(RxWiki News) It's not the end of the world if you find out you have diabetes. You can keep on living your day-to-day life, and there may even be ways to reverse the disease.
Diabetics with type 2 diabetes who cut down their food intake to only 600 calories a day for two months were able to reverse the course of their disease. According to Professor Roy Taylor, from Newcastle University and leader of the study, it is incredible to see people who have had diabetes for years become free of the disease after only eight weeks of dieting.
"A special diet may reverse diabetes."
Patients who ate the diet - which was made up of liquid diet drinks and non-starchy vegetables - were able to get their blood sugar back to normal levels. At the same time, their pancreases got back the ability to make insulin, a hormone that controls blood sugar levels.
These findings show that type 2 diabetes is all about energy balance in the body, says Professor Taylor. If a patient is eating more than the body can burn, he explains, then the leftovers are stored as fat in the liver and pancreas. In some people, this excess fat can lead to type 2 diabetes.
For their study, the researchers put 11 patients with type 2 diabetes on a 600-calorie-per-day diet for two months. They kept track of the amount of insulin made by the pancreas as well as the amount of fat being stored in the liver and pancreas.
After just one week, patients' blood sugar levels before breakfast were back to normal. The amount of fat in patients' pancreases also returned to normal.
Even three months after ending the diet, seven of the participants were still free of diabetes.
Even though this study was small, it paves the way for further research. If the results are confirmed in larger studies, then there may be a way to significantly change the lives of millions of Americans suffering from type 2 diabetes.
This research was published in Diabetologia.