Study: Dramatic change in diet reversed type 2 diabetes

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Results of a small British clinical study have raised hopes that type 2 diabetes is reversible in some people if they follow a stark new diet.

Almost half of the 30 participants in the trial, which involved a purely liquid diet, remained symptom-free for up to six months after stopping the diet, researchers said.

“This is a radical change in our understanding of Type 2 diabetes,” said lead study author Roy Taylor, M.D., FRCP, FRCPE, a professor at Newcastle University. He said the discovery could lead to the elimination of diabetes medications for some, as well as fewer doctor visits and costs overall to the health system.

He called the study results “enormously motivating.” Type 2 diabetes is currently considered an incurable disease for millions that becomes progressive worse with time.

Previous studies also have shown that significant weight loss can lead to amelioration or the complete disappearance of the disease. But the Newcastle study established that the extreme diet can lead to an extended reversal, and occur in people who have had type 2 diabetes for as long as eight years, according to experts.

Study participants, all of them obese or severely obese, drank low-calorie milkshakes and ate 8 ounces of non-starchy vegetables to create 600- to 700-calorie daily diets. After eight weeks, they returned to a normal diet. Some of those who went into remission immediately were still diabetes-free six months later.

As many as 9% of U.S. adults 20 and older are believed to have been diagnosed with diabetes; another 3.5% are believed to be undiagnosed, according to health officials.

Study results appear in the Diabetes Care.

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