Do you suffer from type 2 diabetes? Well, you aren’t alone. Statistics show that more than 422 million people worldwide are living with this chronic disease. As you may already know, type 2 diabetes is characterized by the body’s inability to regulate blood glucose (sugar). More specifically, the body is unable to produce or use insulin properly, resulting in insulin resistance and subsequently too much glucose in the blood.
There’s good news for the countless men and women living with type 2 diabetes, however. According to a new study conducted by researchers in the United Kingdom, dieting and weight loss may reverse and essentially eliminate the disease.
For the study, Dr. Roy Taylor and his team of colleagues at Newcastle University recruited 300 participants, all of whom had been previously diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The participants were then placed into one of two groups: one group received traditional treatment for diabetes, including medication, while the other group entered a weight loss program. Participants in the weight loss program group was asked to stop all diabetes drugs they were taking.
The goal of the dieting program was to lose up to 30 pounds. Researchers used a low-calorie diet consisting of just 850 calories a day, as well as educational training on health and dieting. Researchers followed both groups for a year.
So, what did they find? Researchers found that most participants in the diet group lost an average of 22 pounds. Participants in the control group – the ones that continued to take regular diabetes medication – lost an average of just 2 pounds. Moreover, about 25% of participants in the diet group lost 33 pounds or more. In comparison, none of the participants in the control group lost this much weight.
Perhaps the most interesting findings from this study, however, is that many participants in the diet group actually eliminated their type 2 diabetes. Researchers found 46% of participants in the diet group went into “diabetes remission,” meaning they no longer showed symptoms of the disease. Only 4% of participants in the control group experienced this effect.
“Bariatric surgery can achieve remission of diabetes in about three-quarters of people, but it is more expensive and risky, and is only available to a small number of patients,” said Roy Taylor of Britain’s Newcastle University, who helped lead the study.