The first-year results of a clinical trial have shown that nearly half of people partaking in an intensive weight management program delivered through primary care achieved remission of their type 2 diabetes without medication. And while it normally strikes people aged 45 and older, an increasing number of children and young adults are also developing type 2 diabetes.
According to Dr Sujeet Jha from Max hospital Saket, radical weight loss helps remove excess fat from the pancreas. It can lead to serious and life-threatening complications, including blindness and foot amputations, heart and kidney disease.
'In the meantime, we need to stress to people with Type 2 diabetes the importance of speaking to their GP, and seeking their support, before trying any kind of low calorie diet'.
Prof Roy Taylor from Newcastle University, lead researcher in the trial funded by Diabetes UK, said: "These findings are very exciting".
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that affects 422 million people worldwide. This builds on the work into the underlying cause of the condition, so that we can target management effectively.
"Substantial weight loss results in reduced fat inside the liver and pancreas, allowing these organs to return to normal function", Taylor said. But it's important that anyone with Type 2 diabetes considering losing weight in this way seeks advice from a health professional'. So far more than 250,000 have joined and results show that 60 per cent of people with type 2 diabetes were able to stop using insulin following the program. 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.
"Rather than addressing the root cause, management guidelines for type 2 diabetes focus on reducing blood sugar levels through drug treatments". Evidence that Type 2 diabetes remission could be possible is building, but this research isn't finished yet.
Nearly half of the 306 participants recruited went into remission, which varied with the amount of weight loss, but the highest rates of remission being achieved in the group that lost the most weight.
The trial, done at the Magnetic Resonance Center at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom, looked at 306 participants recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in the last six years. Half of the practices put their patients on the very low calorie diet, while the rest were a control group, in which patients received usual care.
Of the participants who lost 33 pounds or more, 86 percent had their diabetes go into remission and were taken off all anti-diabetes medication, the study authors wrote.
Half continued on diabetes drugs with no weight loss intervention, while the other 149 participants were taken off all diabetes and blood pressure medication and placed on a nutritionally-balanced liquid diet of between 825 and 853 calories a day instead for three to five months, followed by gradual food reintroduction and long-term support to maintain weight loss. Patients were also given nutritional education and cognitive behavioral therapy.
However, this new study is the first to demonstrate that a weight management programme can achieve remission of Type 2 diabetes in routine primary care. "It has transformed my life", she said.
"Our findings suggest that even if you have had type 2 diabetes for 6 years", adds trial co-leader Prof.