Health

Type 2 diabetes sufferers of a ‘healthy’ weight can reverse condition by shedding flab, study says

Losing weight could reverse type 2 diabetes even among sufferers who of a normal weight, a study suggests. 

Researchers say the condition isn’t trigged by becoming technically overweight but by people surpassing their ‘personal fat threshold’.   

And as a rule to avoiding the condition, the scientists say your waist size should be the same now as when you were 21.

Professor Roy Taylor, from Newcastle University, said: ‘If you can’t get into the same size trousers now, you are carrying too much fat and therefore at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, even if you aren’t overweight.’

Experts analysed 12 people with type 2 diabetes who were classified as being of a ‘normal’ BMI by the NHS’s own calculator.

Losing weight could help type 2 diabetes sufferers reverse their condition even if they are not classified as being overweight. new research suggests. (stock image)

They then put them on a 800 calories-a-day diet of soups and shakes for two weeks and helped support them to keep the pounds off for another four to six weeks. 

This was repeated for up to three rounds, until they had lost 10-15 per cent of their starting body weight.

What is type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is a common condition that causes the level of sugar (glucose) in the blood to become too high.

It can cause symptoms like excessive thirst, needing to pee a lot and tiredness. It can also increase your risk of getting serious problems with your eyes, heart and nerves.

It’s a lifelong condition that can affect your everyday life. You may need to change your diet, take medicines and have regular check-ups.

It’s caused by problems with a chemical in the body (hormone) called insulin. It’s often linked to being overweight or inactive, or having a family history of type 2 diabetes.

 Source: NHS

Eight of them achieved remission of the condition.

This was classed as having an average blood sugar level, and being off all diabetes medication. 

Participants’ levels of fat in the liver and pancreas fell substantially as a result of the diet, and the ability of pancreas to produce insulin was restored. 

The researches suggest the findings show each person has a ‘personal fat threshold’ and if they go over it, they will develop type 2 diabetes.  

Professor Taylor said the research, presented at a diabetes conference today, should be a ‘wake-up call’ for how people are currently being treated for type 2 diabetes.

‘These results, while preliminary, demonstrate very clearly diabetes is not caused by obesity but by being too heavy for your own body,’ he said.

‘It’s due to having too much fat in your liver and pancreas, whatever your BMI.’ 

Professor Taylor said doctors tend to assume weight gain wasn’t a factor contributing to type 2 diabetes in people classified as not being overweight. 

‘This means that, unlike those who are overweight, those who are of normal weight aren’t usually advised to lose weight before being given diabetes drugs and insulin,’ he said.’

Dr Ahmad Al-Mrabeh, study co-author, added: ‘We’ve already shown a process called hepatic lipoprotein export to be key.

‘Lipoproteins are substances made of protein and fat which export fat through the bloodstream. 

‘Excess fat is normally stored in the subcutaneous fat areas under our skin. 

‘However, when the stores are filled up, or became dysfunctional, excess fat will spill over into the bloodstream before being stored in the liver and exported by lipoproteins to other tissues.

‘We’ve demonstrated this process is the driver of the fat build-up in the pancreas believed to damage the insulin-producing cells and cause type 2 diabetes.’

About 4.5 million brits have type 2 diabetes, with one in ten of them thought to be of normal weight when diagnosed.  

And according to US’s Center for Disease Control more than 34million Americans have diabetes, with approximately 90 per cent of them having type 2.

This research was presented at the Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, held this week. 

Diabetes UK, which funded the trial, welcomed the results.  

And Dr Lucy Chambers, the organisation’s head of research and communications said it looked forward to making sure the NHS took note of the findings.

‘We also look forward to working with the NHS to make sure this research informs the development of services and support for people with type 2 diabetes. It is hoped that these findings will widen access to the NHS type 2 remission programme.’ 


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