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Type 2 Diabetes May Be Reversed With Weight Loss

Another study finds that substantial weight loss can frequently reverse type 2 diabetes -  in 46% of people who had the disease 6 years or less. In the study (which was conducted in the United Kingdom) individuals were randomly assigned to different groups - either standard medical care for diabetes group or intense weight loss group (intense dieting in the first 4 months of the study), and then all were followed for 8 months (maintenance period). Those whose diabetes was reversed were all in the weight loss group and lost an average of 35 pounds during the weight loss (dieting) phase.

According to the researchers some of the non-responders (their diabetes did not reverse itself) just hadn't lost enough weight, but also tended to have diabetes a little longer (3.8 years) than the responder group (2.7 years).

Another similar earlier study also found that type 2 diabetes can be reversed in many after losing weight of about 31 pounds (600 to 700 calories a day) during an 8 week period. 40% of study participants overall reversed their diabetes, but 60% of those with short-duration of diabetes (under 10 years) reversed their diabetes. IN SUMMARY: Both of these studies had fantastic results in reversing type 2 diabetes after a large weight loss, which may lead to doctors suggesting weight loss as the number one thing to do after a type 2 diabetes diagnosis. From Science Daily:

Why weight loss produces remission of type 2 diabetes in some patients

A clinical trial recently showed that nearly half of individuals with type 2 diabetes achieved remission to a non-diabetic state after a weight-loss intervention delivered within 6 years of diagnosis. Now a study published August 2nd in the journal Cell Metabolism reveals that this successful response to weight loss is associated with the early and sustained improvement in the functioning of pancreatic beta cells. This finding challenges the previous paradigm that beta-cell function is irreversibly lost in patients with type 2 diabetes. 

"This observation carries potentially important implications for the initial clinical approach to management," says senior study author Roy Taylor of Newcastle University. "At present, the early management of type 2 diabetes tends to involve a period of adjusting to the diagnosis plus pharmacotherapy with lifestyle changes, which in practice are modest. Our data suggest that substantial weight loss at the time of diagnosis is appropriate to rescue the beta cells."

According to the World Health Organization, diabetes affects approximately 422 million people worldwide. Approximately 90% of cases are type 2 diabetes, a condition in which the body does not produce enough or respond properly to insulin. This hormone, produced by beta cells in the pancreas, helps a sugar called glucose in the blood enter cells in muscle, fat, and liver to be used for energy. Type 2 diabetes has long been considered a lifelong condition that worsens over time.

This traditional view was recently challenged by results from the United-Kingdom-based Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial (DiRECT) overseen by Taylor. The participants, who were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes within 6 years of the start of the study, were randomly assigned to best-practice care (control group) or an intensive primary-care-led weight-management program (intervention group). One year later, 46% of the individuals in the intervention group successfully responded to weight loss in that they recovered and maintained control over blood glucose concentrations. Some non-responders simply had not lost enough weight, but in those who had, it was not clear how their response differed from that of responders.

... They found that responders to the weight loss program were similar to non-responders before the intervention but had a shorter duration of diabetes (2.7 years vs. 3.8 years). Both responders and non-responders had lost comparable amounts of weight, leading to similar reductions in liver fat content, pancreatic fat content, and blood concentrations of triglycerides. However, only the responders demonstrated early and sustained improvement in beta-cell function. In particular, the most striking difference between responders and non-responders was the first-phase insulin response

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