Diabetes alert

Over 20 million people in the United States have diabetes. That doesn’t count the 8 million who have diabetes and don’t know it yet.1 Type 2 diabetes has been called the most challenging health problem of the 21st century. The dangerously high prevalence of overweight and obesity is at the heart of this problem.

Testing blood glucose

Every 19 seconds, someone new is diagnosed with diabetes.2  The ADA is correct – it is time to stop diabetes. The problem is they have no idea how to do this. They have no idea that in over 90% of patients, type 2 diabetes can be effectively and relatively quickly reversed through my nutritarian diet-style and exercise. 

Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in adults and the leading cause of kidney failure. Sixty to 70 percent of diabetics have nervous system damage. Diabetes doubles risk of heart attack and stroke.1 This suffering is tragic because excellent nutrition and exercise can reverse diabetes, and are much safer than conventional care. Taking glucose-lowering medications does not prevent diabetes complications. In fact, they often cause weight gain, exacerbating insulin resistance. Some of these medications even increase the risk of heart failure. Diabetics who take medications and continue to remain overweight and consume their disease-causing diet continue to damage their organs, develop complications, and die prematurely.

Did you know that type 2 diabetes also increases the risk of cancer?  Scientists believe that this is at least in part due to insulin therapy. A review that analyzed data from several studies found that diabetic patients are 30% more likely to develop colorectal cancer, 20% more likely to develop breast cancer, and 82% more likely to develop pancreatic cancer.3  It is time to stop diabetes. So how do we stop it?

Simple. The ADA may encourage you to make small changes, afraid that you will give up if it looks difficult. But the truth is, a radical improvement in your health will require a radical improvement in your lifestyle. Some physicians may assume that patients will not be willing to adopt a diet that is based on unrefined plant foods, but they are wrong – a study comparing the American Diabetes Association guidelines to a whole-food, plant-based diet found exactly the opposite. Subjects assigned to the ADA diet reported that they felt more restricted in their dietary choices, and the rate of adherence was greater in the plant-based diet.4 Once people start to see positive changes in their health, they are enthusiastic about sticking to their plan.  The nutritarian diet-style I teach to my diabetic patients is even more effective. In fact, a study demonstrated that 9 out of 10 diabetics were able to come off all medications and have normal glucose readings. That essentially means they became non-diabetic. 

My Eat For Health dietary protocol is simply the most effective remedy for those with all types of diabetes. The type II can get completely well and the type I diabetics reduce their insulin by about half and stop the huge swings in glucose and prevent the devastating complications of diabetes.

The best diet for longevity, heart disease and cancer prevention, and a high level of overall health is also the best diet to prevent or reverse diabetes. It is a diet with a high nutrient per calorie ratio:

  • lots of non-starchy vegetables like greens, eggplant, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, and garlic

  • beans

  • raw nuts and seeds

  • limited fresh fruit

  • limited animal products

  • no sweeteners

  • no white flour

When those with diabetes follow my recommendations, it becomes relatively easy for them to eat liberally – not feeling deprived or restricted – and still lose their excess weight easily. Their diabetes will melt away astonishingly quickly, reducing or eliminating their need for medications.

Tony is no longer diabetic. He succeeded in restoring his health despite the failures of conventional diabetes care. Read his incredible story below.

“I am 57 years old. I have always had a weight problem like everyone in my family. In December of last year, after feeling strange for several months, my sister (who has been diabetic for 25 years) tested me with her meter & my blood sugar was 491. 

She dragged me to the ER where I got 2 shots of insulin & a meal that included turkey, gravy, a box of sweetened cranberry juice & chocolate pudding which my sister advised me not to eat. After paying the $2,400.00 tab, I was instructed to make an appointment with an endocrinologist & sent home with a prescription for Metformin, daily aspirin & NO dietary advice. My sister suggested buying a meter on the way home. None of the two doctors or RN’s suggested getting a meter & testing. I started taking the Metformin as instructed.

My appointment with an endocrinologist a few days later was another eye opener. As soon as he walked into the room, without even looking at me or my meter which I brought with me with 80 stored blood sugar readings, he said “You need insulin.” Then he started to do a physical & said “You need to be hospitalized with an IV because you’re dehydrated; do you have medical insurance?” When I said “no,” he said “Get some Pedialyte and Gatorade & drink 6 glasses of each per day.” I asked “Don’t those drinks have sugar in them?” He said “Not really.” He gave me a prescription for “Januvia” ($400.00 for 100 tablets) & directed me to take two/day. He then handed me an 1800 calorie/day diet & disappeared. 

