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If you live with type 2 diabetes, your doctor has probably recommended that you take steps to manage your weight.
That’s because dropping the extra pounds is one of the most effective ways to improve your blood sugar.
And now according to a new study, there’s one more big benefit to following a weight management program for your diabetes — being able to cut back on or even toss out both your diabetes and your blood pressure medication for good.
Lose weight and kiss diabetes and high blood pressure goodbye
The research specifically utilized a weight management program developed by researchers at the Universities of Glasgow and Newcastle for the Diabetes UK-funded Diabetes REmission Clinical Trial (DIRECT).
It involves multiple phases — the first of which is 12 weeks on a diet that involves consuming low-calorie soups and shakes. And it can lead to weight loss of over 15 kg or 33 pounds in just four months when followed fully.
For the second phase, you simply choose foods and eat wisely in order to maintain your weight.
For the study, researchers had participants stop all diabetes and blood pressure drugs at the start of the diet and then only had them restarted if their blood sugar or blood pressure went up.
And here’s what happened.
Not only did participants experience remission of their type 2 diabetes, but the diet also helped lower blood pressure — and reduce the need for antihypertensive medications.
The study showed that:
- Maintaining the 33-pound weight loss allowed 80 percent of people to become free from type 2 diabetes, without the need for diabetes medications for at least 2 years.
- Average blood pressure fell steadily as people lost weight.
- Blood pressure remained lower after the formula diet period finished, and then at 12 and 24 months.
- Just over a quarter (28 percent) of people needed to reintroduce a blood pressure tablet during the diet.
- Another 28 percent were able to remain off their blood pressure medications for at least two years following the diet.
“Our study shows that, in addition to possible remission from type 2 diabetes, there are other very important health benefits, as weight loss is a very effective treatment for hypertension and its associated serious health risks,” said Professor Mike Lean, from the University of Glasgow.
Slimming down to ditch the drugs
The study showed that simply by losing weight, you have the power to not only improve your heart, blood vessel, and blood sugar health but also finally either decrease or eliminate the need for medication to treat those issues.
Of course, you don’t want to simply ditch the drugs without talking to your doctor, even if you are losing weight.
Instead, start a healthy weight loss plan and ask your doctor to monitor your blood pressure and blood sugar to help you get off the medications safely.
To follow the diet used in the study, check out the book Life Without Diabetes: The Definitive Guide to Understanding and Reversing Diabetes by Ron Taylor, MD.
Or simply follow a low-calorie, nutrient-dense diet with plenty of fruits and veggies, such as the Mediterranean diet. Weight loss might be slower. But when it comes to weight loss, getting to your destination is what matters.
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Reversing Type 2 Diabetes and Ongoing Remission — Newcastle Magnetic Resonance Centre