Updated 20 February 2015

Why prescribing insulin is wrong for type 2 diabetics

Dr. Jason Fung, a presenter at the 2015 Old Mutual LCHF Health Convention in Cape Town, discusses how the use of insulin in the treatment of type 2 diabetes could be fuelling rather than treating the condition.


Dr. Jason Fung, a nephrologist with a special interest in weight management and diabetes. He will be presenting a lecture on insulin toxicity and how to cure type 2 diabetes at the Old Mutual Low-Carb High-Fat Health Convention in Cape Town.

For many years, type 2 diabetes has been thought of as a chronic, progressive disease that is incurable but now, researchers are exploring the possibility that type 2 diabetes can be prevented by counteracting insulin resistance.

Insulin resistance is a condition whereby the body is unable to properly utilise the insulin it produces, leading to hyperglycaemia (high blood glucose levels) and potentially causing obesity and type 2 diabetes.

But what causes insulin resistance?

Dr. Fung believes that insulin itself may be a significant cause of insulin resistance. In a previous lecture published on his website, Dr. Fung compares insulin resistance to other forms of resistance such as that to drugs or antibiotics. 

When the body is continuously exposed to a drug or antibiotic, over time the effectiveness of the dose is reduced. This means that higher dose is required each time the body develops resistance, causing a continuous cycle of increased exposure and increased resistance.

Listen: Why prescribing insulin is wrong for type 2 diabetics. Dr. Jason Fung discusses how he helps his patients manage and reverse type 2 diabetes through diet. He also explains how the all too common prescription of insulin to treat type 2 diabetes is wrong and causes insulin resistance.

Watch the full lecture from his website here:

Insulin toxicity

In his lecture, Dr. Fung also quotes a study published in Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism that showed that higher exposure to insulin is associated with increased mortality. When considering this increased risk of mortality, Dr. Fund believes that insulin is a toxic agent.

Dr. Fung compares the treatment of type 2 diabetes with insulin to the treatment of alcoholism with alcohol. It may improve the symptoms but it doesn’t address the cause of the condition. For these reasons, Dr. Fung believes that the use of insulin in the treatment of type 2 diabetes should be avoided.

How should type 2 diabetes be treated then?

In terms of medication, Dr. Fung believes that Metformin, Acarbose and Januvia should be prescribed instead of insulin, thiazolidinediones and sulphonylureas that increase the effect of insulin. 

When the use of Metformin, Acarbose or Januvia is not completely effective in managing type 2 diabetes, Dr. Fung suggests considering weight-loss surgery.

Procedures such as a gastric bypass, gastrectomy and laparoscopic banding have been shown to be highly effective in reversing type 2 diabetes in up to 90% of cases according to Dr. Fung.

He also presents evidence to suggest that fasting and calorie-restricted diets can improve insulin sensitivity and the functioning of the insulin-producing beta cells. 

Dr. Fung’s theory on insulin toxicity challenges previous theories on the optimal treatment for type 2 diabetes. He urges that type 2 diabetes should not be viewed as a progressive disease but rather as a reversible one. His belief is that insulin is causing type 2 diabetes to become progressive where, in fact, it could be reversed using other methods if insulin is avoided.

As mentioned, Dr. Fung will be presenting on the topic at the Old Mutual Low-Carb High-Fat Convention. The convention is currently being held at the Cape Town Convention Centre from 19 – 21 February. Dr. Fung will be lecturing at 10:00 on Friday the 20th of February. 

Read more:

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