A low calorie diet may help reverse diabetes, which is generally perceived as progressive and incurable, a study has confirmed.
The research, led by Roy Taylor, Professor at Newcastle University, in the UK, confirmed a “Twin Cycle Hypothesis” which demonstrates that Type 2 diabetes is caused by excess fat actually within both liver and pancreas.
Excess fat in the liver prompts it to respond poorly to insulin. As insulin controls the normal process of making glucose, the liver then produces too much glucose.
Simultaneously, excess fat in the liver increases the normal process of export of fat to all tissues. In the pancreas, this excess fat causes the insulin producing cells to fail.
However, losing less than one gram of fat from the pancreas can re-start insulin production, reversing type 2 diabetes, Taylor said.
In addition, if excess food intake was sharply decreased through a very low calorie diet, all these abnormal factors would be reversed, he added.
The findings, presented at the European Association For The Study Of Diabetes (EASD 2017) in Lisbon, is based on evidence from recent clinical trials.
In one trial from 2011, people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes showed a reversal in their blood sugar levels to normal when they lost weight on a calorie-restrictive diet.
In the study, people with diabetes who consumed a very low calorie diet had a profound decline in liver fat content resulting in normalisation of hepatic insulin sensitivity within seven days.
Over eight weeks, the raised pancreas fat content fell and normal first phase insulin secretion became re-established with normal plasma glucose control.
In a follow-up study in 2016, people who had been diabetic for up to 10 years were able to reverse their condition when they lost nearly 33 pounds.
The low-calorie diet was also found to be associated with no hunger and no tiredness in most people, but with rapidly increased well-being.