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Researchers make case for type 2 diabetes reversal

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A team of researchers in the US have made a call for guidelines to appreciate the possibility of type 2 diabetes reversal, in light of recent evidence.

For decades, type 2 diabetes was thought of as an incurable, chronic, progressive disease. However, in a new review, a team of scientists led by Dr Sarah Hallberg, Medical Director at Indiana University, have made a case for type 2 diabetes reversal to now be considered.

The authors opine that there are now three evidence-based methods for reversing type 2 diabetes: a low carb lifestyle, a low calorie diet and bariatric surgery.

Despite the evidence, the authors say, diabetes authorities only seem to discuss these methods in the context of diabetes treatment, rather than reversal:

“Both the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) now recommend a LC eating pattern and support the short-term use of LCD for weight loss. However, only T2D treatment, not reversal, is discussed in their guidelines.”

The review, published in the journal Nutrients, also notes that the term “reversal” has found its way both into the scientific literature and the mainstream media.

Many choose to use the term “remission” over “reversal”, since the long-term implications of achieving a normal HbA1c, following a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, are not currently known.

As highlighted in the review, in general, there seems to be a consensus that maintaining an HbA1c of less than 6.5% (48 mmol/mol) without the use of diabetes medications could qualify as remission, or perhaps reversal. It has also been suggested that metformin could still be included, as it has applications outside of blood glucose control.

The results of our own Low Carb Program very much align, for the most part, with the thoughts expressed in this review. However, we prefer to use the term “remission” over “reversal” because type 2 diabetes can possibly reoccur if a healthy lifestyle is not maintained in the long term. Indeed, our published results showed that one in four people with type 2 diabetes managed to place it in remission at one year.



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