instrument for checking insulin levels in diabetes

If I had a penny for every time I was asked this question, I would be balming on a beach in Barbados. So am going to nail my colours to the mast here….the answer is no, you cannot reverse diabetes.

Right now there is probably various practitioners, therapists and professionals peppering, getting hot and agitated under the collar and I don’t really care. Why? Because I think to tell a person that you can help them to reverse their diabetes is incredibly damaging. In fact its unethical. I know, I see on a weekly basis the damaging effects these wildcat statements have.

People can blitz me with the science of how its done, it won’t make a blind bit of difference, but I applaud their passion and enthusiasm. After spending the last 3 years of my life dedicated to an MSc Diabetes, the only thing that would convince me is a randomized controlled trial that is over a 5-10 year period [pull_quote align=”left”]’Reversing’ diabetes is a multi-million dollar industry[/pull_quote]and then you have my interest. Reversing diabetes is a multi-million dollar industry and I would be lying if I said I haven’t been tempted to use my expertise and knowledge to go down that road and claim that I can practically ‘cure’ diabetes. But I can’t and the reason why? I wouldn’t sleep at night, because I know I would be selling something that is not yet categorically proven. If it was I wouldn’t be here, there would be no need for me.

I want to make this absolutely clear, I am talking about Type 2 diabetes only, not Type 1 diabetes. You cannot under any circumstances ‘reverse’ Type 1 diabetes and for those who say they can or have, I would question whether the person involved had Type 1 diabetes in the first place.

But what I do know for a fact… that you can put Type 2 diabetes into a state of ‘remission’ and make it look clinically on paper like it doesn’t exist. But it takes incredibly hard work, dedication and perseverance, which you have to ask yourself, can this be maintained for the rest of your life? Even if you manage[pull_quote align=”left”]Is it ethically and morally correct to tell someone that you can ‘reverse’ their diabetes?[/pull_quote] to ‘reverse’ Type 2 diabetes, the potential is always there for it to come back. So that is why it is much more ethically and morally correct to tell someone that Type 2 diabetes or Pre-Diabetes can be put into a state of remission. But that all depends on how long someone has diabetes, whether they had symptoms on diagnosis or not, how much reserves of insulin do they actually have left in their pancreas?


Language is incredibly powerful and how people interpret words and phrases needs to be explored. ‘Reversing’ diabetes suggests that it is a permanent solution which it is not, and this is where the damaging effects begin. I get people arriving to my practice completely traumatized because they thought their diabetes had gone away and they did not have to worry anymore. So it went down their list of priorities and disappeared as normal living resumed, only to resurface some years later, bigger, bolder and more problematic.

Because this whole concept of ‘reversing’ diabetes has only emerged in recent times with the obesity epidemic, we do not yet have enough information to genuinely say to someone it is possible and we can give you a permanent solution. For those who chase the whole concept of ‘reversing’ diabetes, I would question whether they are still in denial about their diagnosis, and that is what we, as expert professionals in our field, should be helping them to come to terms with. Providing a genuine, honest, supportive environment that helps people to understand their diagnosis, come to terms with it and putting in place a plan to deal with what lies ahead is what is needed, not selling a pup.

I have an average drop of 1% in HbA1c levels across the board in all clients who attend my practice. I also have an average weight loss of 1 stone across all my clients, as well as bringing cholesterol and blood pressure levels back to normal levels. This is not rocket science, this is not claiming to ‘reverse’ [pull_quote align=”left”]What I do is not as sexy or sell able as ‘reversing’ diabetes[/pull_quote]anyone’s diabetes and I have no massive PR campaign with my face splashed across the side of a bus to prove it. But that’s not as sexy or sell able as claiming to ‘reverse’ someones diabetes now is it?

