Type 2 diabetes can be cured in four months — if you cut calories and exercise, research shows
Type 2 diabetes can be reversed in just four months by cutting calories, exercising and keeping glucose under control, a trial has shown.
The trial involved creating a personalized exercise regime for each participant and reducing their calories by between 500 and 750 a day. Participants also met regularly with a nurse and dietician to track progress and continued to take medication and insulin to manage their blood sugar levels.
After just four months, 40 per cent of patients were able to stop taking their medication because their bodies had begun to produce adequate amounts of insulin again.
The researchers said the program worked because it gave the insulin-producing pancreas “a rest and decreases fat stores in the body, which in turn improves insulin production and effectiveness.”
Dr. Natalia McInnes, of McMaster University, Ontario, Canada, said: “The research might shift the paradigm of treating diabetes from simply controlling glucose to an approach where we induce remission and then monitor patients for any signs of relapse.”
The number of people in the UK with type 2 diabetes has risen from 700,000 in the 1990s to 2.8 million today, according to new figures from Cardiff University. The condition costs the NHS about CAD$23 billion a year, but if the intervention worked at the same level for Britons, then more than one million people could be cured.
The condition occurs when an individual does not produce enough insulin — the hormone that allows cells to absorb glucose into the blood — or when the insulin that is produced does not work properly. It can lead to kidney disease and blindness and increases the risk of a heart attack and stroke.
Diabetes UK is currently funding a large trial to find out if a low calorie diet can put type 2 diabetes into remission in the long term. Emily Burns, from the charity, said: “We’re starting to see mounting evidence that putting type 2 diabetes into remission is feasible.”
The research was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
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