New research suggests that Type 2 diabetes may be reversed by normalizing glucose levels through diet – in this case, a temporary liquid diet.
The study, published in Diabetes Care, tested the effectiveness of a 600-calorie to 700-calorie liquid diet, consisting of three low-calorie milkshakes and half a pound of non-starchy vegetables. Researchers fed 30 overweight participants with Type 2 diabetes this diet for a period of eight weeks. Participants ranged in age from 23 years old to 80 years old; they had received a Type 2 diagnosis between 6 months to 23 years ago. Nearly half of those in the study went into remission – although no participant with a diagnosis more than eight years old went into remission.
The remission lasted up to six months, the length of time researchers were tracking; it’s possible it lasted even longer after the study concluded. Researchers believe these results can be sustained as long as a healthy diet and lifestyle is maintained. Even remission for a short period of time can have a positive health impact, lowering the likelihood of kidney damage, vision loss, stroke, and other complications that come with Type 2 diabetes.
While researchers aren’t sure exactly why restricting diet plays such an important part in curtailing the progression of Type 2 diabetes, there have been many studies supporting these findings over the years. Previous studies have shown that losing between 3 percent and 5 percent of body weight can greatly improve health and even head off Type 2 diabetes. (You can see those studies here and here.)
Researchers hope to follow up this study’s success with trials enrolling more people for a longer period of time. Dr. Roy Taylor, a metabolism professor at England’s Newcastle University and the study’s lead author, hopes these findings could motivate people who have received a Type 2 diabetes or prediabetes diagnosis to make significant dietary changes.
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