Study shows strict diet followed by sensible eating can reverse type 2 diabetes

by Barbara Hewitt on March 22, 2016

A strict calorie controlled diet for eight weeks followed by sensible eating can reverse type 2 diabetes, a British study from a world renowned professor has confirmed.

The scientists found that even patients who have had type 2 diabetes for up to 10 years can reverse their condition because fat is removed from their pancreas allowing a return to normal insulin production.

The research led by Roy Taylor, professor of Medicine and Metabolism at Newcastle University, is part of a growing body of evidence showing that people with type 2 diabetes who successfully lose weight can reverse their condition.

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A previous study led by Professor Taylor, published in 2011, showed that diabetes could be reversed by a very low calorie diet. This caused international interest, but the study was very short as it was only eight weeks and the question remained whether the diabetes would stay away.

In this new study, 30 volunteers with type 2 diabetes embarked on the same diet of 600 to 700 calories a day. Participants lost on average 14 kilograms and over the next six months they did not regain any weight.

The group included many people with longer duration diabetes, defined as more than eight years and ranging up to 23 years. Overall, 12 patients who had had diabetes for less than 10 years reversed their condition. Six months later they remained diabetes free. In fact, after six months a thirteenth patient had reversed their diabetes.

Though the volunteers lost weight they remained overweight or obese but they had lost enough weight to remove the fat out of the pancreas and allow normal insulin production.

“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 as major improvement in blood sugar control is possible,” Taylor said.

“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. Interestingly, even though all our volunteers remained obese or overweight, the fat did not drift back to clog up the pancreas,” he explained.

“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,” he pointed out.

“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,” he added.

But he also pointed out that while the study is good news for people who are very motivated to get rid of their diabetes it is too early to regard this as suitable for everyone. That is a separate question and a major study is underway to answer this. A larger trial involving 280 patients will examine how successfully people can reverse their diabetes through weight loss simply under the care of their family doctor and nurse.

The diet involved three shakes per day and 240 grams of non-starchy vegetables taking in between 600 and 700kcal a day for eight weeks. Volunteers then gradually returned to eating normal food over the next two weeks with very careful instruction on how much to eat.

Allan Tutty, 57, from Sunderland, transformed his health by taking part in the study. He was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in May 2011 during routine checks by his GP and found it hard to comprehend because he had no physical symptoms.

“While I didn’t feel fat, I was fat on the inside. I’ve since seen a scan of my liver and you can see the fat around it,” he said. In two months he lost two and a half stone and his pancreas was within normal working limits.

“With my diabetes in remission, I haven’t looked back. I eat normal foods though I eat less than I used to, and I enjoy takeaways and chocolate but not on a regular basis so I have maintained my lower weight, it has been a total lifestyle change. In fact, my life has changed completely thanks to this research,” he added.


The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the DiabetesForum.com Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

David Arst March 22, 2016 at 11:45 am

Not only a Strict diet. But Also Plenty of excersize as well.

Reply

Ivan April 26, 2017 at 8:43 am

Very true.

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