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Low-cal diet can 'defeat diabetes'

A short-term clinical trial funded by Diabetes UK showed that diabetes “can be reversed” using a low-calorie diet.

A woman testing her blood sugar at home.
A woman testing her blood sugar at home.
Image: Steve Yeater/AP/Press Association Images

TYPE 2 DIABETES can be beaten by adhering to a strict low-calorie diet, a new study has shown.

Research funded by Diabetes UK and carried out by a team from Newcastle University made the discovery during an early-stage clinical trial of 11 people.

Type 2 Diabetes is a lifelong disease that is the most common form of diabetes.

People with diabetes have insulin resistance, meaning their body does not respond correctly to insulin and abnormally high levels of sugar can build up in the blood.

During the clinical trial, the diabetes patients cut their food intake to just 600 calories a day for two months.

Three months later, seven of them remained free of diabetes.

The study was led by Professor Roy Taylor of Newcastle Unversity, who said that the result is “remarkable” and that it shows “a radical change in understanding Type 2 diabetes”.

The diet consisted of liquid diet drinks and non-starchy vegetables.

The group of 11 people was matched with a control group of people without diabetes.

Al of them were monitored over the eight weeks, which included checking their insulin production and fat content in the liver and pancreas.

After one week, the participants’ pre-breakfast blood glucose levels had returned to normal, while fat levels in the pancreas had gone from an elevated level of 8 per cent to a normal level of 6 per cent.

This meant that the pancreas regained the normal ability to make insulin, so blood glucose levels after meals improved.

Following the trial, the volunteers returned to eating normally – but received advice on portion size and healthy eating.

Dr Iain Frame, Director of Research at Diabetes UK, said that the research shows diabetes can be reversed, but that it is “not an easy fix” and that it “should only be undertaken under medical supervision”.

Diabetes UK includes information on managing your weight if you have diabetes on its website>

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