In today’s world, diabetes is a big deal. It affects a large proportion of the population and is growing at an alarming rate both in the U.S. and worldwide.
30 million people have type 2 diabetes in the U.S., despite the fact that it’s largely a reversible condition. An estimated 2-4 million people have type 1 diabetes in the U.S. alone, and in our country, almost 85 million are living with prediabetes, along with millions more living with type 1.5 diabetes, type 3 diabetes, gestational diabetes, and MODY – most without even knowing it!
Worldwide, there are a minimum of 535 million people who could be disease free in the next 6 months. And over 10+ million people could live healthy, happy, and fulfilling lives without the fear of more autoimmune conditions and the nasty complications of autoimmune type 1 diabetes, like kidney disease, fatty liver disease, peripheral neuropathy, and cognitive decline.
That’s why this is important. If you have diabetes, you’re absolutely not alone. No matter what form of diabetes you have, there is a simple, easy set of lifestyle changes that can transform your life. That’s not hyperbole. This is real.
In this article, we’ll share a strategy that you can implement in your life starting today, one that is based on a set of scientific principles that have been around for more than 100 years. If you take this information seriously, it can positively impact your health, change the way you look, change the way you feel, change the way you think, and change the numbers you see in your blood work.
There’s no small print here, no disclaimers, and no asterisks. This is a proven method, and it just works.
100+ Years, 1000+ Studies, and 10,000+ Success Stories
I’ve been living with type 1 diabetes for almost 20 years (along with alopecia universalis and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis), and for the first few years, I followed conventional wisdom and conventional doctor recommendations of a high-fat diet with very low carbohydrate intake.
But all that got me was fatigue, exhaustion, weight gain, and constant, unpredictable blood glucose readings. So I started doing some research on my own lifestyle, got my Ph.D. in Nutritional Biochemistry at UC Berkeley, and built a method that transformed my life – one that left me with more energy, feeling fitter than I’d ever been, and knowing I could control my blood glucose with precision.
I partnered with Robby Barbaro to build a team of hard-working and outside-of-the-box thinkers, including my wife Kylie Buckner, an RN with more than 20 years of experience as a nurse, nurse educator, and nurse leader. This team of brilliant coaches includes RNs, RDs, CDEs, and others who have all been trained in the rigorous science of plant-based nutrition, and together we’ve changed the lives of more than 10,000 people directly through our coaching program and our NY Times Bestselling book.
But the funny thing about this entire process is that the research has always been there, some of it for more than 100 years. We’re talking about thousands and thousands of studies dating back to the 1920s, and they all point to one thing – the method we’re about to share with you today.
The Earliest Research
In 1926, Dr. W.D. Sansum published a paper reporting on what he called a “radical experiment” he’d been conducting on 150 of his patients. He increased carbohydrate-rich food in his patients' diets by adding white bread, potatoes, low-fat milk, and fruit.
The goal was to make his patients feel better and improve their quality of life. That’s exactly what happened, but the real surprise was that his patient’s insulin requirements did not change.
Even though the diet was still high-fat according to modern understanding (43% of calories), simply adding more carbohydrate-rich food and lowering the overall fat content resulted in significantly improved insulin sensitivity.
Then in 1927, J. Shirley Sweeney, MD, published a fascinating study with 23 male medical students split into four groups. The subjects in the first group were given a high-protein diet consisting of lean meat and egg whites. Subjects in the second group were fed a fat diet including oil, mayonnaise, cream, and butter.
Subjects in the third group were not given any food and instead fasted for two days. Subjects in the fourth group were given a carbohydrate-rich diet consisting of sugar, candy, pastries, bread, potatoes, syrup, fruit, brown rice, and oats.
All subjects underwent an oral glucose tolerance test, and the results were fascinating.
The carbohydrate diet showed the greatest level of glucose tolerance. At the 2-hour mark, the average blood glucose amongst the carbohydrate group was 96 mg/dL, which is considered a non-diabetic blood glucose value despite the fact that they ate processed carbohydrate-rich junk food.
The average blood glucose level on the high-fat diet was 173 mg/dL, which suggests that in as little as 2 days, non-diabetic medical students began displaying the symptoms of type 2 diabetes.
