Most cases of pre-diabetes never develop into full-blown disease

In a new, breakthrough study, two-thirds of people diagnosed with pre-diabetes never went on to develop full-blown Type II diabetes. The secret to how they thwarted the disease’s progression was buried in the study’s fine print. And it goes against almost everything the mainstream tells us about how to manage blood sugar.

Of course, I’ll tell you all about what those “pre-diabetic” people did—and, perhaps, more importantly, what they DIDN’T do—in a moment. But first, let’s back up and talk about why the idea of halting and even reversing chronic disease is so revolutionary…

Busting one of the biggest medical myths of all time

For decades, mainstream medicine insisted that chronic diseases—such as Type II diabetes and heart disease—might be prevented, but not reversed. Once diagnosed, the diseases were lifetime sentences. And you were handed off to endocrinologists and cardiologists to “manage” your symptoms with drugs and invasive medical procedures.

Of course, these specialists don’t know all that much about the science, biology, or underlying causes of chronic diseases. They don’t know about mind-body physiology or natural approaches to manage stress, reduce blood pressure, and slash heart disease risk. (I’ll tell you more about these non-drug approaches in the upcoming October issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter.) And they certainly don’t know much about the human diet or how to achieve optimal nutrition. (To be fair, most doctors get less than six hours of training on these topics in medical school.)

So, they simply parrot the government’s faulty dietary recommendations—which we now know were all wrong, all along—and dole out dangerous, useless drugs.

But 30 years ago—the chronic disease myth began to crumble and then everything began to change…

Heart disease CAN be reversed

Thirty years ago, Dr. Dean Ornish showed that heart disease can be reversed with diet and lifestyle interventions. My friend and colleague Dr. Lee Lipsenthal actually worked with Ornish to get these results. (Lipsenthal was originally with the Jefferson Clinic in Philadelphia back in the 1980s. Later, the Jefferson Clinic morphed into the Center for Integrative Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, which I directed from 2002 – 2005.)

The program was so successful, health insurance programs even started reimbursing patients who tried it.

Then, in the late 1990s, Dr. Ornish co-chaired one of my international medical education conferences (together with former Surgeon General Dr. C. Everett Koop), where we presented dozens of sessions on natural approaches for preventing and reversing not just heart disease, but other chronic diseases as well—including Type II diabetes.

And now, a new study confirms that getting a pre-diabetes diagnosis isn’t a life sentence either…

Pre-diabetes does not progress in nearly 70 percent of cases

For the new study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, researchers with the Karolinska Institute in Sweden followed more than 2,500 participants, 60 years or older, for 12 years.

At the study’s outset, none of the participants had been diagnosed with Type II diabetes. However, just over 900 of them had been diagnosed with pre-diabetes.

Then, over the next 12 years, out of this group of people diagnosed with pre-diabetes:

  • 119 people went on to develop full-blown Type II diabetes
  • 215 people died
  • 204 people returned to normal blood sugar
  • 308 people maintained their pre-diabetes status

So, only one-third of the people with pre-diabetes at the study’s outset passed away or developed Type II diabetes over the 12-year period. And, importantly, those who went on to develop full-blown diabetes were more likely to be obese.

But—here’s the kicker…

Nearly 70 percent of the people with pre-diabetes at the study’s outset either achieved normal blood sugar levels…or their condition didn’t progress beyond pre-diabetes. Those who reversed their condition and achieved normal blood sugar during the course of the study were more likely to have lower systolic blood pressure, an absence of heart disease, and weight loss success.

So, despite the medical over-diagnosis and over-reach, most of the adults in this study did not go on to develop full-blown diabetes.

About 352 million adults worldwide are considered to have pre-diabetes, with slightly elevated blood sugar levels. And by year 2045, that number is estimated to grow to 587 million—or about 8 percent of adults. But this new study suggests that the majority of these people (two-thirds, to be precise) won’t ever become part of the diabetes epidemic.

The study’s lead author said, “progressing to diabetes is not the only destination. In fact, the chance to stay pre-diabetic or even revert back to normal blood sugar is actually pretty high…”

And before I wrap this Dispatch up, let me make one more important point about this study…

 Disease halted or reversed without drugs

The two-thirds of participants in this study who never went on to develop full-blown diabetes did so without taking drugs.

Let me repeat: They never took drugs to control their blood sugar!

That finding wasn’t even mentioned in the news reports. And it’s no wonder—as it was buried on the last page of the study. (I had to scour the entire study to find it. And I knew what I was looking for!)

But it’s the most important finding of all!

Especially when you consider the fact that in the U.S., the moment a patient shows even slightly elevated blood sugar levels (but not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes), doctors rush to put them on diabetes drugs.

But as this study shows, that rush to treat high blood sugar may be a big mistake.

Here’s what it all means for you…

1.) Even if you’ve been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, don’t consider it a life sentence.

2.) If your doctor rushes to put you on Type II diabetes drugs, make sure to ask lots of questions. Ask your doctor to review the new study in the Journal of Internal Medicine. Perhaps watchful waiting or active surveillance, as I talked about last week for prostate cancer, is the right choice for you.

3.) Cut out processed foods with added sugars and carbs—the real culprits of Type II diabetes.

4.) Focus on following a balanced, Mediterranean-type diet with organic, full-fat dairy (including cheeses), eggs, fruits, meat, nut, seafood, and vegetables.

For more uncommonly effective, commonsense strategies to prevent—and even reverse—Type II diabetes, check out my online learning protocol, the Integrative Protocol for Defeating Diabetes. To learn more about this special online learning tool, or to enroll today, simply click here.


“Natural history of prediabetes in older adults from a population‐based longitudinal study.” Journal of Internal Medicine, 2019.