A low calorie diet could reverse diabetes

Consuming just 600 calories a day could defeat diabetes, says a new study

A simple calorie controlled diet could spell the end of type 2 diabetes patients, according to a ground-breaking study.

The small-scale trial, carried out by Newcastle University researchers, revealed that a strict two-month diet of only 600 calories a day could wipe out the disease.

Type 2 diabetes affects over 3.5 million people in the UK, costing the NHS a staggering £9 billion a year. It is caused by high levels of glucose in the blood, usually triggered by overeating and obesity.

As the level of fat in the pancreas increases, the organ is unable to function properly. This limits the amount of insulin that is produced, which is crucial to convert sugar into energy.

By reducing the calories consumed during a day to a just 600 – what many people eat at lunchtime alone – the fat levels around the pancreas are able to return to normal and regain normal functionality.

The journal Diabetologia revealed that after just one week into the eight-week diet – which consisted of slimming shakes, non-starchy vegetables, tea and zero-calories drinks – some of the blood sugar readings had returned to a healthy level.

After two months, fat levels in the pancreas had also returned to normal and the organ was able to produce insulin without difficulty.

Three months on, seven out of the 11 people who participated are diabetes free.

‘This is a radical change in our understanding of type 2 diabetes,’ says Professor Roy Taylor. ‘ While it has long been believed that the disease will steadily get worse, we have shown that we can reverse it.’

Dr Iain Frame, of Diabetes UK, which provided funding for the study, warns people to speak to their doctor before embarking on such an extreme diet.

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