In early November, we reported how a team at Yale University had uncovered the key metabolic mechanisms responsible for lowering blood glucose concentrations in those on a very low calorie diet. Now a new study published in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet is offering more evidence to support the theory that type 2 diabetes can be effectively cured through intensive dieting and weight management.
The latest study, conducted by a team led by researchers at the University of Glasgow, has successfully demonstrated that type 2 diabetes can indeed be reversed through a weight management program alone. The study found nearly half of all participants had reverted to, and maintained, a non-diabetic state without using antidiabetic medications, one year after undergoing the program.
"Our findings suggest that even if you have had type 2 diabetes for six years, putting the disease into remission is feasible," says Michael Lean, who co-led the study. "In contrast to other approaches, we focus on the need for long-term maintenance of weight loss through diet and exercise and encourage flexibility to optimize individual results."
The trial followed 298 adults over two years. Half the participants underwent the new weight management program, while the other half served as a control group following general best-practice diabetic treatments. The weight management program comprised of the subjects withdrawing from all anti-diabetic drugs and undergoing a total diet replacement. For three to five months each participant consumed a formula diet adding up to around 800 calories per day.
The results were remarkable, with nearly half of all participants displaying full diabetes remission one year after the program. Even more interesting was the correlation between remission and degree of weight loss, with 86 percent of the participants that dropped over 15 kg (33lb) achieving full remission.
"Rather than addressing the root cause, management guidelines for type 2 diabetes focus on reducing blood sugar levels through drug treatments," explains co-lead on the study Roy Taylor from Newcastle University. "Diet and lifestyle are touched upon but diabetes remission by cutting calories is rarely discussed."
This trial, alongside other recent studies, provides strong evidence that dietary intervention should be the primary form of treatment for those millions of people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes every year.
The new study was published in the journal The Lancet.
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