Dr. John Heary Medina

Dr. John Heary’s transformative approach to health and wellness has empowered countless patients to reclaim their lives from diabetes and thyroid conditions through functional medicine and nutrition. Unlike conventional methods that offer a generic fix, Dr. Heary’s tailored treatments have brought exceptional results for over two decades. In the following article, Dr. John Heary of Medina discusses a journey of true health restoration, where personalized care and cutting-edge methods merge to create a compelling path towards lasting well-being.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition that boils down almost entirely to genetics. Type 2, on the other hand, develops gradually and usually reflects a person’s diet and lifestyle. Neither has a “cure,” but if type 2 has been linked to certain life choices, can behavioral changes reverse it?

Although type 2 diabetes has no known cure, it is not inherently progressive. Recent studies have shown that dietary modifications, increased physical activity and in some cases, bariatric surgery, can allow those diagnosed with type 2 diabetes to slow and even reverse the disease’s progression.

Below, Dr. John Heary covers how behavioral changes and interventions can help patients with type 2 diabetes improve their health and potentially reverse the onset of symptoms.

Dr. John Heary of Medina on the Risk Factors and Symptoms

Unlike type 1 diabetes, which has genetic, as opposed to behavioral causes, type 2 diabetes has been linked to factors that can be controlled, such as diet, weight management and activity level.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when consistently high blood glucose levels cause the body’s cells to build up resistance to insulin, the hormone used to convert sugar into usable energy. In many cases, these symptoms stem from long periods of neglecting exercise and overconsuming calories.

Dr. John Heary of Medina explains that in recent years, diabetes has become a growing global concern, which some suggest is a result of highly processed foods associated with Western diets being introduced in developing countries. A diet high in these calorie-dense highly palatable foods often precedes the development of obesity, which is a well-documented risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

It’s important to note, however, that not all people who develop type 2 diabetes are obese, which means that their body mass index (BMI) exceeds 30, or even overweight, which is defined as having a BMI above 25.

Many people whose BMI falls below these markers can still develop type 2 diabetes if they have high levels of visceral fat. This type of fat tissue surrounds and impacts the functioning of internal organs but is not externally visible.

Dr. John Heary of Medina says that regardless of BMI classification, poor nutritional habits and infrequent exercise can lead to other health conditions associated with type 2 diabetes, including:

  • High levels of subcutaneous fat
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Fatty liver disease
  • Heart disease
  • Nerve damage

What Influences the Progression

Dr. John Heary of Medina says that for years, medical experts thought that type 2 diabetes was not only incurable, but also that symptoms would continue to advance and intensify without recourse. As a result, patients were simply taught to “manage” their condition with insulin and other medications.

Today, however, evidence supports that significant lifestyle changes can decrease a type 2 diabetes patient’s symptoms, as well as lower or eliminate their reliance on medications. In most cases, behaviors that support symptom reversal involve:

  • Reaching and maintaining a healthy body weight
  • Engaging in regular exercise
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Minimizing stress
  • Being mindful of foods high in carbohydrates
  • Not smoking

Dr. John Heary of Medina looks at some of the most-researched strategies that may help patients reverse type 2 diabetes.

Low-Calorie Diets

Since the majority of type 2 diabetes patients are classified as overweight or obese, weight loss may be beneficial in decreasing their insulin resistance and blood glucose levels. Studies have shown, however, that losing enough weight to make a significant difference often requires extreme calorie restriction, ranging from 600-900 Calories.

Dr. John Heary of Medina explains that this level of restriction is dangerous and should not be pursued except under strict medical supervision. Typically, very-low calorie diet interventions involve patients consuming high-protein meal replacement supplements for a few months, transitioning into a gradual food reintroduction period and undergoing several months of medically monitored weight maintenance.

Although these drastic measures may help patients meet the remission criteria (a hemoglobin A1c level below 6.5% without medication), they tend to be effective only in the short-term. Patient success with this intervention also differs dramatically based on the duration of their disease, with patients diagnosed more recently showing much higher success rates.

On the whole, these rapid weight loss interventions may cause hormonal and metabolic disruptions, making the already-difficult task of maintaining weight loss long-term even more challenging.

Dr. John HearyCarbohydrate Restriction

Dr. John Heary of Medina reports that one alternative dietary intervention shown to promote remission in patients with type 2 diabetes restricts carbohydrates, but not overall caloric intake. As carbohydrate-rich foods cause a much higher spike in glucose levels than the other macronutrients (fat and protein), reducing carb intake has been shown to improve glycemic control and decrease reliance on medication.

Interestingly, carbohydrate-restricted diets that place no limitation on the number of calories consumed appear to promote more weight loss and a greater reversal of symptoms than calorie-restricted diets.

Very low carb diets have also proven far more effective than low calorie diets for patients with a longer duration of diabetes. Carbohydrate restriction also seems to be far more sustainable long-term than extremely low-calorie diets.

It’s worth noting, however, that the low carbohydrate diets most effective in reversing type 2 diabetes require a drastic reduction in carb intake, with the clearest results appearing in diets with only 20-30 grams of carbohydrate daily, with the main sources being green vegetables, nuts and small portions of fruit.

In the same way that two people can have totally different taste preferences, two bodies can respond to particular foods in totally different ways. People with type 2 diabetes should consider monitoring their blood sugar after eating various types and amounts of carbohydrate-rich foods to find which foods they tolerate best.

Dr. John Heary of Medina says that since carbohydrate restriction may lead to other nutrient deficiencies, those who adopt a low carb or ketogenic diet, which aims to convert the body’s main fuel source from carbohydrates to fat, should seek the guidance of a nutrition professional, as well as medical monitoring.

Other Lifestyle Changes

In addition to dietary modifications, people with type 2 diabetes often benefit from increasing their physical activity, which not only burns calories, but also improves blood circulation and can help convert fat mass to lean muscle tissue.

When it comes to exercise, the type of activity is far less important than consistency. Although a mix of cardio and strength training is best, patients should choose forms of exercise that they enjoy. Finding enjoyment in exercise makes it far more likely that patients will be able to sustain their healthy habits long term. Here are some tips on how to make exercise more enjoyable:

  • Walk with a friend
  • Listen to podcasts, audiobooks or music while jogging, walking, or working out
  • Take progress pictures for motivation
  • Make every session a competition with yourself
  • Try a new social hobby, like golf
  • Buy new gym clothes or shoes
  • Try taking group classes
  • Follow YouTube videos for guidance and encouragement

Since hormones play an important role in our hunger and fullness signals, as well as how the body metabolizes food, keeping cortisol (the stress hormone) low and establishing a regular circadian rhythm by keeping a consistent and sufficient sleep schedule are also important.

Dr. John Heary of Medina notes that those who qualify as candidates for bariatric surgery often have to demonstrate at least six months of failed weight loss attempts including the behaviors discussed above before an operation can or will be approved. Since every surgical procedure entails risk, implementing lifestyle changes should always be the first course of action.


Although type 2 diabetes was long considered a chronic progressive illness, recent evidence suggests that reversal is possible. Making lifestyle changes such as eating a nutritious diet low in carbohydrates, exercising regularly, minimizing stress and improving sleep hygiene may prevent and reverse the progression of type 2 diabetes.