In response to this, Dr. Sweeney took his experiment one step further. The students who showed the highest blood glucose readings on the high-fat diet were fed the high-carbohydrate diet and vice versa.
When these students switched from one diet to the next, their blood glucose values changed rapidly. Those who ate a high-fat diet experienced blood glucose values greater than 190 mg/dL and those that ate a carbohydrate-rich diet experienced blood glucose less than 100 mg/dL.
This evidence was one of the first papers to clearly demonstrate that high blood glucose occurs in response to an increasing quantity of dietary fat (and not carbohydrate energy).
Further Exploring This Correlation
In 1930, Israel Rabinowitch, MD, started experimenting with high-carbohydrate, lower-fat diets in his patients. He used a very methodical approach, where he taught the diet to patients using wooden blocks to help them understand portion sizes.
His diet plan consisted of the following:
Breakfast: 1 egg and 1 fruit, together with 10 grams of butter, 3 pieces of bread, and 4 ounces of low-fat milk
Lunch: 1½ ounces of meat or fish, some vegetables, fruit, and the same amount of butter, bread, and milk
Dinner: 1½ ounces of meat or fish, vegetables, fruit, and the same amount of butter, bread, and milk
The bread alone contained 162 grams of total carbohydrates per day, which was a significant departure from standard treatment at the time. Dr. Rabinowitch made it very clear that bacon, fatty meats, fish, and cream were forbidden, with a total of approximately 24% of total calories of fat per day.
In 50 patients, Dr. Rabinowitch reported the following results:
Insulin-dependent patients required less insulin and fewer injections
In non-insulin-dependent patients, adding carbohydrates to the diet did not stimulate the need for exogenous insulin (as previously believed)
Improved blood glucose control in all patients
Lower cholesterol levels in all patients
The brilliance of this study is that his patients were not calorie-restricted – they ate a similar number of calories on both diets.
This Is Not New Knowledge
My point in going all the way back to the 1920s is that this research has been around for a while. Myself, Robby, and the Mastering Diabetes community were just some of the people who listened and began putting it together. This was considered very strange at the time, because the rest of the diabetes world seemed to be on the opposite side, telling doctors and individuals that carbohydrates are the cause of diabetes, despite the fact that the research literally told the opposite story.
We knew people needed to learn the truth, and we wanted to make it easy to understand. As a result, we developed the Mastering Diabetes Method over years of documentation, testing, and iteration, using the 4 basic principles:
Eating a low-fat, plant-based, whole-food diet
Participating in enjoyable daily movement
Using intermittent fasting to improve your results
And documenting your daily habits to track exactly how each change affected your body.
This has been a success for tens of thousands of people already, which you can see on our results page, our A1c Miracle page, and our YouTube Channel, but we believe the whole world deserves to know that diabetes is not the end, and it is not a life-ruining diagnosis.
We’re not superheroes here. We didn’t go on some intergalactic journey to find a miracle cure. We just looked at the research and found some things very wrong with the way diabetes is treated today.
We made some changes, tested them, and saw that they worked for us. And any good science, any good method is repeatable, so we decided to share it with hundreds of thousands of people. From there, we found that even though people come from different walks of life, the solution to lower blood glucose doesn’t care how old you are, what race you are, or what your genetic history is.
You’re welcome to dig up any factor or data point you can to distinguish two humans from one another, but if they’ve both got diabetes, we guarantee we can teach them how to improve their life.
And we can do the same for you.
Why Does No One Know About This?
Well, there are a few reasons why you might not have been told this information already. The first – it’s profitable for you not to know. Meat, dairy, sugar, and healthcare lobbies want us to eat more meat, more dairy, and more sugar-laden products. And guess why?
They make money. And we get physically addicted. Then we buy more. And they make more money.
Then we get sick. And spend more money than we would have on unnecessary health-related expenses. And the pharmaceutical industry makes money.
There are many stories in the news about important scientific studies being suppressed, about scientific research being paid for by special-interest groups and pharmaceutical companies, and about fraudulent data being published in prominent scientific journals.
It happens every day, and most of these stories don’t make it to the mainstream media, because they’re just flat-out boring, and don’t capture the attention of the masses.
And the conflicts that exist online on social media are intense, and only get more contentious over time, as an increased amount of misinformation is spread throughout the population.
