Two-Month Diet That Could Defeat Diabetes
Byline: Fiona MacRae Science Correspondent
THE form of diabetes that blights the lives of hundreds of thousands of middle-aged people could be wiped out by cutting calories severely for just two months, research suggests.
After a small-scale trial, diabetics who consumed just 600 calories a day - the amount many people would eat at lunch alone - were able to throw away their tablets.
Eighteen months on, some are still free of type 2 diabetes, which is linked to obesity and usually occurs in middle age.
The researchers described the result as remarkable and said it proves the condition that affects around 145,000 adults in Ireland need not be a life sentence.
It also paves the way for new treatments for those who cannot stick to the drastic diet.
Professor Roy Taylor, the study's lead author, said: 'This is a radical change in our understanding of type 2 diabetes.
'While it has long been believed that the disease will steadily get worse, we have shown that we can reverse it.' In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas does not make enough insulin - a hormone key in the conversion of sugar into energy - and the insulin that is made does not work properly.
The condition is often controlled initially with a stringent diet 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. …