Losing weight can put type 2 diabetes in remission for at least five years, new data has suggested.
A Diabetes UK-funded study found that around 25 per cent of people who were in remission from diabetes two years after starting a low-calorie “soup and shake” diet were still in remission three years later.
This group of people, who lost an average of 1st 6lb (9 kg) at the five year point, no longer needed to take medicine to manage their blood sugar levels.
The data suggests that losing weight and keeping it off can reverse diabetes. Obesity is a major cause of type 2 diabetes, with obese people 80 times more likely to develop the condition. Furthermore, obesity is believed to account for 80% to 85% of the risk of developing type 2 diabetes
What is the soup and shake diet?
Half of the people in the Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial (DiRECT) study were put on a low-calorie diet with support from health professionals. The diet consists of a low-calorie, nutrient-complete soup and shake diet (approximately 800 calories per day) for between 12 and 20 weeks. Patients were supported by a nurse or dietician who helped to reintroduce healthy foods and maintain weight loss.
Research found that people who were able to maintain a healthy weight were more likely to be in remission, whereas people who came out of remission regained the weight they had lost.
In January, the NHS announced that the soup and shake diet plan would be extended to a further 11 areas in England. The soup and shake diet is an NHS diet specifically for people with type 2 diabetes. People prescribed the diet work closely with a health professional. It should not be attempted without consulting your doctor.
Dr Elizabeth Robertson, director of research at Diabetes UK, said: “The new findings from DiRECT confirm that for some people, it is possible to stay in remission for at least five years. For those who put type 2 diabetes into remission, it can be life-changing, offering a better chance of a healthier future.
“For those who aren’t able to go into remission, losing weight can still lead to major health benefits, including improved blood sugar levels, and reduced risk of serious diabetes complications such as heart attack and stroke.”