Have Type 2 diabetes? Don't lose hope

Despite popular belief, getting a diabetes diagnosis does not necessarily mean a lifetime of medication.

Recent research showed that going on a very low-calorie diet could reverse the condition for some.

Researchers from Newcastle University in Britain put 30 people with Type 2 diabetes on a 700- calorie diet a day for eight weeks. Each person lost about 14kg on average. For many, their diabetes disappeared.

What's more, the effects of the diet did not. Almost half of them did not have any symptoms of diabetes for nearly six months after they gradually went back to having a more normal diet which helped them to maintain their weight loss.

The results of the study were published in Diabetes Care earlier this year.

Doctors who Mind&Body spoke to said that while it is known that diabetes can be reversed with weight loss for some people, the challenge for many is to maintain a healthy body weight.

In some patients, Type 2 diabetes can be reversed after a substantial weight loss which usually happens after a persistent low-calorie diet for months, said Dr Nitish Mishra, a consultant at the Raffles Diabetes & Endocrine Centre.

He explained that one of the important causes of Type 2 diabetes is having too much fat in the liver and pancreas.

"Every individual has a personal fat threshold and once they cross that, Type 2 diabetes develops," he said.

Hence, following the same principle, once they successfully lose weight and go below their personal fat threshold, the diabetes will disappear, he added.

Endocrinologist Peter Eng, of Peter Eng Endocrine Clinic, said most patients do not achieve a cure. Those who tend to be cured are either obese or very obese and are able to lose a significant amount - at least 20 per cent - of their weight.

Eat whole grains, limit red meat 

They would also have to maintain their weight loss. Once they gain back the weight, diabetes returns.

The patients for whom the chances of this approach working are very small tend to be those who have had diabetes for many years, said Dr Eng.

This is because their insulin reserves would have diminished over the years, compared with someone who has had diabetes for a shorter time.

However,any weight loss is beneficial in the management of diabetes, even without acure, said DrEng.

And what you eat has an impact.

Dr Mishra cited a study where researchers looked at the whole-grain consumption of more than 160,000 women, whose health and dietary habits were followed for up to 18 years. It found that women who averaged two to three servings of whole grains a day were 30 per cent less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than those who rarely ate whole grains.

By focusing on the right foods instead of drugs, you’ll save money, avoid complications and, most importantly, you’ll feel great.

The bran and fibre in whole grains make it more difficult for digestive enzymes to break down the starch into glucose, he said.

This leads to lower, slower increases in blood sugar and insulin, and a lower glycaemic index.As a result, they stress the body’s insulin making machinery less, and so may help prevent Type 2 diabetes.

He also advised limiting red meat, and choosing chicken and fish instead, citing studies that found eating one 85g serving of red meat a day increased the risk of Type 2 diabetes by 20 per cent.

Some, like American physician Neal Barnard, who has written books on nutrition, advocate a more extreme diet.

Dr Barnard recommends a low-fat vegan diet for those trying to reverse their conditions. Vegans are vegetarians who also do not eat animal by-products such as eggs and dairy items.

But doctors also say that achieving weight loss does not mean patients should stop taking their diabetes drugs as well as insulin injections all at once.

Dr Barnard said: “Everyone will start and finish at different points. One patient may be able to get off insulin and toss his or her medications within a month. For others, it might take a year or longer.”

Dr Mishra said it is a slow, gradual process of reducing dosage in a timely manner, and it must be done under the supervision of doctors.

And no matter which diet one chooses, the take-home message should be that the total calorie intake is still more important than any specific type of diet, said Dr Eng.

On a bigger scale, diabetes prevention is ultimately about health policies and strategies to reduce the prevalence of obesity in a population, he said.

Source: bit.ly/1T8eNa9

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16 Replies

  • Thanks for sharing,dialife !

  • Hii m 26  heigth 5.5 wgth 58 kg .. Diabetic frm 20 day ... Actually m taking 1500 calore diet .will it help lfor me taking into consideration. That I dnt wnt to loose my weigth .how much diet will i take to get rid of diabetes. Will if sugar is in control can I gain sme weigth

  • "Dr Mishra cited a study where researchers looked at the whole-grain consumption of more than 160,000 women, whose health and dietary habits were followed for up to 18 years. It found that women who averaged two to three servings of whole grains a day were 30 per cent less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than those who rarely ate whole grains."

    This i don't agree with. Needs further consideration.

