Type 2 diabetes has long been considered a chronic, progressive disease. Patients have had little hope for improvement, often requiring expensive medications like insulin to at best manage their symptoms. Yet, by addressing the root cause of type 2 diabetes, it can be reversed—even without medications or surgery.
As a physician with Virta Health, which offers a treatment to reverse diabetes through personalized nutrition paired with virtual care, I’m lucky enough to see this in practice every day.
One recent afternoon, I told six different patients that they didn’t have to take their insulin anymore! Our clinical trial patients experience similarly life-changing results—at one year, 94% of patients eliminate or reduce insulin usage.1 All achieved through simple and sustainable lifestyle modifications.
Built-in assumptions from both patients and physicians, however, perpetuate myths about reversal and create a lot of questions. Here are some of the most common ones, and how they are debunked.
Myth 1: Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease, making ‘reversal’ impossible.
Let’s start by defining ‘reversal.’ For us at Virta, diabetes is reversed in a patient if their blood sugar drops below 6.5%, without the use of diabetes-specific medications.2
Decades of research prove reversal is possible. We’ve taken that research and expanded on it through our clinical trial, to create a treatment that combines nutrition therapy and technology to reverse diabetes in the majority of patients. Other health benefits include significant weight loss and improvements in blood pressure, inflammation, and markers of cardiovascular disease risk.
I’ve personally seen thousands of patients reverse their diabetes via our treatment, from all walks of life. In Virta’s clinical trial, 60% achieved diabetes reversal at one-year.3 These advancements are truly game-changing.
Myth 2: Diabetes reversal isn’t sustainable.
Questions of sustainability can arise with any lifestyle change, but most of my patients maintain their success, and here’s why.
Imagine the common scenario of someone who has been on insulin for two decades and had limited feeling in their feet for just as long. For that patient, the right reversal treatment can make insulin unnecessary and bring back feeling they thought was lost forever, often within a matter of weeks. Once someone experiences this, there is no going back.
Technology also plays a significant role and allows continuous, app-based support from coaches and physicians. This ongoing guidance, and the health improvement from diabetes reversal, make the results last.
Myth 3: Diabetes can only be reversed through bariatric surgery.
Bariatric surgery is often touted as the only long-term diabetes reversal solution, but that is entirely false. Diabetes can be reversed without the risk and expense of an invasive surgery.
Further, bariatric surgery restricts itself to patients with diabetes who have a certain BMI. While the majority of people who are diagnosed with either diabetes or prediabetes are overweight or obese4, people who are either thin or at a normal weight can certainly develop diabetes, too. For them, bariatric surgery isn’t just a risky option—it’s not an option at all.
Diabetes reversal through Virta is available to patients with diabetes regardless of BMI and provides a solution that’s more effective, cheaper, and safer than surgery.
Myth 4: I’ve been on insulin for over 10 years, so reversal isn’t an option for me.
As a Virta physician, I’ve seen patients who have been on insulin for decades reverse their diabetes with the right lifestyle changes. Our clinical trial participants experience similar outcomes.3 Many of my patients eliminate the need for medications altogether, and those who don’t dramatically reduce their dose. Length of time on diabetes medications, whether insulin or otherwise, is not a barrier for pursuing diabetes reversal.
Myth 5: I have specific dietary needs, so diabetes reversal won’t work for me.
Diabetes reversal is achievable regardless of your dietary preferences. People who eat vegan, vegetarian, pescetarian, Kosher, or have any type of restriction, allergy, or cultural preference can successfully reverse their diabetes. There is no one-size-fits-all treatment. At Virta, we work directly with patients to create a personalized nutrition plan that works for them. I’ve treated people of all ages, locations, religions, and ethnicities based on their unique needs.
In short, diabetes reversal is an incredible option for many patients who are struggling with their metabolic health. It’s completely safe, sustainable, and customizable to any lifestyle.
To learn more about Virta Health’s diabetes reversal options available through Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, visit virtahealth.com/bluecrossnc.
3: Athinarayanan SJ, Adams RN, Hallberg SJ, et al. Long-Term Effects of a Novel Continuous Remote Care Intervention Including Nutritional Ketosis for the Management of Type 2 Diabetes: A 2-year Non-randomized Clinical Trial. Frontiers in Endocrinology. 2019; 10:348. (doi: 10.3389/fendo.2019.00348)
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) offers health and wellness programs as a convenience to aid members in improving their health; results are not guaranteed. Blue Cross NC contracts with Virta Health and is not liable in any way for goods or services received. Virta Health is an independent company providing diabetes reversal services on behalf of Blue Cross NC and does not offer Blue Cross or Blue Shield products or services. Blue Cross NC reserves the right to discontinue or change this program at any time. This program is educational in nature and intended to help members make informed decisions about their health and comply with their doctor’s plan of care. Decisions regarding care should be made with the advice of a doctor. This offering is available to select member segments. Eligible members must be between the ages of 18 and 79 with a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. There are serious medical conditions that would exclude some members from this program. Start the application process now to find out if you qualify. Blue Cross NC offers multiple diabetes reversal programs. Eligible members can participate in one diabetes reversal program at a time.
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