A new study has shown that a strict diet can put Type-2 diabetes into remission
Type-2 diabetes has long been thought of as a progressive disease that can be managed, but not reversed. But after a study of nearly 300 adults in England showed a 850-calorie liquid diet can put the disease into remission, the country’s National Health Service (NHS) has now prescribed the treatment to 5,000 people.
The out-of-control sugar levels resulting from the disease can often lead to heart disease, strokes, and visual problems, as well as poor blood-flow, which can result in amputations. A lack of exercise and poor diet can increase one’s risk for developing the disease.
The study, funded by Diabetes UK, was led by researchers at Newcastle University and the University of Glasgow. Between 2014 and 2016, adults who had the disease for less than six years and who weren’t on insulin followed a 825–853 calorie diet for 12 to 20 weeks. Out of those who lost 15 kilograms (33 pounds) or more, nine out of 10 saw their diabetes go into remission.
Weight loss helps puts the disease in remission by reducing the amount of fat inside the pancreas, which allows the organ to revert to normal function and insulin production. The sooner that weight loss begins after being diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes, the better.
To fend off the disease, patients don’t have to continue on with the strict liquid diet, but they do have to succeed in keeping their weight stable. Evidence to date suggests that the disease will return with weight gain.