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Newly Diagnosed Type 2 Diabetes can be Reversed

Newcastle University researchers have found that an eight-week 600-calorie diet can reverse Type 2 diabetes in newly diagnosed patients.

The study determined that the regimen composed of liquid diet drinks and non-starchy vegetables reduced fat levels in the pancreas and liver, which in turn helped normalize the production of insulin.

All 11 participants have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes within the last four years. After one week of the diet, the pre-breakfast sugar levels of all participants were back to normal; seven of them were free of the disease after the duration of the study. MRI scans of theirpancreases also showed a decrease of fat levels from an elevated 8 percent to a more normal 6 percent.

Professor Roy Taylor, director of Newcastle Magnetic Resonance Centre at Newcastle University and lead author of the research, said the strict diet was not recommended nor suggested to be followed by people. “This diet was only used to test the hypothesis that if people lose substantial weight they will lose their diabetes,” said Taylor. He added that while their research focused on newly diagnosed patients, persons with more long-standing diabetes may also be able to turn things around.

On the other hand, Dr. lain Frame, director of research at Diabetes UK, the organizationthat funded the study, said that the diet is not an easy fix for diabetes. “Such a drastic diet should only be undertaken under medical supervision… We look forward to future results particularly to see whether the reversal would remain in the long term.”

Medical professionals are in conflict with the significance of the study, however. Professor Edwin Gale from the University of Bristol said that the study found nothing new, stressing that even if doctors manage to delay diabetes, it will still progress in later years because “it’s in the system.” Keith Frayn from the University of Oxford, on the other hand, said that the study “shows that a period of marked weight loss can produce the same reversal of type 2 diabetes” as compared to patients who lose weight through the help of surgery or plumbing of intestines.

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