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What is Type 2 diabetes and how losing weight can help?

What is Type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is a serious condition where the insulin your pancreas makes can’t work properly, or your pancreas can’t make enough insulin. This means your blood glucose (sugar) levels keep rising and so in broad terms, T2DM refers to having an unhealthily high level of blood sugar (glucose).

Type 2 Diabetes and weight loss

What causes Type 2 diabetes?

There are a number of risk factors for Type 2 diabetes including family history, being overweight and leading an unhealthy lifestyle. Symptoms can take a long time to appear, which means you could be living with it for a months, sometimes years (often referred to the pre-diabetic stage) before you are diagnosed. In the past it has usually developed in older people, aged 45 and over, although it’s becoming increasingly common in younger people. It can cause symptoms like excessive thirst, needing to wee a lot and tiredness. It can also increase your risk of developing serious problems with your eyes, heart and nerves.

Can Type 2 diabetes be reversed?

Scientists at The University of Glasgow and Newcastle University have shown in a landmark study called DiRECT, funded by Diabetes UK, that using a formula-based total diet replacement (TDR) like LighterLife’s TotalFast plan, can put Type 2 diabetes into remission. 73% of patients who achieved 10kg or more weight loss, and a whopping 86% of patients who achieved 15kg or more weight loss, were in remission at 12 months. And more recently their five-year data has hit the headlines with latest results showing:

  • Data, which was available from 85 participants of the original DiRECT intervention group, revealed an average 5-year weight loss of 6.1kg  
  • 48 out of 85 people from the intervention group were in remission at the start of the three-year extension study (so at the beginning of year 3) and 11 of these (13%) were still in remission at five years, (their average weight loss was 8.9kg) 
  • This compares to an average 5-year weight loss of 4.6kg, with 3.4% in remission, for those in the control group 
  • Overall, the extension intervention group saw greater improvements in blood pressure and blood sugar levels and had fewer people who needed medication than the control group. 

Prevention is better than cure

To help prevent Type 2 diabetes, we know from the EU-funded PREVIEW study that 8 weeks weight loss with a TDR meant that only 6% went on to develop Type 2 diabetes. Losing weight makes it easier for your body to lower your blood sugar level, and can improve your blood pressure and cholesterol.

Professor Roy Taylor, DiRECT researcher from Newcastle University said:

“The DiRECT five-year follow up shows that the rapid weight loss programme brings about considerable weight loss at five years with low-intensity support. The most important question now is how the follow-up programme can be even more successful at an affordable cost.” 

And Professor Mike Lean from University of Glasgow says that “The findings are important both for individuals and for national considerations of healthcare costs. The programme used in DiRECT is a huge improvement on previous management of type 2 diabetes, but future studies must seek even better ways to help maintain weight loss.”

What’s clear is that the use of a TDR with behaviour change is the newest, shiniest addition to the toolbox of treatments for Type 2 Diabetes and that more people, in conjunction with their Healthcare providers, should consider this before outright embarking on what is often a lifetime of medication.”

Reach out to the LighterLife medical team by emailing medical@lighterlife.com who’ll gladly answer any questions you may have.