How David Reversed Type 2 Diabetes in 5 Months Eating Fruit

Article written and reviewed byCyrus Khambatta, PhD
Published February 18, 2020

Meet David Rivest. 

Trained as a professional chef, David weighed 240 pounds when his doctor diagnosed him with type 2 diabetes. 

His doctor measured his A1c at 9.5% and immediately prescribed both diabetes and cholesterol-lowering medication.

In addition, his doctor told him to “eat a little better” without any indication of what that actually meant.

Since David didn’t think he really felt “sick” at the time of his diagnosis, he just kept eating the same way he always had eaten.

Changing his lifestyle certainly wasn't a priority, and switching to a plant-based diet was absolutely the last thing on his mind.

However, when his doctor told him to start taking insulin, David decided that it was time to begin changing his lifestyle. 

Motivated to find an alternative to insulin, he began searching for alternative solutions.

He first found the iThrive docuseries and became inspired to begin making changes to his diet. From there, he discovered Mastering Diabetes and learned how thousands of people reverse insulin resistance using food as medicine. 

Within 30 days following the Mastering Diabetes Method, it was clear to David that the program was working. 

By the 7 month marker he had lost 75 pounds, dropping from 240 pounds to 165 pounds. In addition, his cholesterol dropped from 220 mg/dL to 117 mg/dL.

His HDL and LDL cholesterol are now both 49 mg/dL, and his triglycerides are a remarkable 95 mg/dL. At his most recent doctor's appointment, his A1c was a 5.5%, and David is confident that he can keep it in the non-diabetic range over time. 

As a result of his incredible progress, David’s doctor has removed type 2 diabetes from his medical record, and he is now medication free!

Biomarker

June 2018

December 2019

Weight (lbs)

240

165

Triglycerides (mg/dL)

167

103

Total Cholesterol (mg/dL)

220

117

LDL Cholesterol (mg/dL)

116

83

HDL Cholesterol (mg/dL)

42

58

HbA1c (%)

12.5

5.5

Metformin (mg per day)

2000

0

David has lost a tremendous amount of body fat and his energy levels have skyrocketed. No longer content to sit at home all day, he has come out of retirement to work part-time.

He now enjoys an active lifestyle riding his bike and working out at the gym.

Now a self-declared “fruitaholic,” David enjoys 4-6 servings of fruit for breakfast, another 2-4 servings of fruit throughout the day, and a pint of frozen berries after his evening meal. 

In addition to fruit, David eats at least 2 pounds of vegetables per day, and as a result he never feels hungry or deprived!

In addition, his entire family has been inspired to join him on this journey and improve their own health as well.

Fruit and Diabetes Scientific Studies

With the rise in popularity of low-carbohydrate and ketogenic diets, many individuals have minimized or even eliminated their fruit intake out of fear that fruit will increase their overall blood glucose levels.

However, recent scientific research on fruit intake and diabetes, shows that eliminating fruit from your diet actually increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. For people who have been diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, eliminating fruit intake is associated with worse health outcomes.

One study involving 3,300 women in China found that high fruit consumption during pregnancy was associated with lower blood glucose levels, even among women who ate high glycemic fruits during pregnancy. Pregnant women who ate no fruit or only a minimal amount of fruit during pregnancy were most likely to be diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

A randomized, controlled, crossover study involving healthy female volunteers measured blood glucose levels after consuming a meal of 50 grams of starch in the form of wheat bread or rye bread, as well as the same amount of bread in addition to pureed berries. Interestingly, blood glucose levels were lower after eating bread with pureed berries than after eating the bread alone.

The bread and berry study was not just an isolated case. A meta-analysis of randomized, controlled feeding studies found that “catalytic” doses of fructose in the form of whole fruits produces a beneficial effect on the body that is much like the opposite of the effects of consuming large doses of fructose in the form of soft drinks and foods sweetened with corn syrup (Sievenpiper, 2012).

This small meta-analysis of six controlled feeding trials in 118 subjects over a median follow-up of 6 weeks showed that ‘catalytic’ doses (22·5–36 grams/day) of fructose in exchange for other carbohydrates may improve glycemic control without adversely affecting other cardiometabolic risk factors.

The reduction in HbA1c of 0.4 % was clinically significant, lying at the lower limit of efficacy expected for oral hypoglycemic agents.

What are the long-term effects of eating lots of fruit among healthy individuals as well as those living with diabetes?