It’s not necessarily our fault. The truth is that the majority of people just
Want to eat meat
Want to eat sugar
Want to eat ice cream
Want to drink alcohol
And don’t want to move their body as much as they probably should
This facilitates industries that prey on convenience and short-term solutions, and get healthy quick schemes that say “You can live however you want… as long as you buy our product or subscribe to our diet.”
And guess what? The never-ending search for convenience foods, supplements, and miracle products that promise to rapidly “fix” your health causes suffering in the long term, and as long as people continue to ask for it, billion-dollar industries will continue to provide short-term solutions.
It’s a vicious cycle that can be almost entirely avoided simply by making more intelligent choices at the grocery store, when preparing your own food at home, and when eating out at restaurants.
It’s not rocket science, it just requires that you have an open mind to eating the way scientists have discovered is best for human health, commit to the process with every ounce of your being, surround yourself with like-minded people, and put on your long-term goggles.
Navigating A World of Health Misinformation.
The world of Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube is littered with overnight health experts that honestly believe that a low-carb diet is an answer to long-term health. It’s all over social media
They’re not bad people – they’re just experiencing short-term benefits, sharing their experience with others, searching for communities of others who feel the same way, and perpetuating incorrect information without knowing it.
People want the newest, fanciest solution to solve their problems, and we don’t want to change very much or work very hard for it. Our society is built around convenience, which isn’t always a bad thing, but as long as that stays true, we’ll always have a chronic disease epidemic.
That’s not our fault. Yeah, it might be a little bit of laziness, but these foods and habits hijack your brain, make you think you need them, and that you can’t live without them. And it’s not just your friend Frank or your aunt Joy on Facebook that’s being misled.
Entire generations of doctors have entered the healthcare system and know next to nothing about the nutritional science of diabetes. How crazy is that? Your doctor might be giving you advice that works directly against your short-term and long-term health and can even worsen your diabetes health.
But just like social media influencers, they aren’t aware that they’re spreading scientifically inaccurate information. They’re not bad people – they’re just puppets inside of a giant confusing machine, trying to make sense of the information in their life.
There’s A Solution Though!
This all sounds scary, right? Well, we’re not here to scare you, we’re here to open your eyes to the fact that there’s a giant problem in the world of diabetes nutrition. And we don’t want you to be an unwilling pawn to self-serving industries only interested in making more money at the expense of your personal health.
This is the world in which we live. Look at myself and Robby! Even if you try to get healthy, you often feel like you’re just digging a deeper hole, because you’re being told incorrect information.
Millions of people die from unnecessary complications of diabetes every year. And tens of millions of people spend their diabetes-shortened lives feeling lethargic, overweight, unhappy, and lost.This is important to us. There are lives that can be saved by spreading the right information, and the good news is there is a solution, and it’s so simple, we wish that everyone knew about it.
There Is Hope for People With Diabetes
It’s funny, we talk about this method like it’s this big, groundbreaking thing, when in reality it comes down to three things – picking the right food, having fun in a physically active way, and fasting every so often.
You do that, and we can guarantee that you’ll see results. It doesn’t matter if you have type 1, type 1.5, prediabetes, type 2, type 3, or gestational diabetes – these steps work.So first, we’re going to touch briefly on why this method works. And then we’re going to give you the three-piece summary (and one bonus tip) that will let you master your diabetes.
Food – The Low-Fat, Plant-Based, Whole-Food Diet
For your diet, we recommend a low-fat, plant-based, whole-food diet. Now, that seems like a lot of specifics, but there’s a reason for each piece of that dietary recommendation.
Dietary Fat Causes Insulin Resistance. So Does Too Much Protein.
A buildup of dietary fat in your body causes insulin resistance, which is the underlying condition that causes high blood glucose, prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes, and can worsen the complications of type 1 diabetes significantly.
And guess what? Too much protein can increase your insulin resistance as well, it just has a different biological mechanism.
Now, we’ve reviewed the mechanism of this process quite a bit, so we won’t get into it too extensively here, but if you’d like to dive into the science you can do so in our extensive videos on both fat and protein and how they cause insulin resistance.All that science can get very complicated, but the solution to those facts – that both excess fat and protein cause insulin resistance – is simple. You just eat a diet that’s high in natural carbohydrates (which is where the “Low Fat” portion of the diet comes from. And if that scares you, you can read our article on the different types of carbohydrates here.
