Could a 2-Month Low-Calorie Diet Defeat Diabetes?

Article excerpt

Byline: Fiona MacRae Science Correspondent

curSe of the middle-aGed IN diabetes, the amount of sugar in the blood is too high because the body lacks the insulin to use it properly.

Most of the 2.8million Britons with diabetes have the type 2 form in which the pancreas does not make not enough insulin.

While it is not known why the pancreas stops working properly, the latest research suggests that a coating of fat is at least partly to blame.

It is linked to obesity and usually occurs in middle age, although it is seen increasingly in children and teenagers as waistlines balloon.

In contrast, type 1 diabetes usually develops in childhood or adolescence and is caused by the body's immune system turning on the pancreas and destroying the insulin-producing cells.

People with this form of the condition cannot make any insulin at all and need to inject the hormone regularly.

Simply becoming slimmer would not repair the damage.

and exercise regime. But many sufferers see their health worsen and eventually need tablets or insulin injections.

Diabetics are more likely to develop heart disease, blindness, kidney disease and nerve and circulatory damage, which at its worst can lead to amputations.

Reversing the condition could therefore improve long-term health and quality of life.

The researchers put 11 men and women with type 2 diabetes on a diet of 600 calories a day for eight weeks.

After just a week, some of their blood sugar readings had returned to normal, the journal Diabetologia reports.

After two months, fat levels in the pancreas had returned to normal and the organ was able to pump out insulin without any problems. Some patients no longer needed tablets to control high blood pressure. …