Did you know that it's possible to reverse type 2 diabetes? If you have type 2 diabetes, don’t frequently measure your BMI, or aren’t concerned with losing weight, now is the time to start.
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Recently, a study from the Human Nutrition Research Centre at Newcastle University discovered that adults with “type 2 diabetes and a BMI of 21 kg/m2 to 27 kg/m2” have a “high likelihood of diabetes remission if they lose 10% of their starting weight.”
A Study of Diabetes Remission: Is diabetes remission possible?
The question: What does it take for type 2 diabetes remission?
Researchers looked at twenty adults–over half women–with type 2 diabetes with an average age of 59 years and a healthy BMI range. Over 46 weeks, these adults underwent three cycles of 5% weight loss and followed a strict low-calorie diet of 800 daily. This diet included an intake of low-starch vegetables and meal replacements.
Researchers at the Human Nutrition Research Centre compared the weight loss results of those with type 2 diabetes with twenty adults without type 2 diabetes (matched by age, sex, and BMI levels).
The Results: What percent of patients with type 2 diabetes achieved remission?
The answer? This study found that 70% of those with type 2 diabetes achieved diabetes remission.
Those with type 2 diabetes who participated in the study experienced an average weight loss of roughly 17 pounds or 10.7% of their initial body weight. Waist measurements and body fat were reduced among men with type two diabetes but stayed higher among women compared to the matched participants without type 2 diabetes. The participants could also maintain this weight loss between 6 months and a year.
According to Alison Barnes, RD, one of the lead research associates and dietitian at the Human Nutrition Research Centre at Newcastle University, adults with type 2 diabetes felt “better and satisfied” with their weight due to their new diet and weight loss.
In addition, according to Healio, “researchers observed a mechanism underlying diabetes remission involving reducing fat in the liver and pancreas. Baseline liver fat levels were 2.5 times higher among participants with type 2 diabetes than in the matched control group but reduced to less than 2% by 24 weeks.”
As the fat volume in the liver and pancreas of type 2 diabetes patients decreased, so did blood glucose levels, while insulin levels increased. HbA1C results improved from roughly 7.1 % to 6.4 % NGSP in 12 months. That meant you could see significant progress in diabetes remission.
It can be concluded that having a healthy BMI and losing 10% of your body weight can help with the remission of type 2 diabetes.
This insight can change the ways of thinking for both doctors who recommend treatment and patients who make efforts to manage their diabetes and improve it. Doctors can now recommend weight loss as a valuable treatment option.
Can Type 2 diabetes be reversed permanently?
While these two factors are key to managing diabetes and increasing the chances of remission, having a healthy BMI and losing weight do not guarantee permanent remission or even prevent diagnosis completely. Alison Barnes, RD, research associate and dietitian, said, “However, if we look at the numbers, 15% of new diagnoses of type 2 diabetes are actually in people who have a BMI within that healthy range.”
Ensuring better health through exercise and losing weight to have an average BMI level is encouraged by researchers and healthcare professionals. Still, there is no guarantee that it will prevent you from developing type 2 diabetes or reverse your diabetes. Other risk factors, such as having a family history of diabetes, can impact the development of the condition.
If you have type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, a history of diabetes in your family, or any other high-risk factors, consider making an effort to better manage your diabetes by way of weight loss. Frequent measuring of your BMI may also help you maintain an average weight. With these practices, you, too, could bring your diabetes into remission.
One of the best ways of tracking the progress and improvement of your diabetes management is by frequently testing your A1C levels every three months.
Curious how you can do that at home? Learn more about our at-home diabetes management device.