Meats Are Good Tasting. Plants Are Good For You AND Good Tasting.
Meats are high in both fat and protein, so at most, you want a small amount of them in your diet. But all over the internet, you can see people who are committed to eating high-fat diets like the ketogenic diet, or even more extreme versions like the carnivore diet.
And the main reason why people living with diabetes are drawn to the carnivore or keto diet is due to short-term results. It’s true that when you significantly reduce your carbohydrate intake, you can:
- Lose weight easily
- Lower your A1c
- Reduce your fasting blood glucose
- And lower your fasting insulin concentrations
Not only that, people WANT to eat meat because:
- Meat tastes good
- For many men, meat is often associated with being masculine
- It is backed by charismatic advocates, often with advanced medical degrees
- Eating meat is associated with some sort of primal strength and power, conjuring up images of powerful carnivorous animals like lions, tigers, and sharks
However, these are classic examples of using short-term results without looking at the long-term effects. The true results of a meat-based diet become more clear in the long term and include:
- A significantly increased level of insulin resistance
- High LDL cholesterol
- High fasting blood glucose values despite a low intake of carbohydrates.
Let’s take a brief moment to explain why
A Brief Dip Into the Data
The EPIC Study
The EPIC study (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition) is one of the largest investigations ever performed to investigate the connection between nutrition and chronic disease, involving hundreds of researchers, more than 500,000 participants, and twelve years of data.
What researchers discovered was very straightforward: Meat (especially processed meats like bacon, cold cuts, sausage, hot dogs, and hamburgers) increases your risk for type 2 diabetes while eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables reduces your diabetes risk.
The EPIC study also revealed that replacing 5 percent of saturated fat with fructose (from fruits or refined sources) reduces your diabetes risk by 30 percent and that replacing 5 percent of protein with fructose reduces your diabetes risk by 28 percent.
The Adventist Health Studies
This isn’t the only such large-scale example. In The Adventist Health Studies, an analysis of more than 8,000 people in this community over the course of seventeen years found extremely strong relationships between meat consumption and diabetes.
In comparison with people who ate zero meat, people who ate meat as infrequently as once per week were 29 percent more likely to develop diabetes and those who ate salted or processed meats were 38 percent more likely to develop diabetes.
Health Professionals Follow-Up Study
And the results spread across many studies and trials. In 2002, in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study researchers analyzed data from more than 42,000 male subjects over twelve years and found that men who ate more total and saturated fat developed significantly more cases of type 2 diabetes.
They found that men who ate processed meats (bacon, hot dogs, hamburgers, sausage, salami, and bologna) at least 5 times per week were 46 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who ate meat once a month.
Nurses’ Health Study
Maybe the strongest of them all is the Nurses’ Health Study. To this day, this study is one of the largest and most comprehensive on meat and diabetes risk ever performed. In 2011, researchers from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health performed an analysis of data from more than 200,000 men and women taken over the course of nineteen years.
Their results were tremendous. They found that both unprocessed and processed red meat consumption increased the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Eating just one serving per day of unprocessed red meat increased diabetes risk by 12 percent and eating one serving per day of processed red meat increased diabetes risk by 32 percent. The higher your meat intake, the greater your risk for the development of type 2 diabetes over the subsequent 4 years.
The results from a preponderance of evidence are clear – when you eat meat, your risk of diabetes increases, alongside your risk of dozens of other side effects. To learn more about this topic, you can read our article on the risks of the carnivore diet here.
That is why the second pillar of the low-fat, plant-based, whole-food diet is “plant-based”.
Eat Foods. Not Lab Experiments.
And the last element of the low-fat, plant-based, whole-food diet is to eat whole foods. And that isn’t a plug for the grocery store.
Think about it: apples are food. Oats are food. Fruits, vegetables, grains, even the more risky meats and animal proteins are foods.
A Twinkie – and the thousands of processed foods, candies, treats, and pseudo-foods like it – is a lab experiment.
