Can we reverse diabetes?

By Dr Harold Gunatillake - Health Writer

In the early ‘pre-diabetic stage’ of diabetes, one could reverse to a non-diabetic phase just by dieting and exercise daily to keep your blood sugar level low. With the stretching type of exercises, you do build your muscles. Built muscles need a lot of sugar to keep up the energy levels. Inactive muscles do not require as much sugar for energy purposes as those ones that are built up through exercise. That would be the reason why you should daily exercise to keep the muscles trim for better blood sugar levels.

If you suffer from full- blown diabetes and on medication, studies have revealed you could reverse the process to a non-diabetic situation. That is interesting and how can we do it?

Majority of the dibetics are over-weight. Even those on insulin shots daily to control diabetes there is a tendency to add on weight, unlike those on other anti-diabetic medication.
When you are overweight or obese you do not produce enough insulin, or the insulin produced by the pancreas doesn’t seem to work properly.

Professor Taylor, from Newcastle University, has found out that diabetes type 2 can be reversed even if you have had the condition for 10 years, by dissolving the tiny fat out of the pancreas.

When you go on a strict diet of 600 calories you tend to lose your fat from the pancreas, liver and other areas of your anatomy. Excess calories in your body lead to excess fat in the liver, claims Professor Taylor. As a result, the liver responds poorly to insulin and produces too much glucose to float in your blood. Liver tends to pass the excess fat onto the pancreas, causing insulin production in the latter organ to fail.

In a recent trial funded by Diabetes UK, all participants reversed their diabetes by drastically slashing their food intake to just 600 calories a day for two months. Fat levels in the pancreas were drastically reduced on a 600 calorie diet as shown on MRI scanning of the pancreas in those subjects.

So, going on a sensible weight reduction diet you reduce the fat content in the liver to respond more efficiently to insulin. Likewise, fat reduction in the pancreas normal insulin secretion became re-established, with normal blood glucose control.

Can a diabetic person go on a 600 calorie diet in a Sri Lankan home when the housewife cooks spicy curries to consume with processed white rice or white bread, and more so over with the aroma during the cooking process giving a rollicking appetite?

Concerted efforts by the family are important to change the lifestyles to a health- conscious one with reduction in consuming too much of carbs and fatty food, for diabetes to be reversed

How can one go on a 600 cal diet?
Going on a vegetarian diet with plenty of dark green veggies, with no ground roots, and grains would be the way to go. Eat an egg daily for your vitamins. Fruits and nuts can be supplemented especially between meals when hunger pangs do appear. Drink plenty of water frequently to fill full in the stomach. Exercising will not be possible on such a low -calorie diet, except for a walk.

Conclusions: Reducing your daily diet to 600 calories depletes fat from the liver and pancreas, thereby removing the strangulating effect of the excess fat. This results in recovery of insulin production by the pancreas and increasing the sensitivity to insulin by the liver, normalizing blood sugar levels.

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