Wednesday, June 15, 2011

No More Excuses! It's not Your Parents' Fault: Type II Diabetes is Reversible by Diet & Life-Style Changes Alone.

Image 1: Symptoms of Diabetes
Have you ever met one of these poor fat guys or girls, who "have done everything" to shed some weight, always "eat healthy" and exercise "whenever they can", but are "held back by their genetics"? Well, I mean those, whose parents and grandparents already had type II diabetes; those poor critters who are condemned.... I don't know about you, but I cannot tolerate the whimpering anymore. A recent study (Lim. 2011) published in the May issue of the international Journal Diabetologia clearly shows: Type 2 diabetes is reversible!

Within 8 weeks on what certainly was a brutal diet (@ 600kcal per day it was rather a fast, supported by a commercial diet drink, Optifast, and sustained by three portions of non-starchy vegetables per day) the eleven type 2 diabetic subjects (49.5± 2.5 years, BMI 33.6±1.2 kg/m2 , nine male and two female) who participated in the study by Lim et al. achieved normalisation of both beta cell function and hepatic insulin sensitivity.
Figure 1: Anthropometric data before and during the 8 weeks
of dietary intervention (data adapted from Lim. 2011)

After only one week of severe calorie restriction, the fasting plasma glucose had already dropped from 9.2 to 5.9 mmol/l (from high to normal)...
Insulin suppression of hepatic glucose output improved from 43±4% to 74±5% (p=0.003 vs baseline; controls 68±5%). Hepatic triacylglycerol content fell from 12.8±2.4% in the diabetic group to 2.9±0.2% by week 8 (p=0.003).
In the course of study the first-phase insulin response increased by 70% (from 0.19±0.02 to 0.46± 0.07 nmol min−1m−2; p<0.001) and approached control values (0.62±0.15 nmol min−1 m−2 ; p=0.42). 
At the end of the trial the maximal insulin response [had become] supranormal (1.37± 0.27 vs controls 1.15±0.18 nmol min−1m−2) [and] pancreatic triacylglycerol [had] decreased from 8.0±1.6% to 6.2±1.1% (p=0.03).
So don't you tell me its not your fault! Not for the aesthetically pleasing improvements in body composition (cf. figure 1), but for the sake of your health, get your ass up, your caloric intake down and rid of your diabetes.

On a side note: This study the hypothesis that the primary weapon in the war against the metabolic syndrome with all its ugly facets is weight loss, not medication or supplementation. Yet, fasts like the one used in this study may get your weight faster, your success, however, will probably be more difficult to sustain. If you do not get away from the sedentary fast-food lifestyle that has gotten you where you were, the ~15kg will be back on your hips within no time and your health condition may turn out to be worse than ever before. We take it for granted, but in fact our health is something we have to work for 24/7, and that not just for 8 weeks, but for the rest of our lives.