Friday, July 1, 2011


My son recently found an article online regarding a study of Type 2 Diabetes and how an extremely low calorie diet reversed the disease in 7 out of 11 people who participated in the study.  The study was conducted by scientists at Newcastle University in England. The study was small (only 11 people participated) but they are calling the results “remarkable”.

“The research, presented today at the American Diabetes Association conference, shows that an extremely low-calorie diet, consisting of diet drinks and non-starchy vegetables, prompts the body to remove the fat clogging the pancreas and preventing it from making insulin.”

The scientist, Roy Taylor, who led the project was intrigued by the fact that patients who undergo bariatric surgery have normal blood glucose levels as soon as one week after surgery.  It was universally thought that there was a hormone in the gut that was causing the diabetes but Taylor wondered if the sudden decrease in caloric intake might have something to do with it.  The participants ate a diet that consisted of 3 diet drinks per day along with salads and other non-starchy veggies.  No more than 600 calories per day for 2 months!  Yikes.

You would think that reading an article that says they may have found a way to reverse Type 2 Diabetes would make me happy, even giddy!  Unfortunately, it had the opposite effect.  I was a little depressed by it all. Here’s why:  this method isn’t feasible for the majority of people which means that most of us are stuck with diabetes and its progression.  I don’t like reading about the fact that this disease is progressive and can cause a whole laundry list of serious issues in my future.  I may be aware of it but that doesn’t mean I like it thrown in my face on a regular basis.

Surviving on a 600 calorie a day diet is extreme!  Having your stomach stapled to the size of a walnut is extreme!  These are drastic ways to solve a problem.  Those people who have bariatric surgery will, for the rest of their lives, have to eat no more than ¼ cup of food/liquid at a time.  Forcing someone to eat only 600 calories per day isn’t teaching them how to eat properly.  I’m afraid that the majority of people would soon fall back into their pre-diet eating habits and find themselves right back where they started from. In fact, the article states that it’s possible that only 10-15% of people would even be able to stick to the diet in the first place.  As many as 20% of bariatric patients fail to change their eating habits post-surgery and end up either losing no weight or actually gaining weight.  How depressing is that?

What is encouraging is that this has shed some more light on why some people develop diabetes.  The idea that it’s possible to remove some of the fat from the pancreas allowing it to again spit out insulin is enlightening.  This study doesn’t address, however, how to fix the issue of insulin resistance.  What about those of us whose pancreas manages to spew insulin but our cells just won’t accept it?

Kudos to those people whose lives have been saved/changed by such extreme measures!  I, for one, plan to continue on my quest for a healthier life by losing weight slowly and sensibly, exercising on a regular basis and eating a healthy, normal diet.  Maybe someday scientists will find a way to smack my cells around and make them accept my insulin again.  I’m happy that there are people out there who are looking for a cure.  Let’s hope they find it soon!

I'd be interested to hear what some of you think about all this. Here is a link to the article for anyone who would like to read it for themselves. Link to article

1 comment:

  1. I know your doubts are well justified. This is what Jenny Ruhl and I have written, but I must give Jenny most of the credit as her's was first and I just took off on this.


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