission is defined as being in a healthy clinical state while maintaining blood sugar labs below the targeted levels for 6 months. (1) Remission is possible especially when diagnosed early and with the right lifestyle modifications and support. Additionally, if you have been diagnosed with prediabetes, preventing or delaying type 2 diabetes is also possible! In this article, we will explore the steps you can take to reverse prediabetes and type 2 diabetes and improve your overall well-being.

Understanding Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder characterized by high blood sugar levels resulting from insulin resistance (either your body doesn’t make enough insulin or it doesn’t use it they way it should). This condition typically develops due to a combination of genetic and lifestyle factors, including dietary habits, sedentary lifestyle, stress, and obesity. (2) Unlike type 1 diabetes, which is an autoimmune disease, type 2 diabetes is, for the most part, preventable and reversible through lifestyle changes. (3)

The Role of Diet

One of the most critical factors in reversing type 2 diabetes is adopting a healthy diet that is largely made up of whole, unprocessed fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and healthy fats. Limiting your intake of refined carbohydrates, sugary drinks, processed foods, and saturated fats is also important. It’s not only what you eat, but how much you eat that can make or break blood sugar control. Portion control is key because too much of even the healthiest of foods is not always a good thing. You should aim for a balance of macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, and protein) in every meal. For most people, eating a variety of foods every week can make sure you get all of the micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) you need too.

Physical Activity and Exercise

Regular physical activity is very important in reversing type 2 diabetes. And you don’t need a gym membership either! (But that’s great if you have one already!) Exercises like brisk walking, cycling, or swimming (also called aerobic exercise) helps improve insulin sensitivity, lowers blood sugar levels, and promotes weight loss. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week, along with strength training exercises, like lifting weights, two or more days per week to build muscle and boost metabolism.(4) Don’t worry if you have never had an exercise plan before. Starting with light-intensity exercises and building up as you go is better than not starting at all! Be sure to talk to your doctor before starting any exercise plan to make sure you are choosing the right exercises for you. A physical therapist or professional trainer can help you develop a plan that can work for you.

Weight Management

Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial in reversing type 2 diabetes. Excess body weight contributes to insulin resistance and can make blood sugar management more challenging. Small changes make big differences so even a modest weight loss (~7-8.5%) can have significant benefits for blood sugar control and overall health. (5) Aim for 1-2 pounds of weight loss per week by eating a balanced diet and sticking to a good exercise routine.

Stress Reduction and Sleep

Stress and poor sleep can negatively impact blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity. (6) Think about what helps you decrease stress. Is it meditation or deep breathing exercises? Maybe you can add a yoga class to your exercise plan. Do you have a hobby you enjoy? Establishing a regular sleep routine that includes 7-9 hours of quality sleep allows your body to repair and recharge (especially from all of those workouts!) and supports overall well-being and blood sugar regulation.

Importance of Medical Supervision

While lifestyle changes are crucial in reversing type 2 diabetes, it is important to seek medical supervision throughout your journey. Your healthcare provider can monitor your progress, adjust medication (if necessary), and provide guidance and support. Regular check-ups, blood tests, and consultations will help ensure your safety and optimize your success.


Reversing type 2 diabetes is an attainable goal but it does take dedication, commitment, and lifestyle changes. By adopting a healthy diet, engaging in regular physical activity, managing stress, getting sufficient sleep, and seeking medical supervision, you can take charge of your health and reverse (or prevent) this chronic condition. Remember that each person’s journey is unique, and results may vary. Be patient and persistent, and celebrate the small victories along the way!