Can You Reverse Type 2 Diabetes by Eating a Low-Calorie Diet?

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Can You Reverse Type 2 Diabetes by Eating a Low-Calorie Diet?



For years, doctors and researchers have believed that type 2 diabetes is irreversible - until now. A new study from Newcastle University and Glasgow University suggests that type 2 diabetes might not actually be a permanent condition that people have to manage for the rest of their lives. In some cases, it appears that diabetes can actually be reversed. And the cure isn't an expensive wonder drug - it's simply eating less.



What the Research Says



The Scottish study, which came out this month, found that participants who followed a very low calorie diet (VLCD) for three to five months had a 46 percent chance of seeing their type 2 diabetes go into complete remission. For people who lost a significant amount of weight (15 kg, or about 33 pounds), the odds were even better. 86 percent of participants who lost a significant amount of weight saw their diabetes go into remission.



An important note is that the participants in this study were under close medical supervision. They consumed between 825 and 853 calories every day, which is far less than the average adult consumes, even on a diet. Most doctors do not recommend eating fewer than 1200 calories a day without medical supervision.



Why Does a Low-Calorie Diet Work?



It's clear that a low-calorie diet worked wonders for the participants in the study. Only about four percent of diabetes patients see their condition go into remission with typical treatment, but nearly half of the participants in the study were able to get rid of their diabetes. Why did this happen?



The researchers who conducted the study believe that weight loss - and not the VLCD itself - was key to reversing the participants' diabetes. This is because excess fat tends to collect inside the liver and pancreas, which makes it harder for these organs to work correctly. Over time, extra body weight contributes to the development of diabetes. It appears that if people can lose excess weight quickly after they're diagnosed with diabetes, they may be able to stop the disease from progressing - or even turn it around entirely.



Should You Adopt a Low-Calorie Diet Yourself?



Conducting a study is one thing, but putting the findings into practice is another. If you've been diagnosed with diabetes recently, could a low-calorie diet help you reverse it?



Probably - but that answer comes with some caveats. First, know that you probably shouldn't limit yourself to eating 850 calories a day, like the participants in the study did. Unless you are under a doctor's close supervision, it can be dangerous to eat that little. Eating a VLCD increases your risk of developing nutritional deficiencies, and it can even damage your heart over time.



However, that doesn't mean you can't use the key takeaway from the study to improve your own health. The researchers found that weight loss is the key factor in reversing type 2 diabetes. If you've just been diagnosed with diabetes, losing weight will almost certainly improve your health and give you the best odds possible of getting rid of the condition.



If you're a woman, aim for a daily intake of 1200 calories. If you're a man, shoot for a target of 1500 calories. Make sure to eat healthy low calorie meals that contains plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. If you stick to your plan faithfully, you will lose weight - and you won't put your health at risk by following a VLCD.



The Takeaway



Diabetes might not be a permanent condition. While more research needs to be done, a newly-published study indicates that eating a low-calorie diet after diagnosis can make diabetes go into remission. Weight loss appears to be the key factor at play, since study participants who lost the most weight were also the most likely to reverse their diabetes. If you want to reverse your diabetes, following a moderately low-calorie diet might be able to help you achieve the same results.



Comments

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