Diabetes by TesaPhotography. CC0 Creative Commons.

Research published today in The Lancet shows evidence of remission of Type 2 Diabetes by intensive weight management in almost 50 percent of cases.

Obesity was already considered a risk factor for diabetes, but it is still undetermined whether the effects are reversible. In this study, researchers set to find out whether patients already diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes could make the disease go into remission by reducing their body mass.

The study focused on individuals between 20 and 65 years of age who were not receiving insulin with a body mass index between 27-45kg/m2. Over the course of 12 months, patients were gradually withdrawn from antidiabetic and antihypertensive medicines and received a complete diet replacement that limited their calories to a maximum of 853kcal/day followed by a period of food reintroduction.

By the end of the 12 months, 46 percent of the 149 individuals who underwent treatment had achieved remission in Type 2 Diabetes measured by glycated hemoglobin of less than 48mmol/mol. Researchers pointed out that the degree of remission varied according to the amount of weight lost and that none of the patients who gained weight during the study experienced remission.

While more research is still necessary, this news may come as a relief to the 422 million people all over the world at risk of Type 2 diabetes. In Mexico, over 300,000 patients die every year of this disease and this number is only expected to get worse. Prevention by maintaining an active lifestyle and a low body weight is still considered the best measure to avoid the disease altogether, but for those already diagnosed this may be welcome news.

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