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Lose Weight And You Can Reverse Your Diabetes: Expert Opinion

A new study has revealed that Type-2 diabetes can be reversed if patients undergo a weight loss management programme that includes a low-calorie diet

Lose Weight And You Can Reverse Your Diabetes: Expert Opinion

Participants in the research withdrew their anti-diabetic and antihypertensive drugs


  1. A research states that Type-2 diabetes could be reversed by weight loss
  2. Patients need to follow a low-calorie diet for effective results
  3. All patients might not respond to the treatment in the same way

Patients with Type-2 diabetes can now reverse their medical condition if they lose weight radically, a study by UK scientists has said. Type-2 diabetes accounts for 90-95% of all diabetes cases. The research is based on the fact that more than half of the participants reported reversal of the chronic condition when they followed a low calorie diet as part of the weight management program. All of these participants were diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes within the past 6 years. The results were published in The Lancet, an international journal.

"Weight loss reduces the fat in the pancreas and this is what causes reversal of diabetes. Weight loss helps in making insulin more efficient," explains Dr Sujeet Jha.

As many as 86% of participants who achieved at least 15kg of weight loss had beaten back the disease while 73% of those with weight loss of 10kg or more had the same result.

The research was conducted in a way where all the participants were asked to stop having the anti-diabetic and antihypertensive drugs that they were on. They were all asked to be on a total diet-replacement phase for three months, which could also be expandable to up to 5 months. They followed a diet which included not more than 1000 calories in a day.

"Unlike the traditional diet therapies which included more fibre and less of processed foods, this diet focused primarily on the calories. This diet helps in 10-15% more weight loss in diabetic people than other diets," says Dr Sujeet, while adding that the reversal of the condition could be declared only because these patients had withdrawn from their medication and were only following this diet.

While diet controls and weight loss to diabetic patients were suggested earlier as well, there was hardly any scientific backing to the results that those patients reported, says Dr Sujeet. However, he stresses on the fact that not all patients are going to show the same results as others.

"People can always question the credibility of such diets since they claim that can reverse a chronic condition like diabetes. But this diet will show effective results among young people who are obese and have diabetes. These are people who would technically do not require more than 1 or 2 medication. These people are more likely to reverse the condition if they take a low calorie diet. But still, it has to be noted that not everyone will respond to it in the same way. Patients with other co-morbid conditions like kidney diseases or heart disease might not respond to the diet in the same way and should think before implementing the diet," explains Dr Sujeet.

And after weight loss, it can be challenging for the patient to maintain that weight. "Ideally, one must work towards focusing on not developing a condition like diabetes instead of working hard towards reversing it. Reversing diabetes and maintaining the weight after weight loss are both equally challenging tasks," says Dr Sujeet.

Additionally, Dr Sujeet informs that he has been trying weight loss technique for reversal of diabetes in seven patients of which five had shown significant success in reversing the condition.

"But it has been only three months. We would be able to comment on the results in a better way after the patients are able to live with it for a longer period of time," he concludes. 

(Dr. Sujeet Jha is the Director of Institute of Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism at Max Healthcare)

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