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News2017March › Diabetes reversed in four months by changing the diet › March 2017

Diabetes reversed in four months by changing the diet

Type 2 diabetes doesn't have to be a life sentence—it can be reversed in just four months by cutting back on the food we eat, researchers have discovered.

Eating less, exercising and keeping glucose under control by eating 'slow-burn' or low-glycaemic carbs combine to reverse a disease that has been considered chronic and controlled by drugs.

Around 40 per cent of cases who went on the diet are now symptom-free, and are no longer taking any drugs to control the condition.

Researchers from McMaster University in Canada tested the dietary approach on 83 people who had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and had the condition for an average of three years.

Although the study was designed to last a year, researchers were seeing big changes inside four months—and once the patients stopped taking their anti-diabetes drugs, which lower glucose in the body.

The major change was seen after their daily calorie-intake was reduced by between 500 and 750 calories, and by avoiding processed carbs that are high in sugars.

The diet had a bigger effect than the drugs. After eight weeks, around half of the patients had glucose under control from taking medication, but this shot up to 70 per cent when they started the four-month diet.

The glucose levels were checked again three months after they stopped the diet, and 40 per cent were still showing their diabetes was in "complete or partial remission", the researchers said.

Type 2 diabetes happens when the body doesn't respond to insulin, which is produced by the pancreas to break down sugars in carbohydrates. When we eat high-sugar carbs, such as in processed and 'white' foods, the body is on constant alert and continually produces large amounts of insulin.

As the researchers said, they think the diet was effective because it gave the pancreas a rest from producing insulin.


References

(Source: Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2017; doi: https://doi.org/10.1210/jc.2016-3373)

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