A new study has found that if people
achieve moderate weight loss within the
first few years of a type 2 diabetes
diagnosis, they could actually send the
condition into remission.

Could 'modest' weight loss send type 2 diabetes
into remission? A new study suggests that the
answer is 'yes.'

Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic condition
characterized by the body's inability to sufficiently
process glucose (sugar). As a result, blood sugar
levels are persistently high.

This condition affects over 30 million people in the
United States and, if unchecked, it can lead to
various complications, including hyperglycemia,
hypertension, and vision problems.

Usually, doctors prescribe medication and suggest
dietary interventions to help individuals keep the
symptoms of type 2 diabetes under control.

Yet remission — referring to a drastic decrease or
even disappearance of symptoms, allowing people
to cease treatment — is possible under certain
conditions.

Individuals with both obesity and type 2 diabetes,
for instance, can experience remission of diabetes
following bariatric (weight loss) surgery.

Previously, in 2016, a different study showed that
people with diabetes who followed an intensive low
calorie diet — amounting to an intake of 624–700
kilocalories per day for a period of 8 weeks —
could also experience remission.

But is it possible to send type 2 diabetes into
remission through a less demanding dietary
intervention? That is the question that sparked the
interest of a team of specialists from the University
of Cambridge, in the United Kingdom.

'Modest' weight loss may
be enough
In a new study — the findings of which appear in
the journal Diabetic Medicine — the researchers from
Cambridge analyzed data from 867 people aged
40–69 with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes.

All of these individuals had enrolled in the
ADDITION-Cambridge trial, a prospective study that
assesses, among other factors, the effectiveness
and helpfulness of diabetes screening.

Researchers followed the participants' progress for
a period of 5 years. By looking at the cohort's
medical data, the Cambridge team found that 257
individuals, or 30% of the participants, had diabetes
in remission by the end of the 5-year period.

The point of interest? Participants who had
achieved at least 10% weight loss within 5 years of
type 2 diabetes diagnosis were more than twice as
likely to experience remission at the 5-year follow-
up, compared with individuals who had not lost
any weight.

"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 programs
and extreme calorie restriction," notes first author
Hajira Dambha-Miller, Ph.D.

According to the study's senior author, Prof. Simon
Griffin, the current findings emphasize how
important consistent dietary and lifestyle
interventions are in managing — and even reversing
— diabetes.

"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," he says.