What NOT to Do for Diabetes

What NOT to Do for Diabetes

Julian Whitaker, MD

Many mistakes are made in conventional medicine, but the most egregious are those that cause obvious harm to patients, yet are made over and over and over again. The now-discarded practices of using toxic mercury to treat syphilis, highly addictive opium to ease even minor pain, and bloodletting to “cure” practically everything are past examples that come to mind.

Are such mistakes being made in conventional medicine today? Absolutely. One of the worst and most obvious is treating obese, type 2 noninsulin-dependent diabetic patients with insulin.

Insulin Causes Weight Gain

Since the 1920s, insulin has been used as a medical therapy for people with type 1, insulin-dependent diabetes, who’ve lost the ability to produce insulin naturally. For these patients, it’s a lifesaver. However, when given to obese individuals with type 2 diabetes, insulin actually makes matters worse.

That’s because in these folks, the pancreas is already working overtime, producing two or three times the amount of insulin normally needed. The problem is that their cells are resistant to insulin’s signals. Throwing more insulin into the mix only causes additional weight gain, which makes blood sugar control virtually impossible. This phenomenon is so predictable that when I talk to heavy diabetics who are on insulin, I don’t ask them if they’ve gained weight—I ask them how much.

A few years ago, I was giving a lecture on this topic to a group of hospital administrators. Thanks to their positions, the audience members had their choice of physicians and assumed they were receiving top-notch medical care. After my talk, I was approached by the heaviest human being I’d ever seen. This gentleman told me he appreciated my comments because he had experienced exactly the same thing. Over the previous eight years, since he had started taking insulin, he had put on 170 pounds!

How could his doctor not have made the correlation? Patients who gain weight because of insulin therapy tell me their physicians almost always chastise them for not staying on their diets or for being lazy and not exercising. Doctors seem to be blind to the clear links between increasing weight and insulin use in the people they regularly monitor, so they blame their patients for something they obviously caused!

There’s no excuse for this horrific error. Yet, if you’re overweight and your blood sugar is high, what does your doctor do? He spouts pabulum about diet, exercise, and weight loss, sends you to a dietician or nutritionist perhaps—then pulls out the prescription pad and prescribes insulin and more insulin. I can only assume that physicians do this to justify their existence.

A Remarkable Mentor

When I was a med student and intern at Emory University and Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, John Davidson, MD, was head of the endocrinology/diabetes departments. In 1972, landmark studies were published demonstrating that insulin provided no benefits in type 2 diabetes but caused significant weight gain, and that oral diabetes drugs dramatically increased complication rates. In response, Dr. Davidson forbade the use of all diabetic pills and limited insulin to patients who had achieved normal weight. Instead, he treated the 18,000 diabetic patients he was responsible for with intensive lifestyle changes and a hospital-based fasting protocol for those who were seriously obese.

Twenty years later, Dr. Davidson retired, and the department was taken over by someone else. At that point, all the oral diabetes drugs—with their horrific side effects—made their way back into the pharmacy, and doctors began fattening up their diabetic patients with insulin, just as they do across the entire country.

An Approach That Work

Over the past 32 years, we’ve treated close to 15,000 diabetic patients at the Whitaker Wellness Institute, and it is clinic policy to stop all oral diabetes drugs as well as insulin in obese individuals. Like Dr. Davidson, we put patients on a therapeutic diet and exercise program such as the mini-fast (as discussed in the introduction). Rather than ballooning up like the Michelin Man—which is the inevitable fate of insulin-treated type 2 diabetics—our patients universally lose weight. We’ve had men and women arrive at our doors carrying up to 100 pounds of insulin-induced excess weight, only to watch it melt away when the insulin was replaced with a program to control both their weight and blood sugar.

This isn’t an overnight cure. It takes time and requires effort on the part of the patient and doctor alike. But at our clinic, we’re all on the same team and have the same goal and commitment to success.


  • Overcoming diabetes doesn’t require a prescription but rather a program of diet, exercise, weight loss, and targeted supplements. To learn more about my drug-free approach to type 2 diabetes, order my book Reversing Diabetes by clicking here or calling (800) 810-6655.
  • To learn more about receiving diabetes treatment at Whitaker Wellness, call (866) 944-8253.


  • Davidson, JK. Clinical Diabetes Mellitus: A Problem-Oriented Approach (Third Edition). New York, NY: Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc.; 2000.

Modified from Health & Healing with permission from Healthy Directions, LLC. Photocopying, reproduction, or quotation strictly prohibited without written permission from the publisher. To subscribe to Health & Healing, click here.

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