Study suggests a 10% weight loss can lead to remission of type 2 diabetes

People who achieve weight loss of 10 per cent or more in the first five years after being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes have the greatest chance of their diabetes going into remission, according to a study led by the University of Cambridge.

The findings suggest that it is possible to achieve remission without intensive lifestyle interventions or extreme calorie restrictions.

To find out whether less intensive interventions work, a team of researchers studied data from the ADDITION-Cambridge trial, a prospective cohort study of 867 people with newly diagnosed diabetes aged 40 and 69 years recruited from general practices in the eastern region.

The researchers found that 257 participants (30 per cent) were in remission after five years. People who achieved weight loss of 10 per cent or more within the first five years after diagnosis were more than twice as likely to go into remission compared to people who maintained the same weight.

“We’ve known for some time now that it’s possible to send diabetes into remission using fairly drastic measures such as intensive weight loss programmes and extreme calorie restriction,” said Dr Hajira Dambha-Miller.

“These interventions can be very challenging to individuals and difficult to achieve. But, our results suggest that it may be possible to get rid of [type 2] diabetes, for at least five years, with a more modest weight loss of 10 per cent. This will be more motivating and hence more achievable for many people.”

The research paper was published in Diabetic Medicine.

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