There may be good news for some of those diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes: According to new research, even those living with the condition for a decade or more can reverse it by going on a 600- to 700-calorie daily diet.
“The good news for people with Type 2 diabetes is that our work shows that even if you have had the condition for 10 years, you are likely to be able to reverse it by moving that all-important tiny amount of fat out of the pancreas,” explains Newcastle University professor Roy Taylor, who will present his exciting findings at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Lisbon. “At present, this can only be done through substantial weight loss.”
Type 2 is by far the most common type of diabetes, accounting for more than 90 percent of all diabetics. Most people who are diabetic — about 85 percent — are obese. According to scientists, excess calories are ultimately the culprit of diabetes. When an individuals consumes too many, it can lead to fatty liver, which causes the liver to overproduce glucose. This excess fat eventually passes into the pancreas, causing the insulin-producing cells to fail. By losing less than one gram of fat from the pancreas — which can be done by cutting calories — the normal production of insulin can restart and Type 2 diabetes can be reversed.
Subjects were put on Taylor’s “One, Two” approach — a two-phase diet consisting of a period of weight loss (calorie restriction without exercise) followed by a long-term weight maintenance plan (modest calorie restriction with increased exercise) detailed in his 2016 Counterbalance study.
After just one week on the 600- to 700-calorie diet, insulin sensitivity in subjects decreased dramatically and fasting plasma glucose became normal. In eight weeks the diabetes was completely reversed. And another perk? Each person lost an average of 33 pounds.
While going on an extremely low-calorie diet doesn’t seem like a whole lot of fun, Taylor maintains his subjects didn’t mind it. “Surprisingly, it was observed that the diet devised as an experimental tool was actually liked by research participants,” he says. “It was associated with no hunger and no tiredness in most people, but with rapidly increased well-being.”
By maintaining this diet, people who once suffered from Type 2 diabetes have not only reversed it, but also continued to have normal glucose levels over years.
“I think the real importance of this work is for the patients themselves,” Taylor says. “Many have described to me how embarking on the low-calorie diet has been the only option to prevent what they thought — or had been told — was an inevitable decline into further medication and further ill health because of their diabetes. By studying the underlying mechanisms, we have been able to demonstrate the simplicity of Type 2 diabetes.”
Awesome! If you’re one of many people living with diabetes, here are some great ways to stay positive and focused on your journey to wellness.