Reversing Diabetes with Weight Loss

Person using a blood glucose meter in front of a cake with text "Type 2 Diabetes Remission"

Type 2 diabetes is a serious condition. It can be lifelong and become worse over time for many, but it doesn’t have to be like this for everyone. Type 2 diabetes could be beaten into remission if people can lose a little weight. There is increasing evidence that if it can’t be cured, it is possible to put the condition into remission through weight loss.    

According to a study led by the University of Cambridge, people who achieved weight loss of 10% or more in the first five years following diagnosis with type 2 diabetes have the strongest chance of seeing the disease go into remission. The findings suggest it is possible to recover from type 2 diabetes without intensive lifestyle interventions or extreme calorie restrictions.   

Researchers followed the health of almost 900 people newly diagnosed with type diabetes for five years. The participants, aged 40 to 69, provided information on weight, activity levels, diet, and alcohol consumption. Thirty percent of the group achieved type 2 diabetes remission at the five-year follow-up. Those who had achieved a 10% weight loss were more likely to be in remission after five years, according to the findings. The researchers hypothesize that as people lose weight, the beta cells in the pancreas that produce insulin start to work again during weight loss.

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Source: Dambha-Miller, H et al. Behaviour change, weight loss and remission of type 2 diabetes: a community based prospective cohort study. Diabetic Medicine; DOI: 10.1111/dme.14122