Is there a cure for diabetes?
Some people claim they cured their diabetes by losing a lot of weight. The truth is they have actually achieved remission of their diabetes which is not exactly a cure, but almost as good as. Remission is where blood sugar levels, measured by a HbA1c blood test, return to below the threshold for a diagnosis for at least 6 months. Medication can be stopped if levels are maintained below this threshold.
It must be remembered that it is only possible to achieve remission of type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is a separate autoimmune condition which is not linked to diet or lifestyle.
For type 2 diabetes, there is strong evidence to support a very low calorie diet in achieving remission. This involves consuming only 800 calories per day for 8-12 weeks through meal replacement shakes. The DiRECT Trial began in 2014 and the follow-up studies continue today to see if results are being maintained. At 2 years over a third of participants maintained remission of their diabetes. Participants who maintained their weight loss achieved the best results after 2 years. You cannot cure diabetes because if you go back to old habits and regain the weight, the blood sugar levels can shoot up again.
Low calorie diet programmes are now available through private companies and under the NHS pilot. This approach can be seen as quite extreme, and for some giving up food for 8-12 weeks seems impossible, especially with social occasions to consider. For others, it is a welcome break from the confusion of dieting, taking away the need to think about food choices. The 800 calorie diet causes drastic weight loss and is a chance to reset the system. After this you can then reintroduce food in a step-by-step fashion to ensure you maintain the weight lost.
If you would like to learn more please get in touch. I will talk more about type 1 diabetes in a separate blog
Reference - DiRECT and Diabetes UK