The first-year results of a clinical trial have shown that almost half of people partaking in an intensive weight management program delivered through primary care achieved remission of their type 2 diabetes without medication.
The trial, which is called the Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial (DiRECT), builds on earlier work by co-lead investigator Prof. Roy Taylor, director of the Magnetic Resonance Centre at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom.
The earlier work showed that a radical change in diet can reverse type 2 diabetes.
The results of the trial, recently reported in The Lancet, suggest that remission of type 2 diabetes may be achievable through intensive weight management programs supported by routine primary care.
The team’s findings revealed that after 12 months of radical weight management, participants lost an average of 10 kilograms (22 pounds), and that 45.6 percent of them went back to being non-diabetic without medication.
‘Long-term maintenance of weight loss’ focus
Prof. Taylor says that significant weight loss reduces the amount of fat in the liver and pancreas so that they can start working normally again.
“What we’re seeing from DiRECT,” he remarks, “is that losing weight isn’t just linked to better management of type 2 diabetes: significant weight loss could actually result in lasting remission.”
“Our findings suggest that even if you have had type 2 diabetes for 6 years,” adds trial co-leader Prof. Michael Lean, chair of Human Nutrition at the University of Glasgow in the U.K., “putting the disease into remission is feasible.”
He says that their approach differs from the conventional way of managing type 2 diabetes in that it focuses “on the need for long-term maintenance of weight loss through diet and exercise and encourage[s] flexibility to optimize individual results.”