New research in the US and UK has shown astonishing results by treating Type 2 diabetes with nothing more than an extremely low-calorie diet. In fact, a recent clinical trial of an 8-week, 800 calories per day diet resulted in all of the participants reversing their diabetes. Even more remarkable, almost 70% of participants remained diabetes free fully 3 months after the highly restricted diet ended.
Eleven Type 2 diabetes patients (all of whom became diabetic as adults) participated in the clinical trials, under expert medical supervision at Newcastle University in the UK. Difficult to treat, and usually a lifelong condition, Type 2 diabetes condition caused by excess glucose, a sugar in the bloodstream.
For eight weeks, the participants adhered to a diet restricted to 800 calories a day: 600 calories of diet drinks and 200 calories of non-starchy vegetables. A control group consisted of non-diabetic participants.
Results began to show in only one week, when pre-breakfast monitoring by the Newcastle team discovered that the diabetic participants had achieved measured normal blood sugar levels.
Common Type 2 diabetes treatment involves diet change and tablets, as well as insulin injections for some patients. This approach focused on the pancreas’ inability to produce sufficient insulin to breaks down blood glucose for the diabetic’s body to use as energy. This type of treatment was also developed to address cases of insulin insensitivity, when the blood glucose simply does not respond correctly to body’s insulin.
The finding that a treatment consisting of reduced calorie diet alone may reverse Type 2 diabetes amounts to “a radical change in… how we can explain it to people newly diagnosed with the condition. While it has long been believed that someone with Type 2 diabetes will always have the disease, and that it will steadily get worse, we have shown that we can reverse the condition,” according to Newcastle’s Dr. Roy Taylor, who led the trials.
Further research presented at a recent American Diabetes Association confirms that a very low calorie diet clears fat from the pancreas, resulting in normal insulin secretion in just a few months. In the US clinical trials, Type 2 diabetes patients went on a drastically limited diet.
Three months later, after returning to their normal diets (with advice healthier diet choices and portion size), ten people re-tested were found to be diabetes-free. Moreover, MRI scans of these patients’ pancreas fat levels produces a critical finding: as these fat levels returned to a normal level of about 6%, the pancreas began to normalize insulin production, so that even after-meal blood glucose levels also started to improve.
A drastically reduced calorie diet requires strict medical supervision, and further research would be needed to gauge its long-term effectiveness in terms of reversing diabetes, particularly without other medical interventions. However, there is much cause for hope that this radical approach can help many Type 2 patients, based in part on the testimonials of the Newcastle study’s participants. One of these, a 67-year old man had been on a regimen of diabetes and cholesterol medications when he took part in the study. He described the diet as very difficult to maintain; it helped to keep active to distract himself from the “quite severe” hunger he experienced, and having the support of his wife, who also went on the diet with him.
“At the end of the trial, I was told my insulin levels were normal and after six years, I no longer needed my diabetes tablets. Still today, 18 months on, I don’t take them. It’s astonishing really that a diet – hard as it was – could change my health so drastically. After six years of having diabetes I can tell the difference – I feel better, even walking round the golf course is easier.”
Results like these offer great hope for many suffering from Type 2 diabetes. Staying abreast of continuing research on calorie-reduction treatment, and working closely with your medical practitioner are the best steps to take to find out if this approach could help you reverse diabetes.