Short Report: Treatment
Population response to information on reversibility of Type 2 diabetes
Following publication of the Counterpoint Study (on the reversibility of Type 2 diabetes using a very low energy diet), the extent of public interest prompted the authors to make available, on a website, general information about reversing diabetes. Shortly thereafter, individuals began to feed back their personal experiences of attempting to reverse their diabetes. We have collated this information on the effects of energy restriction in motivated individuals with Type 2 diabetes that has been achieved outside a research setting.
Emails, letters and telephone communications received between July 2011 and September 2012 were evaluated (n = 77: 66 men, 11 women). Median diabetes duration was 5.5 years (3 months–28 years). Reversal of diabetes was defined as achieving fasting capillary blood glucose < 6.1 mmol/l and/or, if available, HbA1c less than 43 mmol/mol (6.1%) off treatment.
Self-reported weight fell from 96.7 ± 17.5 kg at baseline to 81.9 ± 14.8 kg after weight loss (P < 0.001). Self-reported fasting blood glucose levels fell from 8.3 mmol/l (5.9–33.0) to 5.5 mmol/l (4.0–10.0) after the weight loss period (P < 0.001). Diabetes reversal was considered to have occurred in 61% of the population. Reversal of diabetes was observed in 80, 63 and 53% of those with > 20, 10–20 and < 10 kg weight loss, respectively. There was a significant correlation between degree of weight loss and reported fasting glucose levels (Rs –0.38, P = 0.006). Reversal rates according to diabetes duration were: short (< 4 years) = 73%, medium (4–8 years) = 56% and long (> 8 years) = 43%.
These data demonstrate that intentional weight loss achieved at home by health-motivated individuals can reverse Type 2 diabetes. Diabetes reversal should be a goal in the management of Type 2 diabetes.