Weight Can In Fact Reverse Type 2 Diabetes, Study Shows

Primary care weight loss schemes 'reversed half of Type 2 diabetes cases'

Dr Emily Burns, Diabetes UK acting head of research communications, said: 'Thanks to ground-breaking research like DiRECT we're beginning to change the conversation around Type 2 diabetes, and that's a conversation that Global Positioning System can have with their patients as well.

The team believes Type 2 diabetes is caused when accumulated fat in the pancreas and liver interferes with insulin production, which in turn sees blood sugar levels spiking.

The Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial (DiRECT), funded by Diabetes UK and published today in the Lancet, found that after 12 months nearly half of participants had achieved remission to a non-diabetic state on an intensive calorie controlled programme without increasing diabetes medication.

Worldwide, the number of people with type 2 diabetes has quadrupled over 35 years, rising from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014. Those numbers are expected to reach 642 million by 2040.

In comparison, only 4% of the group treated with regular diabetes care showed signs of remission. "Diet and lifestyle are touched upon, but diabetes remission by cutting calories is rarely discussed", Taylor told The Guardian.

"A major difference from other studies is that we advised a period of dietary weight loss with no increase in physical activity, but during the long-term follow up increased daily activity is important".

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The Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial (DiRECT) randomly assigned patients to either an intensive weight management programme or regular care.

Of the 36 people who lost at least 15kg 86% reversed their diabetes. The trial was delivered through GP practices across Scotland and Tyneside to find out if the benefits of a structured weight management programme can be felt in a real-life primary care setting.

Key to the Direct study is the target of achieving a 15kg reduction in weight in patients in the first 12 weeks of treatment using a very low energy diet and then devising methods of keeping that weight off, he added. According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports, type 2 diabetes accounts for around 90 to 95 percent of cases in adults. Some 46 percent of the participants following a low calorie diet for three to five months were also able to stop taking diabetes medication. Patients were also given nutritional education and cognitive behavioral therapy.

Isobel Murray, 65 from North Ayrshire, was one of those who took part.

The two-year study, funded by Diabetes UK, set about finding an effective and accessible way to put type 2 diabetes into remission for the long term. "I don't think of myself as a diabetic anymore".

Professor Taylor said: "These findings are very exciting". The weightloss goals provided by this programme are achievable for many people'. "The big challenge is long-term avoidance of weight re-gain".

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