I wrote previously about the report of Diabetes Mellitus Type 2 reversal by extreme weight loss diet. I still think that an extreme diet is potentially dangerous and would need meticulous care but this is a fascinating idea. Professor Roy Taylor of Newcastle University details in a note the ideas motivating the study as well as the nuts and bolts of the Diabetes diet.
What were the main findings of the Diabetes Diet Study?"1. It is possible to wake up the insulin producing cells of the pancreas by dietary means applied consistently. 2. This happened at the same time as the fat content in the pancreas decreased. As it is known from studies on isolated cells that fat inhibits insulin release, it is reasonable to deduce that the removal of fat from the pancreas allowed insulin release to normalise.
3. The study was of people with type 2 diabetes of a few years duration (up to 4 years). There is good reason to believe that longer duration type 2 diabetes can be reversible, although after 10 – 15 years of diabetes it is likely that not everyone will be able to achieve a return to normal glucose control despite major weight loss".
Could it work for me?1." This work is about the usual common form of diabetes which is known as “type 2 diabetes”. There are some rare forms of diabetes which may be generally but not correctly called type 2. Diabetes occurring after several attacks of pancreatitis is likely to be due to direct damage to the pancreas (pancreatic diabetes). Secondly, people who are slim and have diabetes coming on in their teens and twenties, with a very strong family history of diabetes, may have a genetic form (monogenic diabetes). Thirdly, type 1 diabetes sometimes comes on slowly in adults, and such people usually require insulin therapy within a few years of diagnosis (slow onset type 1). None of these will respond in the same way as common, true type 2 diabetes. 2. So if you have the common form of type 2 diabetes, this could work for you. However you should not underestimate just how much change in your day to day life will be necessary to bring this about. It requires motivation and persistence.
How should the results of the study be put into practice?1. The particular diet used in the study was designed to mimic the sudden reduction of calorie intake that occurs after gastric bypass surgery. By using such a vigorous approach we were testing specifically whether or not we could reverse diabetes in a similar short time period to that observed after surgery. 2. The essential point is that substantial weight loss must be achieved 3. It is a simple fact that the fat stored in the wrong parts of the body (inside the liver and pancreas) is used up first when the body has to rely upon its own stores of fat to burn. Any pattern of eating which brings about substantial weight loss over a period of time will be effective. Different approaches suit different individuals best".
What did He Say at the Diabetes Association Meeting?
Professor Roy Taylor of Newcastle University who led the study and also works for The Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust "reported at a San Diego meeting of the American Diabetes Assn. and in the journal Diabetologia that, after one week on the diet, each of the patients' fasting blood sugar, taken before breakfast, had returned to normal. At the end of the eight weeks, the patients had lost an average of 33 pounds and had no signs of diabetes. Three months after returning to a normal diet, seven of them remained free of the disease. Average weight gain in that three months was 6.5 pounds".
What is Diabetes Mellitus Type 2? How is Type 2 Diabetes Different from Type 1?Diabetes Mellitus is a problem that the body has in properly handling and transporting glucose (sugar) from the blood into the cells of the body. In order to transport glucose from the blood stream into the body cells, the hormone insulin is required. Also the body has to be sensitive to the insulin and respond appropriately. Type 2 Diabetes, which tends to be the kind people get when they are in middle age or older usually is a problem more with so called insulin resistance where the cells aren't responding efficiently to the insulin (rather than as in Type 1 where there is a deficit of insulin) although it's not quite that clear cut and people do get insulin injections sometimes even for Type 2 Diabetes.
What Happened in the Diabetes Diet Study?"Under close supervision of a medical team, 11 people who had developed diabetes later in life were put on an extreme diet of just 600 calories a day consisting of liquid diet drinks and non-starchy vegetables. They were matched to a control group of people without diabetes and then monitored over eight weeks. Insulin production from their pancreas and fat content in the liver and pancreas were studied.
After just one week, the Newcastle University team found that their pre-breakfast blood sugar levels had returned to normal.
“We believe this shows that Type 2 diabetes is all about energy balance in the body,” explained Professor Taylor, “if you are eating more than you burn, then the excess is stored in the liver and pancreas as fat which can lead to Type 2 diabetes in some people. What we need to examine further is why some people are more susceptible to developing diabetes than others.”
Dr Iain Frame, Director of Research at Diabetes UK, said: “We welcome the results of this research because it shows that Type 2 diabetes can be reversed, on a par with successful surgery without the side effects. However, this diet is not an easy fix and Diabetes UK strongly recommends that such a drastic diet should only be undertaken under medical supervision. Despite being a very small trial, we look forward to future results particularly to see whether the reversal would remain in the long term."”