Managing Diabetes Naturally

Diabetes is the fastest growing chronic disease in the world. The International Diabetes Foundation estimates that approximately 10,5% of the adult population (20-79 years old) world wide suffered from diabetes in 2021.1 They expect this figure to grow to 643 million by 2030, that’s a 20% increase! Worse still, estimates are that for every person with diabetes, there are two people in a pre-diabetic stage. Diabetes is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke and lower limb amputation. It is estimated to cause in excess of 2 million deaths a year and that number is rising fast. In this article we’ll look at strategies for managing diabetes naturally.

Conventional medical solutions for diabetes are often not all that good for your long term health. There has been considerable controversy over the drugs used to control (NB not cure!) diabetes. The popular drug Avandia was found to be potentially lethal. The manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline, was convicted of deliberately falsifying the research to show that the drug is safe.2 Actos has been implicated in increasing women’s chances of breaking bones and causing cancer, while Metformin’s side effects are frightening. They include gastrointestinal disturbances, increased risk of heart attack, vitamin B12 deficiency and a potentially fatal condition known as lactic acidosis.

Before looking at managing diabetes naturally, let’s look at what diabetes is. It is caused by the the body’s inability to process glucose (blood sugar) efficiently. Type 1 diabetics cannot produce insulin at all. This is incurable and the only solution is to take insulin daily. Type 2 diabetes is much more common. It occurs when the body produces insufficient insulin and the cells become resistant to it.

Excess sugar in the blood is corrosive to blood vessels, brain cells, kidneys and your eyes. It also feeds infections, cancers and promotes blood clots (it’s estimated that ±80% of diabetics die from cardiovascular disease!3) This excess sugar in the blood comes primarily from what we eat. A diet high in refined carbohydrates, white sugar, white flour & white rice, breads, pastas, breakfast cereals, cakes, sweets, fizzy cooldrinks, etc. causes the blood sugar to rise rapidly. As a protective measure, the pancreas produces hormones to neutralize the sugar. The main hormone for doing this is insulin. After eating a high GI meal, blood sugar levels rise rapidly and insulin is produced to lower it. This brings the blood sugar levels down, causing hunger pangs. Eating more high GI foods sends the blood sugar sky rocketing again. More insulin is produced, causing the the blood sugar to drop again and the process is repeated, over and over every day. The pancreas eventually gets worn out from producing massive amounts of insulin daily and produces less and less insulin. At the same time, the cells become resistant to assimilating large amounts of insulin. The result is Type 2 diabetes. The following graph depicts this beautifully:

Approximately 90% of diabetics suffer from Type 2 diabetes and the good news is that it can be controlled, and even reversed, by lifestyle changes.4 The researchers studied a group of obese adults with metabolic syndrome and Type 2 diabetes. In just three weeks 50% of the subjects showed significant reductions in symptoms after following a healthy diet and moderate exercise. Christian Roberts of the University of California, Los Angeles, lead researcher of the study said; “The study shows, contrary to common belief, that Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome can be reversed solely through lifestyle changes.” This is just one of many studies5,6,7 showing that lifestyle changes can have significant benefits for diabetics. Another study showed that lifestyle changes were twice as effective as taking medication!8

So what’s required for managing diabetes naturally? There are many simple strategies in the areas of diet, weight management and exercise.

1. Diet

Eat as healthily as you can, choosing wholegrains, oats, fresh fruit and vegetables, pulses (lentils, beans, peas, etc.) fish and lean meats. Avoid eating processed, fast foods, crisps, sweets and cookies which will raise your blood sugar levels. In between meals snack on nuts and fresh fruit. Rather than drinking fruit juices, have smoothies. Fruit juices contain all the sugars but no fibre, which is in the whole fruits. This fibre slows the absorption of sugars. Here’s a handy link to info on low GI foods – foods index-and-glycemic-load-for-100-foods

It’s a good idea to always include protein if you do eat high GI foods. Protein helps to slow the absorption of the sugar and prevent blood spikes. Something like cheese, a boiled egg or some white chicken meat will help limit the rise of blood sugar levels. Another option is to add some vinegar to the meal. For example, balsamic vinegar makes a tasty salad dressing. A number of studies9,10 have shown that vinegar helps to slow the absorption of glucose into the blood.

