Can Diabetes be Reversed?
Although there is no cure for diabetes, studies show that some people can reverse Type 2 diabetes.
Reverse Type 2 Diabetes Naturally
It may be possible to weed out the roots of diabetes.
You can manage it. You can control it. But can you reverse diabetes?
It may sound too good to be true, but with drastic diet changes you can turn back the clock on this lifestyle disease.
Read on to find out how to reverse your Type 2 diabetes:
In Type 1 diabetes, your immune system attacks the cells in your pancreas that produce insulin; hence – no insulin.
Type 2 diabetes is known as the “lifestyle” type, because it’s largely brought on by unhealthy living. With Type 2 diabetes, your body produces insulin but doesn’t use it effectively. This means that glucose isn’t properly absorbed into the cells and accumulates in the blood, causing raised blood glucose levels.
Dr Wayne May, an endocrinologist from Cape Town, explains that type 2 diabetes is reversible in patients who have significantly altered their diets and lost weight.
But before we get too excited though, Johannesburg-based dietician, Michelle Daniels, cautions that a drastic change in diet ALONE will not contribute to the remission of diabetes. Remission means having blood glucose levels in the normal range on little or no medication.
“Healthy eating in itself can improve your nutritional status, while carbohydrate awareness and management can help improve blood glucose levels. But more specifically, a low-calorie diet may influence diabetes going into remission,” Daniels says.
The research is getting there too. In a clinical trial by researchers from the Newcastle University, all participants reversed their diabetes by cutting their calorie intake to an extremely low 600 calories a day for two months. The diet consisted of liquid diet drinks and non-starchy vegetables.
After a week, the patients’ blood glucose levels returned to normal. The amount of fat in their liver and pancreas was also reduced, which helped restore their ability to make insulin and maintain diabetes remission. A few months later, a few had regained some weight, but still had normal blood glucose control. In conclusion, most of them remained diabetes-free.
How is Type 2 Diabetes Reversed?
It isn’t clear why the diet reverses diabetes, but according to Professor Roy Taylor, the lead researcher on the study, it may be linked to how the body stores fat. Excess fat in the liver can spill into the pancreas and obstruct insulin secretion and the liver’s response to insulin. This can lead to insulin resistance and diabetes.
Following a very low-calorie diet allows your body to use up fat from your liver, causing fat levels in your pancreas to drop. This “wakes up” the insulin-producing cells in your pancreas and normalises your blood glucose levels.
“To have people free of diabetes after years with the condition is remarkable,” says Taylor. “This is a radical change in understanding type 2 diabetes. It will change how we can explain it to people newly diagnosed with the condition.”
According to Taylor, researchers are optimistic about the results, daring to hope that, “We can get across the message that ‘yes, this is a reversible disease – that you will have no more diabetes medications, no more sitting in doctors’ rooms, no more excess health charges’ – that is enormously motivating.”