Went Primal, Ditched the Diabetes Meds

I’m 56 years old and have been a type 2 diabetic since I was 32. When diagnosed, I went on the American Diabetic Association exchange diet, which is 50%+ carbohydrates. Believe it or not, the diet worked for a while, because as high in carbs as it is, it was still fewer than I had been eating. Over the years I made an effort at taking care of myself, but medicines increased. At the first of this year I was injecting 10mcg of Byetta twice a day, 22 units of insulin at night, and taking 2 grams of metformin in the evenings. I was unable to predict what my body’s reaction to meals would be. I had frequent lows, because I was trying to maintain healthy blood sugars. I had been doing some studying – read Dr. Bernstein’s book, Taubes’ book, etc. (didn’t know about Mark then). Anyway on January 4th I began my first steps at becoming primal.

With my doctor’s consent, I discontinued the Byetta and began eating a low carb diet (he also agreed I could stop taking the statin I was on). Initially I was eating 90g of carbs or less a day. That soon dropped to 75g and now I am eating <50g a day. I had to start lowering my insulin dosage within two weeks and was off the insulin in 6 weeks. In 6 months I was off the Metformin, so I am now free of diabetes drugs, though I have not yet been able to get off some others. I have hope for the future. The only exercise I used to do was tai chi, which I enjoy a lot, but was not all I needed. I found out about burpees on this web site and began doing those as well. I also found out about grass-fed beef. I was able to locate a farmer about 75 miles from my home who raises and sells grass-fed beef and recently bought half a cow! I’m eating organic raw cheese. I have cut out artificial sweeteners with occasional lapses. I have cut out all grains and starchy vegetables. I do often have one square of a Lindt 85% cocoa bar – it is about 1.5 grams of sugar (never more than one in a day). Otherwise no sugar. No trans-fats. I find I am very sensitive to carbs so the only fruit I eat is berries, in small amounts. I have increased my fat intake in hopes of raising my HDLs, which historically have been < 30 most of the time. I have added coconut oil to my diet. My low testosterone had risen by 200+ points at my last check up. I hope for a further increase at the end of next week when I have another check up. If that happens, I can begin reducing the medicine I am on for that. I feel great and look forward to continued improvements in my health as time goes by. I wish I had known this 24 years ago.


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18 thoughts on “Went Primal, Ditched the Diabetes Meds”

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  1. my dad is very sick with diabetes, i believe ill just print this story out and share it with him. so simple, yet so profoundly life saving wow. is all i can say! keep up the good work!

  2. David

    What a great story. I am also e-mailing this story to two friends if they dont want to follow then it up to them.

    Thank you

  3. Wow david that is awesome! So many health changes must make you feel like a new person. Your pretty controlled stopping at 1 piece of Lindt 85%, I have much more than that 😛

  4. Wonderful! I have a co-worker who is being pushed drugs for diabetes. She is borderline and wants to stay off of them. She’s been trying to go Primal. I have shared your story with her as encouragement!

  5. Thanks for the kind comments. I DO feel like a new person. In just the last week my energy has gone to a new level. I appreciate all the great information and stories I find here.

    1. Hi David,

      Great story. Looks like we’re about the same age, but I’m a few years behind you in starting this program. I was wondering how things are going five years after your post. I hope well. Take care, Johnny

      1. Hi Johnny. After 5 years I find I have periods where I am more successful at eating properly than others. Under periods of high stress I tend to eat less carefully. When I eat well, it still works. Last A1c was 6.5, which is higher than I would like, but better than I can achieve on insulin, etc. I do take Metformin, but otherwise no diabetes meds. Thanks for the comment.

  6. David, your story is very encouraging. I’m about your same age, also type 2 diabetic. I began this attempt at going primal on Jan. 2 of this year. I’ve eliminated grains, sugars, processed foods and unhealthy vegetable oils from my diet, and I buy organic and grass-fed meats. I do still enjoy dairy, and get raw cream from a local farmer, and raw-milk cheeses in the supermarket.

