The diabetes diet
Now scientists say killer disease can be rolled back without drugs... by eating smart and losing 2st 5lbs
TYPE 2 diabetes could be reversed – simply by losing weight, experts say.
Researchers found some patients managed to become non-diabetic again by losing 15kg – or 2st 5lb – meaning they no longer need to rely upon powerful diabetes medication.
Experts are now conducting a major clinical trial to find out what proportion of type 2 sufferers are able to reverse their condition via weight loss.
A study, published in the British Medical Journal by experts from Glasgow University and Newcastle University, states: ‘Consistent evidence shows that weight loss is associated with extended life expectancy for people with diabetes, and that weight loss of around 15kg often produces total biochemical remission of type 2 diabetes.’
It adds: ‘Remission produces a strong sense of empowerment. It also benefits medical systems because patients no longer require antidiabetes drugs.’
Previous studies have shown that surgical operations, such as gastric banding and gastric bypass are potential solutions to type 2 diabetes because the dramatic weight loss can lead to remission for up to 80 per cent of patients.
But now researchers have set out to find out whether simple lifestyle changes can have the same effect on patients without the need for invasive surgery.
Experts have launched a clinical trial they say could revolutionise the way type 2 diabetes, triggered by being overweight and a lack of exercise, is treated and managed.
Current medication for type 2 diabetes reduces blood glucose but allows the disease to progress, taking five to eight years off a patient’s life. But if weight loss can be proven effective for a significant proportion of patients, researchers say it could have ‘massive implications for healthcare spending’.
The DIRECT (Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial) study, led by Glasgow University’s Professor Mike Lean and Newcastle University’s Professor Roy Taylor, will see 300 patients aged between 20 and 60 put on weight management programmes.
The effectiveness of this approach will be compared to the best current type 2 care.
It is hoped the £2.4million study, funded by Diabetes UK, will help ‘stem the rising tide of type 2 diabetes’.
Professor Lean has also called for GPs to start keeping more accurate records of when type 2 patients go into remission.
He explained: ‘GPs in the UK are rewarded with practice payments for recording that they have made a diagnosis of diabetes, and then for prescribing drugs for it.
‘Recording remission, however, is extremely rare, perhaps because doctors fear that their payments might cease.
‘In fact, if the correct code is used, those payments will continue, but they actually deserve a much greater reward if they can help their diabetic patients achieve remission, and save the NHS the costs of the drugs and the complications.’
NHS Scotland spends an estimated £90million on drugs annually to treat more than 276,000 Scots living with diabetes.
Emily Burns of Diabetes UK said: ‘The ability to put type 2 diabetes into remission could be transformative for millions of people around the world.’
Healthy: Weight loss through diet can reverse diabetes