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Substantial Weight Loss Linked to Type 2 Diabetes Remission

Losing weight has been shown to improve blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes, and now, researchers have found weight loss may encourage remission in people with type 2 diabetes. For the study, which was published in The Lancet, researchers recruited 306 adults, ages 20 to 65, who were overweight or obese and had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in the last six years. To participate in the trial, they also could not be using insulin to manage their diabetes. Half the participants were assigned to an intensive weight management group and were taken off all antidiabetic and blood pressure-lowering drugs; put on a very low-calorie (825–853 kcal/day) weight loss diet for three to five months followed by gradual calorie increases over two to eight weeks; and given long-term weight maintenance support. The rest of the participants were assigned to a control group and received treatment according to current type 2 diabetes care guidelines. Researchers followed the participants for 12 months, evaluating them for weight loss and diabetes remission (defined as well-regulated blood sugar after two months without antidiabetic medications), and found that:

  • 24% of the participants in the intensive weight management group lost at least 33 pounds, compared with 0% in the control group.
  • 46% of the participants in the intensive weight management group experienced diabetes remission, compared with 4% in the control group.
  • Greater weight loss increased the chances of diabetes remission in both groups: remission rates were 0% in those who gained weight; 7% in those who lost 0 to 11 pounds; 34% in those who lost 11 to 22 pounds; 57% in those who lost 22 to 33 pounds; and 86% in those who lost over 33 pounds.

These findings demonstrate that an intensive weight management program can lead to successful and substantial weight loss, which can result in type 2 diabetes remission in overweight and obese people who have had diabetes for six years or less. Weight control can be extremely difficult to achieve; however, researchers hope these findings will encourage diabetes organizations and doctors to better support type 2 diabetes patients struggling with weight.

Source: The Lancet

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