According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 100 million Americans have diabetes or prediabetes, and these numbers continue to rise. With diabetes as the 7th leading cause for death in the US, it’s clear that something has to be done. Among the many efforts surrounding the diabetes epidemic, this new study shows that a low-calorie diet can actually help to reverse type 2 diabetes. 

The DiRECT study observed 298 participants with type 2 diabetes. The study replaced diabetic and high blood pressure medications with a low-calorie diet. All participants were under the supervision and guidance of a nurse or dietician during the course of the study.

The diet consisted of between 825 to 853 calories per day, and participants maintained this diet for three to five months. Then, more calories were introduced at different intervals, along with walking activities.

The more participants adhered to the dietary program, they were more likely – 20 times more likely, to be precise – to lose weight and reverse type 2 diabetes.

In fact, after 12 months, participants lost an average of 10 kilograms, or 22 pounds. Furthermore, 46 percent of the individuals experienced diabetes remission.

According to John Wilding, professor of medicine and honorary consultant physician, “The idea that type 2 diabetes can be put into remission with weight loss is not new, but the DiRECT trial shows that this is possible, and safe, in primary care…at least for those early in the course of the disease.”

Wilding points out, however, that maintaining weight loss can pose as a serious challenge to overweight individuals, and this may prevent them from achieving long-term remission from type 2 diabetes.

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