What I do, and I do very well, is explain the nuts and bolts of diabetes and what to do about it. I put everything in simple layman’s terms, providing solutions that are achievable, manageable and easy to maintain, while providing that ongoing supportive environment that I mentioned before. Diabetes education and health education is a specialty all of its own and the sooner people start to recognize this the better. I regard it more of an art than a science, something that takes years of knowledge, skill and expertise to develop. It may not have the attractiveness of a sexy, quick fix solution like ‘reversing’ diabetes, but what I practice is an ongoing process for life, health and diabetes…………and that is something I can sleep well at night with.

For further information on the service please ring Helena on (086) 1739287 or email:


3 Thoughts to “Can You Reverse Diabetes?”

  1. michael byrne

    I am really amazed at Helena O’Farrells opinion on diabetes reversal. Most types of type 2 diabetes are reversible. Fact not fiction. Professore Roy Taylor and his team showed that type2 was reversible. They published their findings in “Diabetologia DOI 10.1007/s00125-011-2004-7 ” Reversal of type 2 diabetes: normalisation of beta cell function in association with decreased pancreas and liver triacylglycerol – This article was publishedi on the 9th June 2011.

    You can also access Professor Taylor’s website at the Magnetic Resonance Centre, Newcastle University,
    at and and read all about it for yourself. The fat stored in the wrong parts of the body such as the liver and pancreas is used up first when the body has to rely upon its own stores of fat to burn.For this to happen it is necessary to lose substantial weight. Although Professor Taylor carried out his work using a ” starvation diet ” over three months, he recommends that weight be lost over 6 to 8 months.
    Professor Taylor noted that after bariatric surgery type 2 diabetes was clearly reversible.. The purpose of his resaerch was to examine the hypothesis as to whether acute negative energy balance reverses diabetes by normalising both beta cell function and insulin sensitivity and measuring the changes in fat content of the pancreas and liver.( using
    Go unto the website and read the papers and information for yourself.

    I personally was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in 2005. My HbAIc rose relatively fast to 8.1 mmoles/l. I was then diagnosed with Non-Alcoholic fatty liver, a disease that can progress on to cirroshis of the liver or liver cancer or everything in between. I also thought that type 2 was not reversible but was progressive..
    After hearing about Professor Taylors research I went on an a tough negative energy diet in july 2011. I went down in weight over three months from 138 kg down to 120 kg. My BMI was 39, it is now 33.I have remained at this weight since.I became ill at the start of 2012 from a non diabetic related illness but I have maintained my weight at 120 kg +/- 1 kg. My HbIac has been maintained below 6. My liver enzymes, an indicator of liver damage are now all well within limits. All of them previously were over maximum limits some by a factor of 2 to 3. Everything has improved including my blood pressure. I am now preparing myself to lose an additional 15 kg to bring me down to below BMI 30.

    As a preliminary I have stopped eating cereal products,such as bread, breakfast cereals,and all sorts of pizzas, rice and replaced them with lower energy products such as vegetables,fruit and some fish. Most low energy products such as vegetables have low carbohydrates and low Glycaemic indices. I expect to see my HBIac drop below 5.5 over the coming three months.

    Losing weight is very hard, everytime you break your diet, dust yourself off immediately and start back again immediately. You will get there in the long run.

    Diabetics must eat to live rather than live to eat.

  2. admin

    Thank you for taking the time to respond to my blog, but I feel you have misinterpreted some of my comments and I am entitled to my right to reply. My blog is based on reversing diabetes permanently….there is no current research that has uncovered this, otherwise we would have found the cure for type 2 diabetes.

    I am very aware of Prof Roy Taylor’s work and have studied it at length as part of my studies for an MSc Diabetes in the UK and for my practice. While his research is ground breaking and does represent some hope for reversing Type 2 diabetes in the future, right now it is not a permanent solution to the every growing worldwide problem of Type 2 diabetes. The research is very much based on a persons beta cell function and current statistics suggests that the majority of people on diagnosis of type 2 diabetes have already lost 50% of their beta cell function with many going straight to insulin to preserve what they have left. There are studies to suggest that commencing people on insulin in the early stages of Type 2 diabetes can equally reverse their diabetes The Newcastle team have admitted that further research is needed, especially in people with Type 2 diabetes greater than 4 years. When people with Type 2 diabetes are diagnosed, especially those who have had symptoms, they already have had diabetes for 7-10 years without realising it and 50% of this group already have complications of their diabetes. Therefore ‘reversing’ diabetes in this group cannot be achieved according to current available research.

