People with type 2 diabetes who lose 10% of their body weight within the first five years of diagnosis can double their chances of achieving diabetes remission, according to a new study.
Research by the University of Cambridge tracked 867 people aged between 40 and 60 who were recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
When followed up five years on, 257 had achieved remission of the condition. Participants who had lost 10% of their body weight were over twice as likely to achieve remission when compared to people who had maintained their weight.
Dr Hajira Dambha-Miller, from the university’s Department of Public Health and Primary Care, was one of the researchers and said: “We’ve known for some time now that it’s possible to send diabetes into remission using fairly drastic measures such as intensive weight loss programmes and extreme calorie restriction. These interventions can be very challenging to individuals and difficult to achieve.
“But, our results suggest that it may be possible to get rid of diabetes, for at least five years, with a more modest weight loss of 10 per cent. This will be more motivating and hence more achievable for many people.”
Fellow researcher Professor Simon Griffin added: “This reinforces the importance of managing one’s weight, which can be achieved through changes in diet and increasing physical activity. Type 2 diabetes, while a chronic disease, can lead to significant complications, but as our study shows, can be controlled and even reversed.”
The study was published by Diabetic Medicine and funded by Wellcome as well as the Medical Research Council and the National Institute for Health Research.
The researchers are now investigating the best ways to help people with type 2 diabetes achieve and maintain weight loss.
One of the methods proven to achieve remission and help with weight loss is to follow a low carb lifestyle, which need not involve intense calorie restriction.
Research outcomes published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research in 2018 showed that the Low Carb Program is effective in helping people with type 2 diabetes achieve weight loss and remission.
The study demonstrated that, after one year of completing the program, average weight loss of participants was 7.4kg and one in four people were able to achieve remission.
The new research from the University of Cambridge helps to underline the achievable nature of type 2 diabetes remission, particularly in those relatively recently diagnosed.