    But a very good article. One has to decrease calorie intake and lose weight along with lchf diet.

  • Whole wheat flour GI higher than table sugar? Isn't it?

    All this whole and half grain is just a marketing stunt specially if on packaged food products.

  • Anup

    This is the problem. You and i are well versed with the subject but for others its very confusing. I don't know how such a long study on so many people would have been carried out and yet the conclusion of the study is dubious. It's out of my logic why only women were included in the research and what was the purpose of this study.

    18 Years is a long period and the life doesn't remain the same esp for women. It's really out of my wits.

  • Who funded the study? Any idea?

    Listen to Dr William Davis on all this Whole Grain talks.

    Give me 20,000 records of two (or more) variables and tell me what conclusion is needed. I can reach that conclusion by manipulating data and then doing iterative runs of regression analysis till the pre-decided conclusion is reached, rejecting non-conforming data points along the way. 

    Didn't Sydney Diet Heart Study do this (ie FUDGE) to show PUFA better than SFA. Decades down the line it was revealed that scientists dumped the non confirming data tapes to a garage as the real observation was SFA is better than PUFA. Bit, that would have upset the industrial veg oil industry. So, few data tapes got dumped.

    See one classic example of Ancel keys style research :)


    On NDTV I found experts defending GMO crops in India long back. Money makes many experts talk the way the one writing the check wants :)

  • Yes. Studying 160000 women over 18 years is not a child's play. It requires a whole platoon and lots of money. Who spent so much money and why. Who managed such a big data and manforce and esp women for a pretty 18 years ! It all sounds fantastic

  • Hmmmm...I am confused....what is it meant by whole grains??...We Indians are eating mostly whole grains only....still diabetes is on raise.... guess whole grain is something different than what we Indians eat....right???

    Avoid red meat....hmmm but some ppl say grass fed red meat is ok....Guess avoid red meat is advise in American context... In USA red meat what they get is grain fed red meat...in India Hindus consume only goat/ship meat...and they are grass fed only....

    suramo said

    "One has to decrease calorie intake and lose weight along with lchf diet."

    New castele was all about low calorie - low carb diet.

    Where as LCHF is essentially is low carb no counting of calories diet.

    Is it very necessary to limit calories??? or limit carbs or both???

    Guess limiting calories is answer????

    Cause if by just limiting carbs one could reverse diabetes....then there are many members around us who are on ketogenic diet...can vouch for such reversal.

    I wish to give try to  this limited calories limited carb new castle diet soon .

    Thanx dialife

  • My weight since last three months is in 76/78 Kg for a height of 5' 8.5"

    Have always been overweight since 5 years now, barring a very short period of 2 or so months. Still no drugs for anything. I have always believed in no calorie counting on LCHF :)

    Mool Mantra (Bottom line) -- Get the residual insulin in blood down, irrespective of whether insulin sufficient or deficient. Type 2 mostly is over production of insulin. No one ever checks that.

  • What is required for reversal????

    calories?? carbs??? or both.???

    We are looking for reversal.... there is no doubt that by limiting calories you can tame diabetes...

  • Perpetual hunger for life long? That's limiting calories.

    No hunger, no calorie counting, no 24X7 grazing (ie no need to eat every 2 to 3 hrs) - that's LCHF

    Reversal needs bringing the residual insulin level down to near the lower most value of lab range. How? Many already know my answers.

    For those who have already become insulin deficient due to decades of BAD (ADA) control, tough luck. They have missed the bus. All they can achieve is lower drugs better numbers.

  • So ketogenic diet will help  for reversal???

  • It's a tough diet. Yes, u can aim for being in-and-out of that diet (ie being in and out of nutritional ketosis). I was averaging in the 90's during my keto trials. Dream numbers ... great to see sub 100 even on PPBS isn't it? But, tough diet.

    Even staying in the ~ 80g /day carbs range diabetics with 25 years history have gone off all pancreas whipping drugs and attained non diabetic numbers on MF.

  • Dear Sir, I am 60 years old and I am having diabetic for the past 35 years ,I am taking medicines and also Insulin for the past 6 months, I am unable to gain weight ,My blood sugar levels are under control. what I have to further. how can I gain weight and when can I stop Insulin.

    Reply me




  • It appears that effect of dietary change differs from person to person. L C H F may yield desired results early in some case and may be delayed in others depending upon their digestive health and other fectors.

  • arunkumar3112 is a diabetic with 25 years of diabetes history. Off from 2 drugs

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