Type 2 diabetes occurs when the hormone in charge of regulating blood glucose levels in the body stops working as it should, causing an abnormal build up of glucose in the bloodstream. This prolonged elevation of glucose in the blood comes with a raft of dangerous health complications. Research shows that diabetes generally cuts 10 years off a persons life. It more than doubles your risk of dementia, heart attack and stroke. It is also a leading cause of kidney failure, leg amputation, impotency and preventable blindness.
CAN IT BE REVERSED?
Diabetes has always been thought to be a lifelong condition. However, there is emerging evidence that type 2 diabetes can in fact be reversed in some people [1,2]. The research to date has a common thread; the people who have reversed their diabetes have done so by losing large amounts of body weight, often the equivalent of 10-15% of their total body weight after adopting a very low calorie diet [1,2].
The research fits with the idea that type 2 diabetes is the result of too much fat in the liver and pancreas interfering with hormone production. It is believed that with rapid weight loss excess fat from the liver and pancreas quickly drains out, which can potentially allow hormone production to return to normal, restore normal blood sugars and thus putting diabetes in to remission.
THE DIABETES REVERSAL DIET
The initial phase is a supervised, 8 week, very low calorie diet, essentially 800 calories a day. The goal is to lose at least 10-15% of your body weight, possibly more during that period. This is followed by a guided progression back into a more normal eating pattern and a maintenance diet.
The important thing to grasp that this is not just a one-off weight loss program to be done and dusted in a matter of weeks. The ‘reversal’ may be only remission and dependant on healthy eating and long term avoidance of weight re-gain.
IS THIS DIET SUITABLE FOR ME?
This approach may not be suitable for everyone. Firstly, the diet itself is quite a bold one which will require a motivated individual to adhere to the degree of strictness required in the initial 8 weeks. Secondly, it isn’t a guarantee for reversing diabetes in every case. The research demonstrated that the longer a person had type 2 diabetes the less chance they had of reversing it. However, all participants showed major improvements in blood glucose control, blood pressure and cholesterol levels1.
HOW I CAN HELP
One should not embark on a very low calorie diet without medical supervision. If you have Type 2 Diabetes and are thinking about trying this approach, you will need to be under the supervision of a Dietitian with experience in assisting clients on very low calorie diets, like myself. I work in collaboration with your General Practitioner and any other allied health practitioners to ensure best practice.
If you are interested in trying this approach, or simply better managing your diabetes I would love to help you! The weight loss program can be personally tailored for either goal.
*Disclaimer: Results may vary from person to person
Steven S, Hollingsworth KG, Al-Mrabeh A, Avery L, Aribisala B, Caslake M, Taylor R. Very low calorie diet and 6 months of weight stability in Type 2 diabetes: Pathophysiologic changes in responders and non-responders. Diabetes Care, March 2016.
Lim EL, Hollingsworth KG, Aribisala BS, Chen MJ, Mathers JC, Taylor R. Reversal of type 2 diabetes: normalisation of beta cell function in association with decreased pancreas and liver triacylglycerol. Diabetologia, October 2011.