Reversing Type 2 Diabetes Just by Losing Weight

Its not easy living with type 2 diabetes and regulating your own blood sugar levels, through diet and exercise. Around 9% of the worlds population live with type 2 diabetes, with 80% coming from poor background and developing countries and it is now being found in young adults and children, after it was renowned for being as an "adult-onset" disease.

Type 2 diabetes causes too much glucose in the blood due to the pancreas not producing enough insulin -- a hormone which breaks down glucose into energy in the cells -- together with insulin resistance, a condition in which the body responds poorly to insulin.

The scientific team at Newcastle university found that by reducing the fat accumulating in the pancreas, even only one gram of fat, via weight loss can reverse diabetes. 

Via bariatric surgery 

In the clinical trials, 18 people with Type 2 diabetes and 9 people who did not have diabetes were measured for weight, fat levels in the pancreas and insulin response before and after bariatric surgery. The patients with Type 2 diabetes had been diagnosed for an average of 6.9 years, and all for less than 15 years.
The patients with Type 2 diabetes were found to have increased levels of fat in the pancreas.
The participants in the study had all been selected to have gastric bypass surgery for obesity and were measured before the operation then again eight weeks later. After the operation, those with Type 2 diabetes were immediately taken off their medication.
Both groups lost the same amount of weight, around 13% of their initial body weight. Critically, the pool of fat in the pancreas did not change in the non-diabetics but decreased to a normal level in those with Type 2 diabetes.
These results show that removing the excess fat from around the pancreas will let insulin production return to normal, and reverse diabetes- the patients were now diabetes free.
Via draining excess fat out of the pancreas
Currently the only way to reduce fat in the pancreas is via calorie restriction by any means -- whether by diet or an operation.  In patients who had started with Type 2 diabetes, fat levels in the pancreas (pancreatic triglyceride) decreased by 1.2% over the 8 weeks. Very exact methods were needed to be able to measure this and a new method using a special MRI scan was developed. With an average pancreas for a person with Type 2 diabetes having a volume of 50 ml, this is the equivalent of around 0.6 grams of fat.
However, the patients who had never had diabetes saw no change in the level of fat in their pancreas demonstrating that the increase in fat in the pancreas is specific to people who develop Type 2 diabetes. Especially, individuals vary in how much fat they can tolerate in the pancreas before Type 2 diabetes occurs.
Transforming the ideology of Type 2 diabetes
Older studies by Professor Taylor and his team highlighted the importance of weight loss through diet in reversing Type 2 diabetes. Their research in 2011 transformed the thinking in diabetes as it was the first time that it had been demonstrated that diet could remove fat clogging up the pancreas allowing normal insulin secretion to be restored.
  1. Sarah Steven, Kieren G. Hollingsworth, Peter K. Small, Sean A. Woodcock, Andrea Pucci, Benjamin Aribisala, Ahmad Al-Mrabeh, Ann K. Daly, Rachel L. Batterham, and Roy Taylor. Weight Loss Decreases Excess Pancreatic Triacylglycerol Specifically in Type 2 DiabetesDiabetes Care, December 2015 DOI: 10.2337/dc15-0750