There’s Actually a Way to Reverse Diabetes — Here’s How You Can Do It

The condition doesn't have to be permanent for everyone, research suggests

Alisa Hrustic |

Can you actually cure type 2 diabetes? Talk to just about any credible source, and it’s typically called a chronic condition—but that may not always be the case, according to an analysis published in The BMJ.

Related: 6 Things That Happen When You Stop Eating Sugar

After reviewing remission criteria, blood sugar guidelines, and recent clinical trials, the authors of the paper found that maintaining a weight loss of 15kg can actually reverse diabetes for specific patients.

Past research has led to promising findings. For instance, one Newcastle University study found that limiting diabetic patients to 700 calories a day for two months led to an average 14.5kg weight loss. As a result, nearly half of the people studied experienced a significant drop in their blood sugar levels, taking many patients to pre-diabetic levels instead.

When the researchers followed up with those people after 6 months of maintaining their weight loss, they were still diabetes-free.

If you’re diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, your doctor will generally prescribe medication and offer general advice about improving your diet and exercise—but the key to this study, and others like it, is weight loss.

Related: Weight Loss Advice From A Body Transformation Specialist

That’s because too much fat build-up in your pancreas tampers with the organ’s ability to produce insulin, which helps control your blood sugar. When you lose weight, you first lose fat in your organs, Dr. Roy Taylor, author of the Newcastle University study and the recent analysis explained to us last year.

“In the first 10 to 14 kilograms of weight loss, this relatively small amount of fat that’s actually within the organs gets used up, and the organs can go back to normal function,” he explained. This helps the cells that produce insulin in your body react more quickly to the sugar in your bloodstream.

While anyone carrying excess kilos is likely to benefit from some kind of weight loss, that doesn’t mean every person diagnosed with type 2 diabetes can reverse it. Your best chances come within the first five years of being diagnosed, Mike Lean, professor of human nutrition at the University of Glasgow in Scotland told TIME.

Related: Lose Belly Fat With 2 Exercises

He believes weight loss programmes that have been proven to work through clinical trials are the most effective method at beating diabetes. If you want to get started with a similar program, talk to an obesity specialist about your options, since it has become a more recognised treatment option as new research continues to surface.

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