After paying the $1,200.00 for the visit & labs, I started taking the medication as directed. After two weeks, the medication made me too ill to drive or exercise & somehow caused my intestines to become obstructed (gas or something) & I spent all night trying to go to the bathroom. Only being low on cash kept me from going to the E.R. again. I also had to get up 3 or 4 times each night to eat. I phoned the doctor several times over the next week to get a different medication but he never returned one single call so I stopped taking the medication. 

Naturally, I was afraid to eat anything because I was afraid my blood sugar would climb. At my next visit, when I told him the medication was making me sick, he said “Just keep taking it, the symptoms will subside when your body gets used to it.” He said my A1C was 8.9%. One week later, I found a different doctor but my new doctor wasn’t interested in seeing me unless I paid him another $1,200.00 to repeat the physical & labs from two weeks ago even though I had a copy of my labs & he could consult with the other doctor. 

I was running out of money after spending $4,000.00 in two weeks. I’m not insurable due to “preexisting conditions” – diabetes and carpal tunnel. Here in CA, an HMO has the right to deny coverage to anyone with an illness. You can imagine how stressed I was, having to choose between constant expensive medication & the illness it caused or high blood sugar with its consequences. 

While doing research on the web, I came across Dr. Fuhrman’s website and ordered Eat to Live and Eat For Health and started the program. With all the weight loss/nutrition books out there from Atkins & a bunch of others, I was skeptical. 

I started following the recommendations in the section “Advice for the Diabetic Patient” weighing 220 lbs on 1-8-09 – the same day I stopped taking all diabetes medication. Within 3 months, I weighed 195. I had new blood work completed on 4-8-09 with a new doctor. She downloaded my blood sugar numbers from my meter & said “Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it because it’s working." I explained Eat to Live, my typical meals & snacks & told her I stopped taking medication on my own three months ago. She later phoned me with my lab results: A1C: 6.0% which she said was in a non-diabetic range (4 - 6%) The improvement from 8.9% to 6.0% in 3 months on “Eat to Live” was far better than I expected. I would have been happy with 7.0%.

I have even found it easy to maintain these guidelines while eating out – even though my diabetes class educators said “If you’re diabetic, it is impossible to eat right at restaurants so try to avoid eating out altogether.” Yesterday, my family took me out to our favorite Mexican restaurant for my birthday. I had grilled vegetarian fajitas with tofu and black beans. Remembering the information in Eat to Live about fiber, I left the pasty processed rice alone, I had ONE tortilla chip, ate the whole cup of Salsa & left the flour tortillas alone. Just as you stated in Eat to Live, by doing that, I had room for the grilled vegetables, mushrooms & tofu. I tested my blood sugar two hours later, expecting it to be around 180 because I overate. It was 124. 

The next morning, after your suggested breakfast without processed cereal, substituting raw nuts & a diced, unpeeled apple, I was shocked to test at 78 two hours after breakfast & 30 minutes of exercise (NordicTrack cross-country skier). I was so astounded that I re-tested with another meter & it indicated 90. The biggest revelation was the fact that I HAD NEVER ACHIEVED THESE RESULTS WITH MEDICATION - Metformin and Januvia (which made me ill). 

I have attended five diabetes “education” classes & I am appalled that the “Certified Diabetes Educators” constantly hand out suggested meals with eggs & toast or processed cereal & milk for breakfast, daily roast beef or turkey sandwiches for lunch & more chicken or other meat at dinner & limiting fruit to 1-2/day. They also teach that protein stabilizes blood sugar so it’s important to eat meat & dairy at each meal. After those dietary recommendations, she then spoke at great length about the evils of high cholesterol, high blood pressure & high blood sugar, then she spent two hours talking about the various drugs available to treat them. I have always wondered about the notion that if you are eating the right foods, why would you need drugs to protect yourself from the damage they cause? I now weigh 188 pounds. 

When I chat on WebMD’s diabetes message boards, some people with Type 2 Diabetes want to know how I’m managing my blood sugar without medication & I always tell them about www.drfuhrman.com !”

The human body has an amazing capacity to heal, even from diabetes. All we have to do is establish the optimal nutritional environment for healing with nutrient-rich foods and let the body do its work. A long, healthy life, free of diabetes and its tragic complications is possible, and it can be yours. 

You are the one who chooses whether you are going to live with your diabetes or get rid of it.



