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You can reverse diabetes for life if you keep your weight down

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This empowering fact is true even for people who have had diabetes for 10 years before changing their diets, say researchers from Newcastle University.

Lead researcher Roy Taylor showed in an earlier study that diabetes could be reversed with a low-calorie diet, but the study was over a short period and nobody was sure if the condition would return.

In his new research, Prof Taylor recruited 30 people with type 2 diabetes, some of whom had the condition from eight to 23 years. They were put on the same low-calorie diet – consuming no more than 700 calories a day – and they lost an average of 14 kilograms, or nearly two stone, over eight weeks. None regained weight in the following six months.

Twelve of the 30 who had diabetes for less than 10 years successfully reversed the condition, and were still free of the problem six months later. During that six-month period, another participant also reversed his diabetes.

Although the participants lost weight, they were still considered obese or over-weight, but Prof Taylor conjectured that they had lost enough weight to remove fat from their pancreas, which allowed for normal insulin production to resume.

So it’s not as simple as being obese, says Prof Taylor. “This supports our theory of a personal fat threshold. If a person gains more weight than they personally can tolerate, then diabetes is triggered, but if they then lose that amount of weight, then they go back to normal”.

His theory is underlined by the fact that 70 per cent of obese people don’t have diabetes.

(Source: Diabetes Care, 2016; doi: 10.2337/dc15-9422)

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Article Topics: insulin, obesity
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