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Type 2 diabetes can be reversed with a modest weight loss of 10% or more


Researchers at the University of Cambridge have found that people with type 2 diabetes who achieve modest weight loss of 10% or more in the first few years after being diagnosed have the greatest chance of seeing their disease go into remission.

The finding suggests that it may be possible for patients to recover from type 2 diabetes without intensive lifestyle interventions or extreme calorie restrictions.

Previously, it has been shown intensive low-calorie diet involving a total energy intake of 624-700 kcal/day for 8 weeks is associated with remission in almost nine out of ten people with recently diagnosed diabetes and in half of people with longstanding disease.

This research, funded by NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research and the NIHR Health Technology Assessment Programme, reviewed data from 867 people newly diagnosed diabetes aged 40 and 69 years.

Overall 257 participants (30%) were in remission at five-year follow-up. People who achieved weight loss of 10% or more within the first five years after diagnosis were more than twice as likely to go into remission compared to people who maintained the same weight.

Lead author Dr Hajira Dambha-Miller from the Department of Public Health and Primary Care said: “Our results suggest that it may be possible to get rid of diabetes with a modest weight loss of 10%. This will be more motivating and hence more achievable for many people.”

Senior author Professor Simon Griffin, an NIHR Senior Investigator, added: “This reinforces the importance of managing one’s weight, which can be achieved through changes in diet and increasing physical activity. Type 2 diabetes, while a chronic disease, can lead to significant complications, but as our study shows, it can be controlled and even reversed.”

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