1. American Diabetes Association: Diabetes statistics http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/diabetes-statistics/

2. American Diabetes Association: Stop Diabetes http://stopdiabetes.diabetes.org/site/PageServer?pagename=SD_homepage

3. Eurekalert: Experts call for further research into the relationship between insulin therapy and cancer


Pollak M, Russell-Jones D. Insulin analogues and cancer risk: cause for concern or cause célèbre? Int J Clin Pract. 2010 Feb 26. [Epub ahead of print]

4. Barnard ND, Gloede L, Cohen J, et al. A low-fat vegan diet elicits greater macronutrient changes, but is comparable in adherence and acceptability, compared with a more conventional diabetes diet among individuals with type 2 diabetes. J Am Diet Assoc. 2009 Feb;109(2):263-72.

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Comments (9) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Greg - March 23, 2010 2:06 PM

Having read eat for health, "limited fresh fruit" isn't at all what I got from your book or your recipes. Your chocolate smoothie has copious amounts of frozen fruit for example. Much more fruit than 99% of the people reading your book will be used to eating.

Americans think fruit is bad for them because they equate fruit with candy bars. To most Americans splitting 4-5 bananas and a couple apples between the whole family in a week is a lot of fruit. So, I can only imagine what "limiting fresh fruit" would be like.

Emily Boller - March 23, 2010 3:40 PM

Thank you Dr. Fuhrman for pioneering the way for us to get rid of type II diabetes; it no longer has to be our fate. What a treasured gift we've been given! It's priceless.

Tony, wow, what an incredible tesimony to the power of nutrient dense eating! Isn't it unbelievably sad that your ER experience is what's happening to most everyone with type 2 diabetes? And to think that this expensive and horrible nightmare is taking place in hospitals and doctors' offices all across this nation every 20 seconds. Yikes!

Please, everyone, copy and paste the above post link to your facebook friends and social networks. EVERYONE needs to know this crucial information. Everyone is connected to someone who desperately needs to hear this message today.

Let's all get rid of type II diabetes.

Teresa - March 23, 2010 4:17 PM

Thank you, Tony for your story. I'm so glad you managed to turn it around in spite of the advice from the so-called "health care experts".

I'm curious about your sister though, has she been inspired by your results?

Wendy Solganik - March 24, 2010 7:22 AM

Great blog posting.

I second Greg's comment. Please explain "limited fruit."

Dr. Fuhrman - March 25, 2010 8:44 AM

Limited fruit for diabetics means—no fruit juice or dried fruit (or very limited dried fruit) and usually 2 – 3 fruits with breakfast and then one with both lunch and dinner.

So the amount of fruit is usually about 4 – 5 servings a day. Low sugar fruits such as berries, kiwis and green apples are also recommended. Of course, these are not rigid rules, but approximate guidelines that can be modified to individual needs, blood tests, exercise capacity, and success on the program.

Elisa Rodriguez - March 27, 2010 10:28 AM

This is very useful information - thanks for blogging Dr. Fuhrman. Looking forward to the new study coming out.

Tony, thanks for sharing your story. I give you a lot of credit for persevering despite feeling lousy and being under a tremendous amount of stress.

I used to work in the hospital, saw that kind of treatment every day, and will NEVER go back!

Emily, I'm linking the post to my facebook ;)

Greg - March 27, 2010 9:09 PM

Dr. Fuhrman thank you for your excellent response.

Very few people I know eat 4-5 servings of fruit per day. In fact, I'm the only person I know who eats this much fruit! I try to encourage all my friends to eat some fruit every day because it's an easy sell. Who doesn't like strawberries and kiwi?

Many people really barely eat fruit because they consider it sugar. I still can't convince my mother in-law to eat more fruit because she believes it makes her fat.

Almost everyone who reads this, thinks of limited fruit as almost none.

Mariah - April 14, 2010 10:39 PM


I just wanted to say thanks for sharing this great testimonial. I read it to my father, after I read ETL and became a nutritarian, to convince him that making the change with me could dramatically improve his diabetic symptoms. Well, he was convinced and now after two months of eating healthfully (as close as possible to Dr's 6 week strict plan) he is symptom free, he dropped all his diabetes meds and now his BGM's are in the 120 range after eating and in the 90's fasting! Not to mention all the weight we have lost and how much better we both feel. :) Really thanks to Dr Fuhrman for facilitating this, and to you for sharing your story. You are helping to make huge differences in people's lives!


Jonathan - February 4, 2011 5:17 PM

"I have always wondered about the notion that if you are eating the right foods, why would you need drugs to protect yourself from the damage they cause?"

My father a long time sufferer of Diabetes rarely use any drugs as medication. Diet has played an important part to keep his blood sugar levels low.

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