Study: Weight Loss Reverses Type 2 Diabetes: ADA 2019

Rapid, maintained weight loss can lead to the remission of type 2 diabetes at two years in people who are in the early stages of the disease, according to findings presented at the 79th Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association.

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Previously published in the journal The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, the study involved patients with recently diagnosed type 2 diabetes who received an 800-calorie-a-day liquid diet for 3–5 months, followed by a gradual reintroduction to food and a weight maintenance program. A total of 36% of the participants achieved diabetes remission (defined as an HbA1c of less than 6.5% and fasting plasma glucose levels of less than 126 mg/dl without the use of medications) and sustained the remission for 24 months.

Several factors influenced remission rates, with weight loss being the biggest contributor — 64% of those who lost more than roughly 22 pounds achieved remission at two years. An additional factor contributing to the likelihood of reversing the condition was average time since diagnosis, with those who achieved remission being diagnosed an average of 2.7 years prior to the study and those who did not achieve remission being diagnosed an average of 3.8 years prior.

Additional investigation is needed, the researchers state, to identify that factors that influence whether significant weight loss leads to type 2 remission.

“The clues are there,” said researcher Roy Taylor, MD. “This is the beginning of the story, not the end.”

Want to learn about previous research by Dr. Taylor? Read “‘Reversing’ Type 2 Diabetes: Can It Be Done?” and “Radical Diet Reverses Type 2 Diabetes, But for How Long?”

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