Almost every other person these days is suffering from Diabetes type 1 or 2. Recently researchers from Newcastle and Glasgow Universities claimed that they have discovered a new way to effectively reverse type 2 diabetes. The method they discovered does not require any new kind of drug or invasive surgery. Diabetes Type 2 is a chronic condition that affects how a person’s body will metabolize the sugar. In this type, either they have developed resistance to the hormone insulin or their pancreas fails to produce enough insulin to absorb the sugar content in the body.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), global diabetes cases have increased from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014. Those numbers are expected to reach 642 million by 2040. According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports, around 90 to 95 percent cases of type 2 diabetes are found in adults.
Since very long it has been believed that the condition is manageable but not curable. According to the findings published in the journal The Lancer, type 2 diabetes can be reversed through weight loss. By reducing the amount of fat being carried in and around the abdomen since the accumulated fat is a reason the function of the pancreas is disturbed.
The researchers carried out the study on 298 patients who aged between 20 to 65 and were diagnosed with diabetes type 2 within the previous 6 years. Half of these patients were put on a low calorie-diet and lost an average of 10 to 15kgs. The other half of patients were serving as the control group, and received the best diabetes management available but did not include a weight loss program.
The patients who lost weight more than half, their diabetes go into remission: 86% of the patients who lost more than 15kgs, 57% who lost 10 to 15kg and 34% who lost 5 to 10 kg.
The patients in the control group who were on diabetes management but not on weight control, only 4% of them noticed their diabetes go into remission.
Lead researcher Roy Taylor, from the Newcastle University, said, “These findings are very exciting. They could revolutionize the way type 2 diabetes is treated. This builds on the work into the underlying cause of the condition, so that we can target management effectively.” Many of the current treatments for type 2 involve medication and even surgery to control stomach capacity.
“Substantial weight loss results in reduced fat inside the liver and pancreas, allowing these organs to return to normal function. What we’re seeing is that losing weight isn’t just linked to the better management of type 2 diabetes, significant weight loss could actually result in lasting remission,” added Taylor, whose team presented the results of the trials at the International Diabetes Federation Congress in Abu Dhabi.
It is a standard practice for physicians to encourage if not prescribed, a healthy diet for most of their patients especially those with type 2 diabetes. However, dietary guidance has not been the focus of treatment for diabetes or similar conditions.
“Rather than addressing the root cause, management guidelines for type 2 diabetes focus on reducing blood sugar levels through drug treatment. Diet and lifestyle are touched upon, but diabetes remission by cutting calories is rarely discussed.” Taylor said.
The new study showed that a diet comprising of 825 to 853 calories per day over a period of 3 to 5 months, followed by a gradual reintroduction of the food in the next 6 to 8 weeks can have a very effective impact on the patient. Micheal Lean, the co-lead researcher from the University of Glasgow explained, “Our findings suggest that even if you have type 2 diabetes for 6 years, putting the disease into remission is feasible. 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.”
These new findings present a hopeful option not just for improved management of the condition but a potential cure too. A cure that doesn’t rely on expensive medication or surgery but instead on improved lifestyle and diet, which not only cures diabetes but also prevents a number of other chronic conditions which are affected by weight. Taylor said, “The weight loss goals provided by this programme are achievable for many people. The big challenge is long-term avoidance of weight regains.”