Supplements for managing diabetes naturally

  • Take a multivitamin that contains chromium daily. Chromium increases the cell’s sensitivity to insulin, helping to overcome insulin resistance.11 Look for one that is derived from organic, whole foods for best results.
  • Adding fibre to you daily diet will also help reduce your blood sugar levels.12 Either in powdered or tablet form it has been shown to reduce blood sugar levels and assist in controlling Type 2 diabetes.
  • Another supplement that helps control blood sugar levels and decrease insulin resistance is magnesium.13,14,15 For best absorption make sure that the magnesium is chelated. Most multivitamins won’t contain enough magnesium, so consider a separate magnesium supplement.


  • Curcumin is an ingredient in turmeric and has been shown to lower blood sugar levels. If you can’t find a curcumin supplement, sprinkle some turmeric on your food every day. A review16of over 200 studies confirmed that “Curcumin could favorably affect most of the leading aspects of diabetes, including insulin resistance, hyperglycemia, hyperlipidemia, and islet apoptosis and necrosis.”
  • Adding a half teaspoon of cinnamon to your food every day also helps reduce blood sugar levels. It’s readily available everywhere and adds flavour to many dishes. Add it to oats, stews, curries and soups. In their book ‘Reverse Heart Disease Now: Stop Deadly Cardiovascular Plaque Before It’s Too Late’17 Drs. Sinatra and Roberts say “…. cinnamon stimulates circulation and boosts the ability of insulin to metabolize glucose and carry it into cells for energy production.”

None of these supplements and spices mentioned will interfere with any medication you may already be taking. Taking more than one of the above-mentioned supplements daily would be quite safe, the benefits will simply be multiplied.

2. Weight Management

There is a direct link between being overweight and getting diabetes. In fact, if you are obese you’re about 600% more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than if you’re a healthy weight. So controlling your weight is key to managing diabetes naturally. A simple way to check if you’re overweight is to check your Body Mass Index (BMI). You do this by by dividing your weight in kg by your height in metres squared. For example, if you are 1,8m tall and weigh 80kg your BMI is 80 ÷ 1.82 (1,8×1,8) = 24.7. You are bordering on being overweight!

  • Underweight = <18.5
  • Normal weight = 18.5-24.9
  • Overweight = 25-29.9
  • Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater

Losing as little as 5% to 10% of your overall body weight can greatly improve Type 2 diabetes. Obviously eating correctly is a major part of losing weight, but it makes it easier is we understand the mechanics of weight gain. Normally, blood sugar is converted to energy and any excess is stored in the liver and muscles18, to be converted into energy later. But when the levels are constantly high, our bodies convert the excess glucose into fat –so we’re making fat. When blood sugar levels are low, our bodies store the fat and hold on to it. So we go through the day – making and storing fat, as illustrated below!

Another factor that comes into play is leptin, the hormone that signals your brain to give you a feeling of fullness. Elevated blood sugar levels have been shown to interfere with leptin’s ability to signal the brain, so we tend to eat too much and gain weight.19

Furthermore, prolonged raised blood sugar levels stress the body,20 leading to elevated cortisol levels. This also leads to weight gain.21

A few simple ways to lose weight are:

  • Drink more water during the day. Very often when we feel hungry it’s actually our brain telling us that we are getting dehydrated. Drinking water stops the hunger pangs.
  • Eat small portions of low GI foods often. It’s far better to eat five small meals than to eat 2 big ones. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so don’t skip it. A healthy breakfast will set you up for a good day. For more info on eating right please read more on

3. Exercise

Humans were designed to be active, but modern lifestyles have made many people sedentary. In fact, some health authorities are calling ‘sitting the new smoking’. Getting off the couch can do wonders for your health and lifespan. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be strenuous exercise. Something as simple as a brisk 30 minute walk daily can add years to your lifespan and make dramatic improvements to your health.

A new study22 of a half-million people found substantial increased risk of death in individuals who sit most of the day at work. HOWEVER, the researchers found that just moving intermittently, even for as little as 15 minutes throughout the day, appears to mitigate the risk, as does regular exercise. There are numerous studies23 showing the benefits of getting active for diabetics, so start doing some exercise now.

The good news is that lifestyle changes will help in managing diabetes naturally. Strategies such as improving your diet, managing your weight and exercising more can help you treat, and even reverse, your Type 2 diabetes for ever. It will help you prevent the complications that invariably come with diabetes. The benefits to your health and quality of life will be worth far more than the effort of implementing these suggestions.

For more info go to the Health News page




3. Food is Better Medicine than Drugs” pg 133. Patrick Holford & Jerome Burne , 2006



















22. full-day-of-sitting-at-work


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