Remission of type 2 diabetes is possible through intensive weight management alone, according to findings from the Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial (DiRECT) reported in The Lancet.
Researchers in the United Kingdom recruited about 300 people, aged 20 to 65, who had been diagnosed with diabetes in the previous 6 years. The people in the study had an average Body Mass Index (BMI) of 35. A BMI of 30 or higher is classified as obese.
Participants were assigned at random to one of two treatments. Half continued their usual care, including medication. The other half stopped taking medications and went on a rigorous weight-loss program, starting with a liquid diet jump-start of only 825 to 853 calories per day. Once the dieters went back on solid food, they were encouraged to increase their physical activity with walking.
The dieters dropped an average of 22 pounds over the 1-year study period, compared with only 2 pounds in the usual care group. A quarter of the intensive dieters lost 33 pounds or more. As a result, 46% got their glucose under control—without having to take medications—compared with on 4% of the usual care group. The study will continue to at least 4 years to see if the dieters can sustain their improvements.