A British study published in the Lancet journal on Tuesday has concluded that Type 2 diabetes can be reversed through a strict calorie-restricted diet plan.
Researchers arrived at the findings through an ongoing trial study called DiRECT (Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial), whose aim is to seek an effective way to reverse the effects of Type 2 diabetes for the long-term.
“Rather than addressing the root cause, management guidelines for Type 2 diabetes focus on reducing blood sugar levels through drug treatments. Diet and lifestyle are touched upon but diabetes remission by cutting calories is rarely discussed,” said Roy Taylor, a professor at Newcastle University who co-led the study.
The researchers observed 149 participants who have had Type 2 diabetes for up to six months as they underwent a rigorous diet that contained only 825 to 853 calories per day for three to five months. By the sixth month, the participants were reintroduced to solid food and were made to maintain a strict diet until the end of the yearlong study.
After a year, researchers discovered that nearly half of the participants (68 in all) underwent a remission even without undergoing medication. Moreover, the participants lost a lot of weight during that period, losing an average of more than 20 pounds. Thirty-two of 168 participants dropped out of the program, however.
According to the National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, about 10 percent of American adults have diabetes, while 84 million are considered prediabetic. Prediabetes, if not treated, leads to Type 2 diabetes within five years. Type 2 diabetes occurs when a person’s body doesn’t produce enough insulin. The lack of insulin can lead to unstable blood sugar levels, which could have fatal consequences to a person’s health.
Extensive research has discovered that obesity increases the likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes. According to CDC, 90 to 95 percent of more than 30 million Americans afflicted with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes, if allowed to progress over time, can have devastating consequences to one’s health. If a person living with the condition undergoes a remission, the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and stroke is vastly reduced.
The initial results of the trial are encouraging on account of the discovery that remission could be achievable for some people if they have the discipline to stick to a structured diet plan. The study also seeks to understand the long-term effects of the treatment and determine the steps each healthcare professional has to take to treat people with Type 2 diabetes.