Even slim people with type 2 diabetes can reverse their condition through a soup and shakes diet, researchers revealed today.
And they only need to lose 10 per cent of their body weight, experts believe.
This is the equivalent of someone with a 13st (83kg) frame losing 1st 4lbs (8kg).
Newcastle University scientists say the findings, presented at a medical conference in Sweden, support the idea that everyone has a ‘personal fat threshold’.
Type 2 diabetes affects roughly 4.5million people in Britain and 37million in the US. Although heavily driven by obesity, roughly 15 per cent of all sufferers are of ‘normal weight’ (stock)
Professor Roy Taylor, a world renowned diabetes expert and lead researcher, said: ‘If you develop type 2 diabetes, you simply have more fat inside your body than you can cope with, even if apparently slim.
‘This excess fat spills into your liver and pancreas stopping normal function and causing type 2 diabetes.
‘You only need an extra half gram of fat in the pancreas to prevent normal insulin production.
‘I’m often asked, “Why have I got type 2 diabetes when all my friends are larger than me and do not have diabetes?” The present work answers this conundrum.’
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body doesn’t make enough insulin, or if the insulin it makes doesn’t work properly — leading to high blood sugar levels.
What IS type 2 diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is a condition which causes a person’s blood sugar to get too high.
More than 4million people in the UK are thought to have some form of diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is associated with being overweight and you may be more likely to get it if it’s in the family.
The condition means the body does not react properly to insulin – the hormone which controls absorption of sugar into the blood – and cannot properly regulate sugar glucose levels in the blood.
Excess fat in the liver increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes as the buildup makes it harder to control glucose levels, and also makes the body more resistant to insulin.
Weight loss is the key to reducing liver fat and getting symptoms under control.
Symptoms include tiredness, feeling thirsty, and frequent urination.
It can lead to more serious problems with nerves, vision and the heart.
Treatment usually involves changing your diet and lifestyle, but more serious cases may require medication.
Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to blindness and leave patients needing their limbs amputated or in a coma.
It affects roughly 4.5million people in Britain and 37million in the US.
Although heavily driven by obesity, roughly 15 per cent of all sufferers are of ‘normal weight’.
This puts them in the group known as TOFIs – who are ‘thin on the outside and fat on the inside’.
TOFIs are not usually advised to lose weight, with doctors under the belief that their condition has another cause.
But the new findings prove that guidance — which has been pushed out for years — is wrong.
Twenty participants were recruited for the study. They had an average BMI of 24.8 — defined as a ‘healthy’ weight.
All of the volunteers were asked to stick to a daily 800 calorie regime for a fortnight, consisting of low-calorie shakes and soups.
A similar diet, labelled ‘game-changing’, has been shown to help overweight type 2 diabetics reverse their condition. The results have even seen NHS doctors prescribe soup and shakes to help obese Britons slim down.
Participants were then allowed to ditch the soups and shakes but eat sensibly for up to six weeks, so they didn’t pile on the pounds again.
The cycle was repeated up to three times, until they lost at least 10 per cent of their body weight.
Fourteen volunteers went into remission, allowing them to ditch all their medication.
Reversal was defined as blood sugar levels staying below the technical threshold for diabetes for at least six months.
Their average BMI fell to 22.4.
Meanwhile, MRI scans showed levels of fat inside their liver and pancreas had fallen ‘substantially’.
The findings were presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) in Stockholm.
Marathon runner who was diagnosed with diabetes is now in remission after soups and shakes diet
Having recently run his first marathon, David Childs seemed an unlikely candidate for type 2 diabetes.
But he was diagnosed in June 2020 after suffering severe daily headaches and fainting, because his blood sugar had become too high.
Having recently run his first marathon, David Childs seemed an unlikely candidate for type 2 diabetes. But he was diagnosed in June 2020 after suffering severe daily headaches and fainting, because his blood sugar had become too high
Mr Childs, 48, signed up to the ReTUNE trial to reverse type 2 diabetes last March, as one of around 10 per cent of people with the condition who are a healthy weight.
The father-of-four, from the village of Cleadon in South Tyneside, said: ‘Even my GP did not believe I had type 2 diabetes at first.
‘I don’t have a family history of diabetes, I am slim, and I had recently run a marathon, after several half-marathons.
‘But unfortunately, while I didn’t have a beer belly, I did have excess fat in my liver.
‘I was determined to get off the tablets I had been given and reverse it if I could.’
Mr Childs completed two month-long diets of meal-replacement soups and shakes to lose around 10 per cent of his body weight.
That brought the 48-year-old, who is five feet 11ins tall, down to a weight of 82kg (12 stones and 13 pounds).
Mr Childs, who works for a pharmaceutical company, achieved remission from diabetes halfway through the trial and has not looked back.
He runs twice a week, tries to eat healthily and has reduced his consumption of crisps and bread.
He said: ‘I was worried my future entailed slowly increasing my medication, and being at risk of health problems from diabetes.
‘Now every morning I still prick my finger to check my blood sugar and, every time I see it is normal, I smile to myself that I don’t have diabetes any more.’