The opposite of whole foods are processed foods, which are pumped full of addicting chemicals that can influence the neurobiology of your brain and cause intense food cravings, like the oft-mentioned high fructose corn syrup.
But the hard part is that food manufacturers have gotten quite good about DISGUISING lab experiments as food. Looking down the aisle, you’ll see packaged foods with “healthy looking” designs aimed at mimicking healthy foods, and be lulled into a false sense of security.
For a lot of people, this is the hardest part, and it’s a big part of what we train as part of the Mastering Diabetes Method. Damn food manufacturers! Why are you so good at what you do?
Meanwhile, whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and others simply are what they are – no experimentation or mind-controlling ingredients added.
We Call It The Green Light Diet
So if you combine the fact that eating too much fat and protein causes diabetes, that meat is full of health risks (and fat + protein), and that processed foods are packed full of added chemicals, all of this leads us to the low-fat, plant-based, whole-food diet, which we also call “The Green Light” diet.
We call it that because if you follow those recommendations, you have a green light to eat as much as you can. Because this lifestyle contains foods that are low in calorie density on purpose. So if you’re still hungry you can eat more. Period. Always.
I have been eating a Green Light diet for 19.5 years and I’ve managed to eat an average of 3,200 calories per day for 7,117 days and counting. And to this day, I’m still at a lower weight than I was when I started this program.
This is also thanks to the second pillar of our method – exercise.
Fun in the Sun (Or Snow or Rain or Shade or Home Gym)
Exercise is good for you. You can’t get most of the scientific community to agree on much other than gravity and the tides, but when it comes to the health benefits of exercise, there’s virtually no debate.
Exercise is healthy for your body, your mind, your emotional centers, your motivation, and your mood – but it’s also especially helpful for people with diabetes.
And this is true even with a small amount of exercise each day. Every time you activate your body and start to exercise, your body taps into your stores of glucose for energy, which is a huge benefit for individuals with type 1 diabetes since this effectively replaces the need for insulin during intense exercise.
But what’s even more notable is the fact that exercise causes a positive feedback loop that compounds results quickly!
Exercise is a great way to oxidize (or burn) glucose in your blood, and deplete the glycogen in your liver and muscles. And that’s a good thing, believe it or not. This exercise stimulates mitochondrial biogenesis, the process by which the muscles in your body create more power-consuming mitochondria. This is a complex biological mechanism that I actually studied in my Ph.D. program for 5 years, and we’ll be making a ton of content on this in the coming months
For now, think about the feedback loop in these terms.
Having more mitochondria in your muscles leads to more efficient muscle tissue.
More efficient muscle tissue leads to more oxygen processing for every minute of exercise, and more glucose oxidation.
More glucose oxidation leaves your body starting to consider other sources of energy, including burning the fatty acid causing insulin resistance (and diabetes)
Less insulin resistance then leads to lower blood glucose, and in many cases, the reversal of diabetes
And this feedback loop doesn’t just work internally. You’ll have more energy, a better mood, and stronger muscles – which will make you capable of exercising more and more intensely, starting the cycle all over again.
A Little Does a Lot
And the best part is that you don’t have to do much exercise to start this positive feedback loop. So push the image of having to hop off the couch and work out 7 days a week to see any changes.
You can start by walking for 10 minutes or going swimming for a little bit. Playing with your dog or your kids/grandkids is another great way to start. You can find a class, sport, or activity that you enjoy, or even just ride a bike to your next neighborhood gathering.
All you need is 15 minutes a day to start seeing results, and from there, you can take advantage of one of the best feedback loops you can find for your health!
Get Results Quickly With Fasting | Fast is Even in the Name!
When your body fat percentage is high, and you add 15 minutes of exercise per day, you can change your diet and change your body composition in months!
But if you’re looking for an even quicker set of results, there’s another trick you have up your sleeve. This brings us to the third pillar of the Mastering Diabetes Method – intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting is a strategy where you intentionally choose periods of the day where you go without food but still go about your day as normal. Your body still needs some energy, but it doesn’t have that omelet you usually eat for breakfast. So where does it go for those vital processes? It switches to burning extra fat stored in your cells and muscle tissue, along with recycling junk proteins from your body.
It’s basically your body’s natural recycling program, and while it might seem intimidating to go without breakfast, dinner, or a whole day without food, humans are actually built for this kind of behavior.
