According to a study, people with type 2 diabetes were able to put the disease in remission without medication by following a rigorous diet plan.
Intensive weight management implemented in primary care practices can result in remission of type 2 diabetes for almost half of patients.
Low-calorie diet caused remission in 90% of trial patients who lost 15 kg or more, even those who had been diabetic for six years, say researchers.
The first year findings of the study entitled Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial (DiRECT) show almost half of those who took part in the programme were in remission after 12 months.
Remission was defined as having blood glucose levels (HbA1c) of less than 6.5% percent (48mmol/mol) at 12 months, with at least two months without any type 2 diabetes medications.
Nearly half of people in the study who were given a six-month diet plan and lost an average of 30 pounds went into remission and no longer had diabetes. None took any medications during that time to control their disease and relied on weight loss alone.
Nine out of 10 people in the trial who lost 15 kg (two-and-a-half stone) or more put their type 2 diabetes into remission.
Prof Roy Taylor from Newcastle University, the lead researcher said: “These findings are very exciting. This builds on the work into the underlying cause of the condition, so that we can target management effectively.”
“Our findings suggest that even if you have had type 2 diabetes for six years, putting the disease into remission is feasible,” Michael Lean, a professor from the University of Glasgow in Scotland who co-led the study.
“DiRECT is telling us it could be possible for as many as half of patients to achieve this in routine primary care and without drugs.” It is a life-changing condition that progresses over time, which can have devastating consequences, such as cardiovascular disease, kidney disease or stroke.
“Remission of type 2 diabetes is a practical target for primary care,” the authors write. The study was published in the Lancet medical journal.