Why a diet to reverse diabetes should be taken up on a wider scale

How a diet for diabetics helps tackle obesity
on Thu 25 Nov


Some  long while ago I wrote about a new hypothesis that excess fat causes a dysfunction of the beta cells in the pancreas 


In it I explained that health professionals now agree that type 2 diabetes comes about when an individual acquires more fat than their body can cope with because it negatively affects the beta cell function and insulin action. In fact, these cells mistakenly destroy your own body’s immune system when you develop type 1 diabetes.


It might surprise you to know that people actually have very different fat thresholds which is why only 50% of those diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are actually obese. In fact, some people who have developed type 2 diabetes have a healthy BMI.


We are getting better at understanding what works and what doesn’t

Dietary advice is often confusing and contradictory and this cannot be helping our global problem of obesity and it negative affect on our health and wellbeing.


At one time low fats were in favour because they contained a higher density of calories than carbohydrate and protein (and there was concern about the risk to heart health of high fat diets)


There is still controversy over whether a low carbohydrate or a low-calorie approach to dieting is best for weight loss and subsequent diabetic remission. Of course, reducing carbohydrates can also take away the benefits of wholegrain consumption


There are also varying dietary strategies that claim to be effective - these include portion control and intermittent fasting. Indeed, the latter has reported weight loss of up to 13% of baseline weight.


We do know that avoiding ultra -processed food and increasing the eating of fresh whole foods benefits both weight loss and glycaemic control but more research is needed about the benefits of dietary pattern eating based around e.g. The Mediterranean-type or Nordic diets


There is now even doubt being cast upon the “slow and prolonged” advice about weight loss which has been adhered to for many decades. There have been several high-quality studies showing that going on an intensive weight loss diet for a short period of time is not only effective but motivating.


Professor Roy Taylor – who has been at the forefront of research into diabetes for the last 30 years agrees…


Professor Roy Taylor’s advice about losing weight

Professor Taylor’s team discovered that losing weight rapidly over 8 weeks was enough to reverse the chemical reactions that caused diabetes. Of course, this approach to losing weight is also useful for anyone struggling with those extra unwanted pounds – particularly if they want to avoid developing diabetes or other weight related health issues.


In outline his “step one, step two, step three approach” works like this:


Step One: 800 calories a day for a period of 2 months. During this time your meals should contain about 200 calories each. Meals should contain a good percentage of protein to meet your nutritional need, non-starchy vegetables to fill you up and avoid constipation, and a multi vitamin.


Some find liquid meal replacements work well, but it is important that these are described as “complete nutrition”


Contrary to the usual advice, at this point you should not embark on an exercise programme as this can result in “compensatory eating”


Over this period the average weight loss is 15kg and you’re likely to feel more energised and sleep better


Step Two: Reintroduce 400 calories for dinner once you have reached your target weight. After two weeks you can also reintroduce a 400 calories lunch whilst maintaining portion control  


Step Three:  Continue to eat smaller portions of healthy food to maintain your size.  This will be typically 75% of your former intake.  Be more active each day as a matter of routine. If your weight goes by 3KG take immediate action either by starting at Step 1 again or by drastically reducing your daily intake.


To get more information on this diet – including explanations, guidance, hints, tips and a shopping list. Please check out Professor Taylor’s book “Life Without Diabetes”  - it’s available on Amazon from here


Improving long term remission

Unfortunately, putting weight back on is not unusual after a period of weight loss. Maintaining weight loss is highly individual and affected by age, sex, our genes, our family and culture; our body fat when we begin dieting and our level of physical activity.


In fact, for most people maintenance of weight loss is more difficult than losing the weight in the first place


The US national registry has given important insights into the way in which people can maintain substantial weight loss and this is that maintaining weight loss over 10 years seems to come down to three things

  1. Sustained dietary change
  2. Regular physical activity
  3. Frequent self-weighing


Evidence also indicates that population-wide “nudging” strategies can be effective.  These include things like taxation on unhealthy foodstuffs and reducing portion sizes.


I hope this has been helpful.


Although every effort is made to ensure that all health advice on this website is accurate and up to date it is for information purposes and should not replace a visit to your doctor or health care professional.


As the advice is general in nature rather than specific to individuals Dr Vanderpump cannot accept any liability for actions arising from its use nor can he be held responsible for the content of any pages referenced by an external link



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