PATIENTS with the most common type of diabetes could have their condition cured if they follow a very low calorie diet, pioneering research by North East scientists suggests.
Experts at Newcastle University have carried out a preliminary clinical trial on 11 North East people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and their findings have the potential to revolutionise the lives of people with the long-term condition who often rely on tablets, insulin injections and strict diets.
The early stage study found that all had their diabetes reversed by slashing their food intake to just 600 calories every day for eight weeks.
Three months later seven remained free of diabetes and leader of the study, Prof Roy Taylor, said it was viable that Type 2 diabetes would stay away if people kept their weight down and remained on a healthy, balanced diet.
Prof Taylor, director of the Newcastle Magnetic Resonance Centre, said: “The study is an exciting development for those with Type 2 diabetes as it has shown the condition can be reversed.
“Our research has allowed us to gain a better understanding into what is going on with the condition and it will change the way it is explained to people who have been newly diagnosed. While it has long been believed that someone with Type 2 diabetes will always have the disease we have shown that we can reverse the condition.
“Although we can’t draw any firm conclusions from this preliminary study we feel Type 2 diabetes will stay away provided people keep their weight down.”
The £126,000 research was funded by Diabetes UK and began in September 2009. It was carried out on men and women from the region between the ages of 20 and 70 who had been diagnosed with the condition for up to four years. The research will be unveiled later today at the American Diabetes Association conference in San Diego and is published in the medical journal, Diabetologia.
It shows that people who consume an extremely low calorie diet can remove fat which is clogging up the pancreas allowing normal insulin secretion to be restored.
Under close medical supervision, the participants in the study were placed on a strict diet of just 600 calories a day consisting of liquid diet drinks and non-starchy vegetables.