Professor Roy Taylor of Newcastle University, who led the study, said that the "remarkable" findings showed an eight-week diet could prompt the body to produce its own insulin.
The research, which was published in the journal Diabetologia and funded by Diabetes UK, suggests a dramatic drop in calories has a direct effect on reducing fat accumulated in the pancreas, which in turn prompts insulin cells to "wake up".
Just 600 calories a day as part of a special diet could be enough to reverse Type 2 diabetes in some patients. The condition affects almost 3.5 million people in the UK. The findings are consistent with the belief that a lack of insulin secretion - which is vital for blood sugar control - is due to accumulation of fat in the liver and pancreas.
Experts at Newcastle University carried out an early-stage trial on 11 people with diabetes. They each followed a diet of liquid drinks (containing 46.4% carbohydrate, 32.5% protein and 20.1% fat, with vitamins and minerals) and non-starchy vegetables.
After just one week, pre-breakfast blood sugar levels had returned to normal among the group. Over two months, insulin cell function in the pancreas increased towards normal and pancreatic fat decreased, as shown on MRI scans.
Three months later, after going back to normal eating with advice on portion control and healthy foods, seven people remained free of diabetes.
Sure their is an effect, which is no doubt the exact one they were out to find, but they failed to note any other effects of being on such an extreme diet. Check out my previous posts on low calorieand prisoners of war diets to see if going as low as 600 kcals is safe. The individuals monitored in the post I made on low calorie were restricted to 1800 kcals and suffered serious health problems.
Prof Taylor said: "For many years, it has been assumed that Type 2 diabetes is a life sentence.
"It's chronic, it's progressive, people need more and more tablets, and eventually they need insulin. It's a downhill slope. However, we have been able to show that it is in fact reversible. We have been able to put diabetes into reverse by a very low calorie diet over a short period of time."
Prof Taylor, who hopes the research will be translated into future treatments, added: "It is quite possible that we may be able to devise medicines that block the effect of fat at the level of the pancreas, and could allow normal function. So, we are at quite an exciting point in terms of looking forward to really making an impact upon Type 2 diabetes."
We have to ask the question, are they really interested in making an impact on diabetes? Or are they happy to push the industry along? From drugs to diets such as GI, low calorie, low fat and whatever else is on its way, it seems sensationalism and profit comes before real answers. On Monday I'll be posting about Diabetes so make sure you check back for what I hope will be an interesting post about why eating "slow releasing carbohydrate', or low glycemic index (GI) foods, doesn't really work as it should.
However back to this post and the sensational 'Exclusive' stories that appear in the media. As Mark Twain once said, "Be careful about reading health books, you may die of a misprint."
On Tuesday May 31,2011 the Daily Express ran a story titled;
A study carried out by the Health Supplements Information Service revealed those on low calorie diets had inadequate levels of vitamin D, vitamin B12, carotenoids, folate, vitamin C and iron. Nutritionist Dr Carrie Ruxton who compiled the study, said: “Those who go on a crash diet or severely restrict their calories will have far lower nutrient intakes than normal. Increasing the amount of vitamins and nutrients in a diet could cut the risk of heart disease in overweight and obese people.”
Now it seems this study is all about selling supplements but at least their kind of on the right track. I shudder to think what they consider low calorie though.
My point in highlighting this was that health experts are constantly trying to market their ideas as better, and newspapers and TV stations are only too happy to tell you all about it. Don't trust anyone with your health, if you read something think about it logically or ask me.