LIFESTYLE

Type 2 Diabetes Can Be 'Reversed' Long-Term With Low Calorie Diet

'If a person really wants to get rid of their Type 2 diabetes, they can lose weight, keep it off and return to normal.'

22/03/2016 09:49 GMT

Type 2 diabetes patients could completely reverse their condition by sticking to a low calorie diet, new research has suggested.

A group of 30 volunteers with Type 2 diabetes were asked to follow a very low calorie diet, consisting of between 600-700 calories per day.

At the end of the trial, 12 patients - all of whom had suffered diabetes for less than 10 years - had reversed their condition.

Six months later they still remained free of the condition and a 13th patient had managed to reverse their diabetes too.

Researchers now hope to conduct a larger study to see if people can successfully reverse their diabetes through weight loss under the guidance from their GP.

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After adopting a low calorie diet, the study's participants lost, on average, 14 kilograms - just over two stone. 

Over the next six months they did not regain any weight.

Many of the people in the group suffered from longer duration diabetes, which they'd had for anywhere between eight and 23 years. 

Six months after the trial took place, 13 of the 30 volunteers had managed to completely reverse the condition.

Despite the volunteers losing weight they still remained overweight or obese. But, according to researchers, they had lost enough weight to remove the fat out of the pancreas and allow normal insulin production.

Professor Taylor, from Newcastle University, told the Press Association: "What we have shown is that it is possible to reverse your diabetes, even if you have had the condition for a long time, up to around 10 years.

"If you have had the diagnosis for longer than that, then don't give up hope - major improvement in blood sugar control is possible.

"The study also answered the question that people often ask me - if I lose the weight and keep the weight off, will I stay free of diabetes? The simple answer is yes."

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Professor Taylor added: "Interestingly, even though all our volunteers remained obese or overweight, the fat did not drift back to clog up the pancreas.

"This supports our theory of a Personal Fat Threshold. If a person gains more weight than they personally can tolerate, then diabetes is triggered, but if they then lose that amount of weight then they go back to normal.

"Individuals vary in how much weight they can carry without it seeming to affect their metabolism - don't forget that 70% of severely obese people do not have diabetes.

"The bottom line is that if a person really wants to get rid of their Type 2 diabetes, they can lose weight, keep it off and return to normal.

"This is good news for people who are very motivated to get rid of their diabetes."

Professor Taylor said it was "too early" to tell if the study is suitable for everyone. But added that a separate larger study is hoping to answer this.

The trial, involving 280 patients, has now started to see how successfully people can reverse their diabetes through weight loss simply under the care of their family doctor and nurse.

The findings, which were published in the journal Diabetes Care, come as health officials announced that personal trainers and exercise classes will be offered to overweight people to try and tackle the growing threat of diabetes. 

As many as 100,000 people who have been identified as "high risk" by medical experts will be prescribed a weight loss course on the NHS, consisting of exercise classes and dietary advice.

The programme, which is worth £320 per person, will roll out within the next four years across 27 different areas.

 
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