Can a Low-Calorie Diet Reverse Type 2 Diabetes?

While anecdotal evidence has suggested that significant weight loss can reverse Type 2 diabetes, the hard science was lacking — until now. A new study demonstrates that a restricted calorie diet plan can, indeed, mitigate diabetes symptoms.

Researchers at Newcastle University and Glasgow University aimed to build on a pilot study that suggested extreme calorie restriction and resulting weight loss might reverse Type 2 diabetes.

To that end, researchers recruited 298 people for the Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial (DiRECT) and divided them into two groups: one that would receive the standard care given to all people living with Type 2 diabetes, and one that would receive an additional weight reduction diet plan.

In some cases, it can be dangerous for diabetics to attempt to manage their diagnosis through diet, as there has been very little independent, peer-reviewed evidence that sustainable remission can be achieved in this manner — until this study, that is.

The weight management program offered to half of the test group entailed a low calorie but nutritionally complete plan of health drinks and soups. This limited participants to 825-853 calories per day for a period of between three and five months.

The researchers then helped the participants gradually reintroduce foods back into their diet and up their calorie intake to a relatively normal level, while cultivating healthier weight management strategies like exercise — all under close medical supervision.

 

Around 46 percent of patients who started the trial went into remission a year later, meaning that their bodies’ glucose sensitivity had returned to a near-normal state. Of that group, 86 percent who lost 15kg or more saw their Type 2 diabetes enter remission.

Given that the best existing treatments yield a four percent remission rate, this regimen offers a much higher success rate — and suggests that the key to reversal may be in losing a substantial amount of weight.

An overview of Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetic condition, representing over 90 percent of sufferers. This form of diabetes is characterized by an inability to properly utilize simple sugars. The resulting glucose build-up can create several significant — and, if left untreated, debilitating — health problems.

Despite this risk, early symptoms of Type 2 diabetes can be easy to miss. They include excessive thirst, frequent urination, increased appetite and tiredness that does not seem to be dependent on a person’s sleep cycle. Other symptoms can include a sudden loss of muscle mass and resulting weakness.

Many of these factors tend to coincide with climbing or unhealthy weight, and there is a significant overlap with obesity. Due to the fact that diabetes can make weight management difficult and exercise challenging, these symptoms can lead to reduced mobility and loss of limb function.

Will this study change the way we treat type 2 diabetes?

Of course, not everyone who has Type 2 diabetes will experience drastic health problems. Many effective health strategies exist, and it is quite possible to lead a full life with the condition.

Nevertheless, this research illustrates that tackling Type 2 diabetes early and aggressively may be the best approach for stopping it in its tracks — or even sending people into remission.

Lead researcher Roy Taylor explained:

Substantial weight loss results in reduced fat inside the liver and pancreas, allowing these organs to return to normal function. What we’re seeing from DiRECT is that losing weight isn’t just linked to better management of Type 2 diabetes: significant weight loss could actually result in lasting remission.

As with any study, there several important limitations to this research. For one thing, everyone in the weight management study was white. We can’t safely assume therefore that this effect will translate to other ethnic groups, and researchers will need to explore this as the trial continues.

Another caveat is that we don’t yet know whether this remission effect is sustainable. While the initial outlook from the trial appears positive, this treatment option may not yield long-term changes for participants and how they approach food and weight management.

Nevertheless, this study offers hope that we are closer to developing a sustainable solution for reversing Type 2 diabetes — and that’s quite exciting.

37 comments

Stephanie s
Stephanie s3 months ago

Thank you

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Stephanie s
Stephanie s3 months ago

Thank you

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Caitlin B
Past Member 4 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Gino C
Past Member 4 months ago

Thanks

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Winn Adams
Winn A4 months ago

Thanks

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Winn Adams
Winn A4 months ago

Noted

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Danuta W
Danuta W4 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Past Member
Past Member 4 months ago

The only symptom that I had was tingling in my legs especially at night after I retired to bed. The tingling became more severe where I could not get them to stop. I thought I had restless leg syndrome. My doctor tested me for diabetes and found that I had type II diabetes and the sugar was attacking my legs because it had no place to go. He put me on a sugar free diet and Actos and within one to two days my symptom were gone.. One day I got extremely sick, could not keep anything down, had blurry vision, a rapid heartbeat.I Started taking metformin 1000 mg twice daily. I am writing this to inform others that nothing was really working to help my condition.I went off the metformin (with the doctor’s knowledge) and started on Diabetes herbal formula i ordered from Health Herbal Clinic, my symptoms totally declined over a 7 weeks use of the Diabetes natural herbal formula. i am now doing very well, Visit there website www. healthherbalclinic. net or email Info@ healthherbalclinic. net This treatment is incredible!

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Peggy B
Peggy B4 months ago

Julie W is correct.

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Ann B
Ann B4 months ago

another study??

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