Type 2 diabetes, also known as diabetes mellitus type 2 (DM2) has been known to be increasing at an alarming rate. Along with high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol, they increase the patient’s risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attack or stroke. DM2 constitutes about 90% of the diabetics in the world (Type 1 is the other 10%). Statistics show that 50% of type 2 diabetics will need insulin in about 10 years from diagnosis. In the US, diabetes cost 170 billion dollars annually.
For patients with DM2, the disease has been considered to be a lifelong and chronic. Most patients simply accept it as part of the disease process. New research has shown that diabetic patients can potentially have their condition reversed. It is now known that DM2 may be stopped by restoration of carbohydrate and fat metabolisms. The central hypothesis has been that decrease or elimination of intraorgan fat is the central event in the reversal of DM2.
We already know that bariatric surgery can potentially result in reversal of DM2. Over the years, many individuals have benefited from this treatment modality to break free from diabetes. The question presented now is if a similar end result can be obtained by using a low calorie diet plan.
A group of 30 patients with DM2 were placed on a 600 calorie diet per day. Within 7 days, plasma glucose normalized. In addition, there was a 30% reduction in liver fat storage. The study was continued for another 7 weeks for a total duration of 8 weeks. Exercise added to the regimen resulted in better outcomes. At the end of this period, the calorie count was increased to a low-calorie maintenance level. The patients were then followed and many were noted to continue to be disease free.
This has been a fantastic approach to diabetic care. Although further clinical recommendations are pending further research, a low calorie diet can be another avenue in treatment and reversal of diabetes.
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