Proof curing type 2 diabetes is simpler than you thought

There are all sorts of diets that promise to reverse your type 2 diabetes.

Last year, I wrote about an extremely low calorie diet that reversed type 2 diabetes in eight weeks. The ketogenic diet has gained attention for it’s potential as a diabetes cure. And there are plenty of others.

But the truth is, it may not matter what diet you try… as long as it helps you lose weight.

Now, everyone knows being overweight puts you at risk for diabetes, and that losing weight can reduce your symptoms. But for plenty of people, losing weight is all they need to do to send their diabetes into remission.

Could that be the case for you? Is something as simple as weight loss the diabetes cure you’ve been searching for? It could be. Let’s take a look at the latest research…

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The weight loss solution to type 2 diabetes

A new clinical trial from researchers at Newcastle University found that nearly half of people with type 2 diabetes put their disease into remission by losing weight within six years of their diagnosis.

Now, the traditional take on type 2 diabetes is that once your beta cells (those important cells in your pancreas responsible for creating, storing and releasing insulin) stop producing enough insulin, they’ll never return to normal. You’re stuck with underperforming beta cells and a lack of insulin for life.

That’s why some people don’t make much effort to lose weight when they’re diagnosed with diabetes. Because if you’re stuck with an incurable disease, what’s the point?

But this study proved this old assumption wrong….

They found that losing enough weight soon enough after your diagnosis can whip beta cells back in shape, reversing type 2 diabetes.

In their clinical trial, 46 percent of people who participated in a weight management program (rather than just getting run-of-the-mill medical care for their diabetes) got their blood sugar back to normal within a year.

Why didn’t everyone respond to weight loss?

Well, researchers said some people didn’t lose enough weight. Still, there were others who lost a lot of weight and didn’t reverse their diabetes.

They don’t know why some people responded to weight loss and others didn’t. But they did notice that people who responded had diabetes for less time than people who didn’t. So, the sooner you get serious about weight loss after your diagnosis, the better.

Will weight loss work for you?

Now, weight loss may be a simple way to reverse type 2 diabetes, but it’s not easy. It’s simple because it’s in your control… no prescription or serious medical procedure needed.

But losing weight is like potty-training a puppy. Even after you have some major wins (Yay! no accidents in the house today), you can still find yourself foot-deep in a pile of poo on your living room floor (or elbow-deep in a bag of potato chips at 9 p.m.) if you’re not dedicated and consistent.

However, just like potty-training a puppy, eventually you will prevail… as long as you stick to it. The only time you fail is when you give up completely. So, if you slip up, it’s okay… as long as you return to your healthy habits again.

But you may still be wondering… exactly how much weight do you need to lose to reverse your type 2 diabetes?

Well, the whole weight loss approach to reversing type 2 diabetes assumes one thing about you… that you’re overweight.

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Roughly 90 percent of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight, but if you’re one of the few who aren’t, this approach probably isn’t best for you. There are still plenty of lifestyle changes you can make to improve your situation, like replacing processed foods with whole foods, eating fistfuls of fruits and vegetables, exercising daily, reducing stress and quitting smoking.

If you are overweight, you can use your BMI to gauge how much weight you should lose. A normal BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9. Having a BMI higher than that significantly increases your diabetes risk. Here’s a BMI calculator you can use to check yours.

It’s also a good idea to work with a health professional or weight loss coach who can support you. They can help you figure out how much weight you need to lose and determine the best approach for doing it.

They can also keep you accountable. When someone else is invested in your weight loss journey, you’re much less likely to abandon ship before you reach your goal.

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Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine, TheFix.com, Hybridcars.com and Seedstock.com.