Nearly two-thirds of patients have achieved complete disease relief after 12 months of lifestyle interventions, according to a clinical trial that assesses the efficacy of diet and exercise as a treatment for type 2 diabetes,media reported. Studies often suggest that a healthy diet, a lot of exercise, and weight loss can help people with type 2 diabetes control the disease. However, repeated research in recent years has found that many patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes can effectively reverse their condition without medication and with lifestyle interventions.
The new study presents the strongest evidence yet of the effects of diet and exercise on reversing type 2 diabetes. The trial recruited about 150 subjects, all of whom had an average age of 42 within three years of their initial diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. The subjects were randomly divided into control groups receiving standard care and intervention groups receiving intensive diet and exercise programs.
The intervention plan involves the first 12 weeks of a low-calorie diet, known as the Cambridge Weight Program. After the initial diet, the subjects took another 12 weeks to transition to a healthy diet, although there was still some degree of calorie control. The intervention group was also urged to complete at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week, while recommending walking at least 10,000 steps a day.
After 12 months, the results showed that the participants in the lifestyle intervention group lost an average of 26 pounds (12 kg), while the standard care group lost an average of 9 pounds (4 kg). At the end of the 12-month study, 61 percent of the participants in the intervention group were no longer considered diabetic, while only 12 percent of the subjects in the standard care control group had reached a similar stage of remission.
As in previous studies, researchers have shown that weight loss is directly related to improved diabetes. Shahrad Taheri, from The University of Qatar at Weill Cornell Medical School, set up the trial with colleagues as early as 2017 to build how these simple weight-loss interventions can be effective in helping people with diabetes of Middle Eastern or North African descent, as previous studies have missed out on this broad demographics.
“I think it’s a real game changer for the management of type 2 diabetes,” Taheri said. “It shows that if you lose weight early enough during the course of the disease, you can actually reverse the disease, avoiding all other health problems and a reduction in quality of life.” “
A similar study in the UK in 2018 found that 46 per cent of subjects had full remission of diabetes within 12 months as a result of strict weight management interventions. Taheri said the new trial yielded stronger results because its queue group was on average 10 years younger than the Uk queue group and was recently diagnosed with diabetes. This suggests that while diet and exercise interventions are beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes in all ages, the earlier these interventions are deployed, the more effective they are.
“We hope that studies like this will make a huge difference in the clinical treatment of type 2 diabetes around the world — so that we can combine early screening with lifestyle interventions to get rid of the condition, in essence, and not get people to take multiple drugs for life.” Taheri said.
The new study was published in the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology journal.