A little over 6000 years ago, human civilization began to form, but before that, we were hunter-gatherers, a lifestyle that isn’t conducive to three meals a day and snacks. But humans got along just fine – because we’re actually gatherer-hunters that are biologically designed to adapt to long periods of time without food (if need be).
Okay Cool, But What Are The Side Effects?
Most people who hear about this strategy are a little wary. There has to be some sort of catch, right?
Well, you’re not wrong. When you do intermittent fasting, you do have to get used to being a bit hungrier one day of the week, or during one part of your day (depending on your fasting schedule).
But your brain adapts quickly and starts reducing hunger signals during those times when you’ve decided you won’t have food. And then, you’ll experience:
More weight loss
Improved immune health
Improved diabetes health
And it gets easier and cheaper to feed yourself
And the list goes on. There are a few groups of people that should ask their doctor before starting intermittent fasting – like pregnant mothers and young children – but for the vast majority of people, intermittent fasting is a simple, affordable, and effective way to supercharge your results.
The Decision Tree | Treat Your Life Like a Lab
And in order to track those results in one place, you can follow the fourth piece of the Mastering Diabetes Method – The Decision Tree.
Now, this is an admittedly tedious exercise, but it’s also the foundation of our program, designed to consolidate your food, insulin use, medication use, exercise, blood glucose checks, and notes in one place so that you can recognize patterns and solve problems in real-time.
We noticed that people were keeping all of their data in separate apps, trackers, and places, which wasn’t giving people one consistent location to get one clear picture of their diabetes health. This gives you a chance to track all of your numbers, actions, and medicines, and adds notable events like sleep, stress, and daily activities that might have an effect on your health more than you know!
Almost everyone complains about the decision tree at first, but once they see how powerful it is, that all changes!
But You Don’t Have to Go It Alone | Learn From the Experts
Now, nutritional biochemistry (and all of the science behind this method) is complicated. Mastering your diabetes doesn’t have to be.
If you’re struggling with high blood glucose, you want some guidance, or you want to figure out how this all works with your lifestyle, we have personalized coaching available to fit whatever your needs are.
We have a team of brilliant coaches that are also RNs, RDs, and CDEs, who have all been trained in the rigorous science of plant-based nutrition, and together with them we’ve directly changed the lives of more than 10,000 people, and indirectly changed the lives of more than 250,000 people.
Just visit www.masteringdiabetes.org/start to schedule a free consultation to talk with someone on our team, we’ll go through everything you've tried in the past, understand what has worked and what hasn't worked, and we’ll come up with a game plan that is guaranteed to improve your health.
And we guarantee it will because it’s based on YOUR responses, YOUR lifestyle, YOUR preferences, and YOUR unique metabolic health. This is your chance to finally take the guesswork out of reversing insulin resistance (permanently), losing weight, gaining a ton of energy, and reducing or eliminating your oral medications.So if you want to sit in the driver’s seat of your diabetes health and live the life you’ve always wanted, without worrying about your risk for future diabetes complications, you can join us at www.masteringdiabetes.org/start.
The Final Word
So what’s the final word on all of this? Well, the nutritional science around diabetes is complicated, and that is a problem. Because millions of people have it, millions of people have their lives ruined by it, and millions more die from diabetes and its complications.
But if you or a loved one is living with diabetes, you’re not alone. And despite all the misinformation on the internet today from companies trying to profit from you… and fellow health-seekers who haven’t quite got the research, there really is a simple and straightforward solution.
We can compress the entire Mastering Diabetes Method down into a few tips.
You eat mostly fruits, vegetables, legumes and intact whole grains – and you make sure all those plants are actually whole, and actual foods, not lab experiments
You get out and have fun, or you stay in and have fun. All that matters is you move a little bit every day
And if you want fast results, think “fasting”. It’s a surefire way to increase your insulin sensitivity repeatedly, and it works like wildfire.
And that’s it. You can reverse insulin resistance in weeks if you go all in and fully commit to the process. And you can do this by yourself starting tomorrow. But if you have any questions, reach out to us on social media or over at www.masteringdiabetes.org/start and a member of our team will be there to guide you to exceptional health.
See you soon!