    Prof Roy Taylor readily admits the people on his plan are extremely highly motivated individuals and do not represent the general population of people with diabetes. The diet is dependent on starvation and a statement from Prof Edwin Gale from the University of Bristol said: “We have known that starvation is a good cure for diabetes. If we introduced rationing tomorrow, then we could get rid of diabetes in this country.” Starvation diets were a common approach to treating Type 1 diabetes before the introduction of insulin. While not successful they did give a person some additional months, albeit with no quality of life.

    The sample size of 11 participants in the Newcastle study was too small to be significant, this was out of a 1000 applicants. Why were only 11 chosen out of 1000 applicants? There is also no data available as to the long term consequences of resuming back on a normal diet for these individuals. Have they maintained this reversal long term? There is currently no evidence available.

    My role in diabetes is not as a clinician but as an educator, there is a big difference. I have to find very practical, easy to maintain solutions for people who have diabetes, and tailor them to the persons needs. The Newcastle Diet does not represent a practical everyday solution to living with diabetes for many people, and my blog focuses on this and the perceptions, language, thoughts and feelings surrounding the word ‘reversing’ diabetes. Many see ‘reversing’ as a permanent solution and this can lead to damaging consequences for their health in the long term. Reversing diabetes is a sensationalized term used by the media to describe research that may use words like remission, which are far more appropriate.

    I discharged 2 people from my practice yesterday that both had HbA1c’s of less than 6%. All other blood results are normal. One had a HbA1c of 13.8% originally, the other 9.3%. They achieved this over a 12 month period through a common sense approach to weight loss, diet and exercise, which they found easy to maintain and will going forward. The difference between me and other practitioners is the style of education that I use, my approach and techniques. I do nothing out of the ordinary, but based on these success stories I too could also claim to ‘reverse’ a persons type 2 diabetes.

    I have a very personal interest in reversing diabetes and have studied it at length. I live with someone who has Type 2 Diabetes on 5 injections of insulin a day. He has a normal BMI and no risk factors. He has lost 6 stone through my personalised plan for him, and his diabetes did not reverse. Does that make me a bad nurse? I cried like a baby the day he started on insulin. I live with waking at night and treating hypos, regulating blood sugars when he is sick, imprisoned by numbers and choices daily. Don’t you think if I could find a way to reverse his diabetes that I would? So I do take great offence to your statement that you are ‘amazed at Helena Farrells opinion on diabetes reversal’ because I cannot offer him a permanent solution. All I can offer is practical day to day solutions like I do with all my clients and hope some day that a permanent solution will come along.

    I base alot of my education on behavioural and psychological interventions that offer people solutions to their diabetes and weight dilemmas. I am equally aware of the reversal of diabetes in bariatric surgery. Again this is based in reducing a persons portion sizes through surgery, which is a very extreme approach, as is the Newcastle diet. But having met with patients and studied bariatric surgery as part of my masters degree, again it offers no permanent solution for diabetes. Many people who have the surgery who do not deal with the psychological reasons as to why they over-eat, continue with the same habits post surgery and the diabetes returns. The same could be said for the Newcastle Diet.

    I appreciate you taking the time to write your comment and I am thrilled that you have found a way to reverse your diabetes. I would invite you to maintain regular contact over the coming years to let both me and the readers of this website know how you are doing. We all have lots to learn from each other, and if you maintain and achieve your goals I will be the first in the queue to shake your hand and ask you how you did it. Best of luck on your journey and stay in touch.

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