PUBLISHED: PUBLISHED: 00:01, Wed, Sep 13, 2017
GETTY - STOCK IMAGEDiabetes can be reversed in a matter of weeks by following a strict low calorie diet, shows research
Scientists say lifestyle driven Type 2 - a condition that almost 12 million Britons are thought to be at risk of developing - is caused by excess fat in the liver and pancreas.
Findings due to be presented today have given fresh hope that the debilitating disease need not to a life sentence.
They reveal that even if sufferers have been blighted for years the condition can be brought under control by sensible eating.
Professor Roy Taylor, from Newcastle University, said: “The good news for people with Type 2 is our work shows that even if you have had the condition for 10 years you are likely to be able to reverse it by moving that all important tiny amount of fat out of the pancreas. At present, this can only be done through substantial weight loss.”
The good news for people with Type 2 is our work shows that even if you have had the condition for 10 years you are likely to be able to reverse it by moving that all important tiny amount of fat out of the pancreas
Nine in 10 Type 2 sufferers are overweight or obese and do not produce enough insulin, or the insulin they produce does not work properly.
Professor Taylor, who has spent 40 years studying the condition, will deliver his research to an international collaboration of experts at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Lisbon.
He will claim excess calories leads to excess fat in the liver.
As a result, the liver responds poorly to insulin and produces too much glucose.
GETTY - STOCK IMAGEExcess calories leads to excess fat in the liver, says Professor Taylor
Excess fat in the liver is passed on to the pancreas, causing the insulin producing cells to fail.
He says losing less than 1 gram of fat from the pancreas through diet can re-start normal production of insulin, reversing Type 2.
And he says this remains possible for at least 10 years after the onset of the debilitating disease.
Professor Taylor said: “I think the real importance of this work is for the patients themselves.Wed, June 21, 2017
1 of 11
“Many have described to me how embarking on the low calorie diet has been the only option to prevent what they thought - or had been told - was an inevitable decline into further medication and further ill health because of their diabetes.
“By studying the underlying mechanisms we have been able to demonstrate the simplicity of Type 2.”
The diabetes epidemic griping Britain costs the NHS more than £10 billion a year - 10 per cent of its budget - with one person diagnosed every two minutes.
A decade ago no child in Britain had Type 2 but there are now more than 500.
They are twice as likely to have a heart attack and three times as likely to have kidney disease.
GETTY - STOCK IMAGEThe diabetes epidemic in Britain costs the NHS more than Â£10 billion a year
The number of new diagnoses has rocketed by almost 75 per cent in a decade.
The number of adults with the disease has risen by 1.5 million in the past 10 years, with GPs reporting 3.6 million have the condition.
There has been an increase of 137,000 in the past year alone.
The latest research backs up previous studies which show how keeping calorie intake low can improve health.
In a recent trial funded by Diabetes UK all participants reversed their diabetes by drastically slashing their food intake to just 600 calories a day for two months.
And three months later, seven remained free of diabetes.Eleven people who had developed diabetes later in life were put on an extreme diet of just 600 calories a day consisting of liquid diet drinks plus 200 calories of non-starchy vegetables.
A MRI scan of their pancreas revealed the fat levels had returned from an elevated level to normal, regaining the ability to make insulin and as a result, blood sugar after meals steadily improved.
Prof Taylor’s research confirms his Twin Cycle Hypothesis that Type 2 is caused by excess fat within both liver and pancreas.
As insulin controls the normal process of making glucose, the liver then produces too much glucose.
Simultaneously, excess fat in the liver increases the normal process of export of fat to all tissues.
GETTY - STOCK IMAGEIn the pancreas, this excess fat causes the insulin producing cells to fail
In the pancreas, this excess fat causes the insulin producing cells to fail.
An earlier study confirmed that if excess food intake was sharply decreased through a very low calorie diet, all these abnormal factors would be reversed.It showed a profound fall in liver fat content resulting in stablilisation of hepatic insulin sensitivity within seven days of starting a very low calorie diet.
Fasting plasma glucose became normal in a week and over eight weeks, the raised pancreas fat content fell and normal insulin secretion became re-established, with normal blood glucose control.
Prof Kamlesh Khunti, of the Leicester Diabetes Centre, said: “This is great research and shows that low calorie diets can work in highly-motivated people, however, this would be difficult to implement widely for most people.”
Chris Chapman, director of diabetes company GlucoRx, said: “I was diagnosed with Type 2 in 2011 but after following a personal programme involving diet and physical activity I am close to putting the condition into remission, so I fully support the findings of this research.”