    Today’s eating plan is pretty typical for me – breakfast is a cheese omelet. Lunch will be an avocado and a can of sardines packed in olive oil. Meanwhile I have spareribs slow-cooking in the crockpot for dinner, which I will have with some creamed cauliflower, which I will puree in the food processor with some home-made duck stock from a duck carcase I brought home from a Chinese restaurant. 🙂 Snacks might be a handful of nuts, or a couple spoonfuls of almond butter. I have to say I’m with you on the 85% chocolate though, LOL.

    I’ve given up caffeine I still love the *taste* of coffe, and have my morning cup of black decaf with a tablespoon of coconut oil added to it, but drink only water other than that. I probably keep my carbs generally in the 40-60g range.

    I’m no longer taking any meds beyond some supplements I feel are important. I *do* have to be careful with my blood sugars though. Even a handful of berries will send my numbers up higher than I would like to see. I had some fresh raspberries from my own garden a week or two ago and it shot my blood sugar up to 167!

    But overall I’m feeling good – and reading your story is so encouraging too as you became type 2 far earlier than I did, and if you can see continued improvements I hope I can too! I just wish I could lose weight also. Sadly I have over 100 pounds to lose, and can’t seem to drop an ounce. My weight has been boudning up and down the same 5-7 pound range for the last six months – with no dropping in sight. 🙁

  7. Hi Debbie,

    I’m sensitive to carbs, too. When I eat blueberries, I limit myself to 10-15 or in a serving and I’ll only eat one serving in a day. I didn’t have much weight to lose when I started in January. I was 171 and am now 160, but I weighed 235 when I was diagnosed long ago. One thing I eventually noticed was that, with the increase of fat in my diet, I really wasn’t hungry at the same times of day. I stopped eating lunch just because it was lunch time. Often, I just eat some coconut oil for lunch. Eating when I am hungry offsets the added calories from the increase in fats. Though I realize different calories are metabolized in different ways and I don’t count calories, I do think that total caloric intake does have some relevance. Be patient and keep it up.

  8. I was diagnosed with diabetes and under went triple bypass surgery at age 45. I have just bought your book Mark, and started reading it last night. My big question was what can it do for someone that is already suffered from the effects of these diseases, well now I have my answer. I’ll let you kow how it works out for me. Thanks for the great blog!

  9. I just started going Primal (for the most part) a few weeks ago, and I’ve been trying to beat the diabetes schnide (I think I’m borderline). I know there are things I need to be more vigilant on (I still eat one gluten-free donut [yes, I know, not the best choice for an indulgence]).

    But, I’ve been trying to sell going Primal for my dad who was diagnosed a couple of years ago. I think your article may give him, and me a great deal of hope in trying to get off any current, or future medication pertaining to diabetes.

  10. I have been diagnosed with diabetes 2, high blood pressure and have since then basically followed the no grains, no sugar diet plan. Every research I do, however, is emphasizing a low-fat diet whereas the Prime diet seems to emphasize the intake of healthy fats (animal, coconut etc.). What is the truth?

  11. I just recently learned of primal diet. I have type 2 diabetes and can’t lose weight despite watching my diet.so frustrating! I’m 54 and menopausal which is not helping! Will this new way of eating really help? It sounds good but is it really doable in the real world?

    1. It’s very doable. I have 2 very young children and find cooking and mealtimes much easier now. Good luck and enjoy feeling better!

    2. I’d suggest get the dr Bernstein book (to understand diabetes) and go primal. Understand primal is more than a diet, it’s excercise and more. I’m type 1 and I’d say forget the low fat high carb rubbish you’re told, it doesn’t work. To tell a diabetic to get the majority of their calories from carbs is the most damaging thing a diabetic can be told and yet it’s the standard advise. Primal works, and its totally doable. It’s simple and becomes 2nd nature quickly.

  12. I got a surprise diagnosis of diabetes in March. I told my dr I didn’t want a bunch of meds; I wanted to turn it around following primal/Paleo. She supports this approach! I refused seeing a “diabetes educator” or endocrinologist. I frankly don’t believe or trust them. I do take metformin, but hope I can decrease or eliminate it eventually. My dr believes I can.
    I’ve lost over 40# and 3 clothing sizes. I’m having some normal blood sugars. I’m learning to keep myself well hydrated and nourished, especially on my busy activity days.
    It seems many people accept several prescriptions and do what they’ve always done. I do not want that route! I want to be another success study on this list!