PHOENIX — More than 100 million people live with diabetes and the numbers are growing as multiple studies now show more people being diagnosed as part of COVID-19 long-haul symptoms.
As always, talk to your doctor about a customized plan that works for you.
Type two diabetes does mean major lifestyle changes, but a Valley man is hoping to empower others to be their own health advocate and realize there are ways to improve and even reverse the diagnosis.
Chris Stewart found out he had diabetes during a random physical for work when doctors saw his sugar levels were peaking.
He was put on a handful of medications, assuming that was par for the course of treatment until Stewart says he started gaining weight and told his doctor he was having more aches and pains.
"Her answer was to put me on another medication, which I was not okay with. At my ropes end, something had to change." Stewart said.
In what would turn out to be perfect timing Stewart says he got an email from the school district he works for advertising a trial health offer through their insurance.
The Virta Nutrition program was being offered for free to just 50 people and once he signed up, he was connected to a team of doctors, health coaches and customized meal programs.
"Very low carb, moderate protein and add a little fat added to each meal," said Stewart describing his new diet outline.
He saw changes in the first month and one year in he dropped 145lbs. He is off all diabetes medications and his A1C, blood glucose levels, even beat the average ranging from 5.3 - 5.5.
"I feel like I'm 20-years-old again." he stated.
His biggest motivator has been being able to keep up with his daughter and is now racing BMX bikes along with her. He says taking control of his own health changed his life and he wants that for others.
"Don't stop searching, there are ways to reverse the condition, I'm living proof." said Stewart.
ABC15 Health Insider Dr. Shad Marvasti is not associated with the Virta program but, has been successful with using food to prevent, treat and even beat type two diabetes among his own patients.
His tips are very similar:
- Choose whole fruits instead of juice.
- Whole grain bread instead of white.
- Add healthy fats like avocado and olive oil.
- Include nuts and seeds with your meals.
You can watch Dr. Shad's full interview on using food to treat diabetes here.
For more information on the Virta program, click here.