There is no cure for type 1 diabetes but what about Type 2 diabetes? Over the past few decades, Type 2 Diabetes has been associated with obesity, which also induces insulin resistance.
Type 2 diabetes is not an innocuous disorder; it can lead to severe limb and life-threatening complications which include blindness, stroke, heart attacks, amputations, kidney failure requiring dialysis and severe peripheral neuropathy. For decades, the treatment of Type 2 diabetes has been the use of medications which lower blood sugar. But now more and more healthcare professionals recognize that the disease may have a very strong link to obesity. In fact, there is a possibility that the disease can be reversed altogether through weight-loss.
Preliminary studies show that when Type 2 diabetics started to lose weight, not only did their blood sugar levels start to drop but many required a lower dose of their medicines. In some cases, patients no longer needed to take these medicines at all.
These studies were followed by elective weight loss procedures in Type 2 diabetics and the results were dramatic. As soon as the weight dropped, patients noted a marked reduction in the need to take the diabetic medications. As long as the weight remained low, blood sugar levels also remained within the normal range.
So the question is: how much weight loss is required to reverse Type 2 diabetes?
In a recent article from Glasgow University, researchers acknowledge that the majority of Type 2 diabetics are overweight, but how sugar induces the weight gain is still poorly understood. These researchers did note that the simplest way to know if someone is at risk for Type 2 diabetes is to look at their abdomen – if the waist in a man is over 36 inches (91 cm) and if it is over 32 inches (81 cm) in a woman, chances of developing Type 2 diabetes are very high. While exercise has been promoted to help lose weight, the major problem is a low level of compliance. People these days simply do not like to exercise.
The Glasgow researchers recommended a programme called Counterweight Plus, which helped people lose more than 12 kg. The programme involves drinking formula shakes which contain a total of 820 calories for 6-8 weeks. The diet is a low-fat protocol with almost no alcohol. They observed that this programme resulted in significant weight loss and patients ended up with blood sugar levels that no longer required them to take any medications. An added benefit was a drop in blood pressure.
Unfortunately, such diet plans have been around for many years. The problem with these programmes is that very low-calorie diets, less than 1200 calories, are generally not sustainable for more than a few days. Most people end up in a hospital with dehydration and lack of energy.