Scientists at the U.K.-based Newcastle University have found that food restriction for eight months and associated weight loss could stop type 2 diabetes and even cure it. Scientists said that the starvation diet reversed the disease even in patients that had lived with the condition for up to a decade.
Furthermore, half a year after the diet, study participants were still free of the disease which suggests that the condition was finally cured.
The latest findings challenge the way scientists have perceived the disease for decades. Until recently, it was widely believed that once someone develops the disease there is no turning back and the condition was incurable.
But the recent study suggests that the disease can be reversed for good if the patient loses weight fast. Study authors believe that the starvation diet could help regulate the organ’ insulin production by trimming the excess fat around the pancreas, thus, reversing the disease.
Professor Roy Taylor, lead author of the study, recommends type 2 diabetes patients who want to eradicate the condition to try the crash diet, keep the extra pounds off, and return to normal.
In the latest study, 30 participants were asked to restrict their daily food intake to 700 calories, which is a third of what they used to normally consume. Plus, they were only given nutritious shakes and vegetables.
After eight weeks, volunteers lost 30 pounds (14 kg) on average. Surprisingly, 12 diabetics saw their condition reversed. After the diet, participants returned to their normal diets gradually.
Six months later, none of the volunteers gained the extra weight back, while none of the lucky former diabetics saw their condition return.
Researchers explained that the crash diet removed enough fat from patients’ pancreas to restore insulin production to normal levels, even though at the end of the trial all participants were still overweight.
The findings were published this week in the Diabetes Care medical journal.
Scientists wrote in their research paper that the study brings an ‘important paradigm shift.’ According to study authors, type 2 diabetes should be regarded as a metabolic syndrome that can be reversed rather than a lifelong disease.
Prof Taylor said that the small trial was a demonstration that diabetes can be cured even if the patient lived with the condition for a long time. For diabetics that had the diagnosis for more than a decade there is still hope, Taylor added, since blood sugar control can be greatly improved through the diet.
Image Source: Pixabay