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Extreme Diet Can Reverse Diabetes – But at What Cost?

Emma | September 18th, 2012

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A 2011 British study of diabetics and weight loss found that an extreme, low-calorie diet can help reverse or cure type 2 diabetes. While the study revealed a correlation between quick weight loss and an effective diabetes diet, the question remains: is this diabetic diet plan sustainable over the long term? And, if so, at what cost to a person’s overall health?

Research has shown that the most effective, healthy and sustainable weight loss plans are actually lifestyle changes that incorporate a nutritious diet and regular exercise. In fact, physician-assisted weight loss programs, such as those offered through The Center for Medical Weight Loss, have proven successful for both quick weight loss and the reversal of type 2 diabetes.

Extreme diabetes diet reverses condition

The study in question comes out of Newcastle University, located in the United Kingdom. The sample size was small, with just 11 participants, but showed that even people who had suffered from type 2 diabetes for years could reverse their disease through diet. In fact, three months after beginning a strict, 600-calorie daily diet, seven dieters (64%) had eliminated their diabetes.

According to Roy Taylor, professor at Newcastle University, “This is a radical change in understanding type 2 diabetes. It will change how we can explain it to people newly diagnosed with the condition. While it has long been believed that someone with type 2 diabetes will always have the disease, and that it will steadily get worse, we have shown that we can reverse the condition.”

Low-calorie diabetic diet plan restores insulin production

Type 2 diabetes occurs when there is too much glucose in the blood, and is therefore strongly linked to excess weight and obesity. After reviewing research from the Newcastle University study, presenters at a 2011 American Diabetes Association conference stated that the low-calorie diet, which included non-starchy vegetables and diet drinks, fueled participants’ bodies to expel fat that was clogging the pancreas and therefore impeding their bodies’ insulin production. As the participants’ bodies adjusted to the 600-calorie daily diet, their pancreas functions normalized and began producing insulin – thus reversing all signs of type 2 diabetes.

Physician-assisted diets may be more sustainable over the long-term

While the research has revealed interesting revelations about type 2 diabetes, which was previously thought to be a lifelong illness, medical professionals question its long-term sustainability. Extreme restrictive diets, like this one, are very difficult to maintain over the long-term and may not be healthy, even for people who lose weight successfully.

As one study participant stated, “The hunger was quite severe and I had to distract myself with something else – walking the dog, playing golf, or doing anything to occupy myself and take my mind off food.”

For long-term maintenance of type 2 diabetes, physician-assisted weight loss programs remain a top choice. At The Center For Medical Weight Loss, dieters work closely with primary care physicians to create a customized exercise and diabetic diet plan without extreme calorie restrictions, thus creating lifestyle changes that may be sustained indefinitely.

“We see diabetic patients all the time who lose weight and no longer need insulin,” reports Dr. Michael Kaplan, founder of The Center For Medical Weight Loss. “When patients lose 5% – 10% of their body weight, it is a given that they will reduce their blood sugar significantly; many no longer need medication.”

For more information on a doctor-supervised diabetes diet, enter your zip code into the box at the top right to see if there is a center near you. Introductory offers are available for new clients at select locations.