The standard medical approach of preventing Type 2 diabetes with prescription medications is not working. In fact, the incidence of  Type 2 diabetes is reaching epidemic proportions in the US. However, recent research has shown that lifestyle changes can outperform both drugs and placebo for prevention and treatment of diabetes.

Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that lifestyle changes – including 2.5 hours of exercise and dietary change designed to reduce body weight by 7% – was more effective than Glucophage (Metformin) in preventing diabetes. This study looked at 3200 non-diabetic subjects that had high blood sugar and followed them over 3 years.

They found that the group that exercised and changed their diet had a 58% lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes than people in the placebo group. Those give glucophage/metformin only cut their diabetes risk by 31%.

Other studies have shown that getting stress under control is also a useful strategy for Type 2 diabetes. As an example, a study published in Diabetes Care showed that the regular use of stress management techniques, including breathing exercises, visualization, and progressive muscle relaxation could lower hemoglobin A1c levels in type 2 diabetics by 0.5-1.0%, similar to many medications.

The upshot: use lifestyle therapies first when working to prevent or correct blood sugar imbalances – it’s cheap, it’s addressing the underlying causes and it works!