Diabetic? Weight Loss Can Reverse Diabetes

A new publication in the Journal of American Medical Association highlights research that finds weight loss can lead to remission in type 2 diabetes in overweight adults.

More than four thousand overweight adults with type 2 diabetes were tracked for four years in the study led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Study participants were divided into two groups. Half received basic diabetes education and support which included three yearly sessions that focused on diet, physical activity and emotional support. The other half received more intensive treatment which entailed weekly individual counseling and group therapy sessions for the first year of the study followed by three years of refresher sessions.

Researchers sought to help participants limit daily calorie intake to between 1,200 and 1,800 calories and to encourage at least 175 minutes of physical activity per week.

Only one in 60 participants from the first group saw any remission in their diabetes, which the study defined as a return to normal glucose levels without medication, within the first two years. Impressively, one in 11 participants from the intensive treatment group experienced remission in the symptoms of their type 2 diabetes in the first two years of the study.

However, by the conclusion of the four year study, just one in 30 participants from the intensive treatment group had signs of remission in their diabetes leading researchers to conclude that weight regain increased risk of returning to a diabetic state. In total, one in 75 participants from the intensive treatment group sustained complete reversal of their type 2 diabetes through which glucose levels returned to normal and medication was no longer necessary for them.

Putting It All Together

These latest findings on the power of weight loss for diabetes demonstrate that it is indeed possible to reverse or halt symptoms of type 2 diabetes through limiting calorie intake and daily exercise. Researchers noted that the best mechanism for preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes in obese patients is through gastric bypass surgery, a method that reduces the onset of diabetes in the obese by 83%.

However, researchers in this study concluded that prevention is the best strategy to avoiding type 2 diabetes and that aggressive lifestyle change can be nearly as effective as gastric bypass surgery by halting diabetes development in 58% of participants.

Simple Formula for Success

A multitude of studies have together proven the relatively simple recipe to avoiding and even reversing the onset of type 2 diabetes: responsible daily calorie intake and regular exercise. People in the early stages of type 2 diabetes with the highest likelihood for beating the disease are those who make the biggest lifestyle change to lose weight and improvement in their fitness level.

What these studies indicate is that diabetes is not a life sentence of insulin shots and monitoring blood glucose levels in the case of those who receive a type 2 diagnosis. Indeed, a simple and commonly-recommended approach to weight loss by controlling daily calorie intake and burning calories through exercise is all that is needed in many cases to avoid the health and lifestyle complications of diabetes.

Anyone with type 2 diabetes has cause for hope from this latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study which demonstrates that the disease can be eliminated from one's life in certain cases through one of the simplest methods imaginable: diet and exercise!

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