Diabetes Treatment Without Drugs?

June 27th, 2011

For those with Type 2 diabetes, the results of a study at Newcastle University may be encouraging. Researchers found that eleven adults with the condition regained normal blood sugar levels after two months on a low calorie diet. Furthermore, seven of the eleven had maintained these gains when retested three months later.

But just how restrictive was this diet? The numbers speak for themselves: participants were allowed 600 calories a day in the form of vegetables and three diet shakes. The average adult requires about 2,000 calories a day, so one can imagine that this regimen produces a few hunger pangs.

The scantiness of the diet also suggests that rapid weight loss may be responsible for the normalization of blood glucose. In fact, the researchers found that the diet caused pancreatic fat levels to drop from 8% to 6% on average. Since excess fat stored in the liver and pancreas is considered responsible for Type 2 diabetes, it seems that general fat loss, rather than some inscrutable aspect of the 600 calorie diet, is the true magic bullet. However, the small sample size of this study makes broad conclusions tenuous. Further investigation will be needed to determine if a low calorie diet can replace drugs and insulin shots as the primary treatment for Type 2 diabetes.


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