A prospective study of 500,000 Chinese adults ages 30 - 79 tracked each individual’s health over a span of 7 years with blood tests, body measurements, and detailed questionnaires. Among individuals who were free of diabetes (either previously diagnosed or newly detected) at the start of the study, daily consumption of fresh fruit was associated with a 12% lower relative risk of developing diabetes, compared to never or rarely consuming fresh fruit.

In those individuals who already had diabetes prior to the start of the study, consuming fresh fruit more than 3 days a week was associated with the following outcomes (in comparison with those who consumed fruit less than one day per week):

  • A 17% lower relative risk of dying from any cause
  • A 13%–28% lower risk of developing diabetes-related complications affecting large blood vessels (e.g., ischaemic heart disease and stroke)
  • A 13-28% lower risk of developing diabetes-related complications affecting small blood vessels (i.e., kidney diseases, eye diseases, and neuropathy)

This is just the tip of the iceberg of the many studies that show that eating fruit is beneficial for glycemic control as well as your overall health, both over the short-term as well as over the long-term.

To the best of our knowledge, we have not found any studies demonstrating how increasing fruit intake causes adverse health outcomes.

Reverse Insulin Resistance Using Your Food as Medicine

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Let’s congratulate David for taking control over his health, reversing type 2 diabetes, and being an inspiration to his whole family. Like and share this article if you’re feeling inspired by David too!

About the author 

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD is a New York Times bestselling co-author of Mastering Diabetes: The Revolutionary Method to Reverse Insulin Resistance Permanently in Type 1, Type 1.5, Type 2, Prediabetes, and Gestational Diabetes.

He is the co-founder of Mastering Diabetes and Amla Green, and is an internationally recognized nutrition and fitness coach who has been living with type 1 diabetes since 2002. He co-created the Mastering Diabetes Method to reverse insulin resistance in all forms of diabetes, and has helped more than 10,000 people improve their metabolic health using low-fat, plant-based, whole-food nutrition, intermittent fasting, and exercise.

Cyrus earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University in 2003, then earned a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from the University of California at Berkeley in 2012. He is the co-author of many peer-reviewed scientific publications.

He is the co-host of the annual Mastering Diabetes Online Summit, a featured speaker at the Plant-Based Nutrition and Healthcare Conference (PBNHC), the American College of Lifestyle Medicine Conference (ACLM), Plant Stock, the Torrance Memorial Medical Center, and has been featured on The Doctors, NPR, KQED, Forks Over Knives, Healthline, Fast Company, Diet Fiction, and the wildly popular podcasts the Rich Roll Podcast, Plant Proof, MindBodyGreen, and Nutrition Rounds.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Scientific Publications:

Sarver, Jordan, Cyrus Khambatta, Robby Barbaro, Bhakti Chavan, and David Drozek. “Retrospective Evaluation of an Online Diabetes Health Coaching Program: A Pilot Study.” American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, October 15, 2019, 1559827619879106. https://doi.org/10.1177/1559827619879106.

Shrivastav, Maneesh, William Gibson, Rajendra Shrivastav, Katie Elzea, Cyrus Khambatta, Rohan Sonawane, Joseph A. Sierra, and Robert Vigersky. “Type 2 Diabetes Management in Primary Care: The Role of Retrospective, Professional Continuous Glucose Monitoring.” Diabetes Spectrum: A Publication of the American Diabetes Association 31, no. 3 (August 2018): 279–87. https://doi.org/10.2337/ds17-0024.

Thompson, Airlia C. S., Matthew D. Bruss, John C. Price, Cyrus F. Khambatta, William E. Holmes, Marc Colangelo, Marcy Dalidd, et al. “Reduced in Vivo Hepatic Proteome Replacement Rates but Not Cell Proliferation Rates Predict Maximum Lifespan Extension in Mice.” Aging Cell 15, no. 1 (February 2016): 118–27. https://doi.org/10.1111/acel.12414.

Roohk, Donald J., Smita Mascharak, Cyrus Khambatta, Ho Leung, Marc Hellerstein, and Charles Harris. “Dexamethasone-Mediated Changes in Adipose Triacylglycerol Metabolism Are Exaggerated, Not Diminished, in the Absence of a Functional GR Dimerization Domain.” Endocrinology 154, no. 4 (April 2013): 1528–39. https://doi.org/10.1210/en.2011-1047.