Diabetes today is responsible for one out of every seven deaths across the U.S. and can cause an array of other health issues including vision loss, heart disease, amputation and kidney failure.
A just published study indicates a diet that is very low in calories could reverse the diabetes, which could help the more than 100 million people in the U.S. diagnosed with the sickness find relief. It is not a typical diet in that it is very low in calories, as the maximum a person can intake daily is 800 calories.
The study was led by Yale researchers and conducted on mice. To determine if diets could help to reverse diabetes, animals were given 25% of their typical intake daily and researchers studied how the bodies of the mice reacted, particularly to insulin resistance and sugar or glucose, production by their liver, as the two functions can cause increased levels of blood sugar in diabetics.
Essentially, the researchers found that a diet very low in calories lowered the glucose levels through decreasing the amount of amino acids and lactate in the body that were converted to sugar.
In addition, animals on the diet converted less glycogen that is stored in the body to use as fuel, into glucose.
They also discovered a drop in fat content, which is helpful to the liver for reacting to insulin. These positive benefits all took place in only three days.
While preliminary, researchers hope to see if this works with humans. The next step is a study involving patients with Type 2 diabetes and that are either on a very low-cal diet or undergoing bariatric surgery. If results from the study replicate the one on mice, researchers believe it could lead to new advancements with pharmaceuticals.
Researchers said that the results, if confirmed to be the same in humans, would provide drug targets to treat patients more effectively that have Type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes develops when the blood sugar is high due to the body either making not enough or too much insulin as the hormone aids glucose in working properly. When this takes place, not enough sugar reaches the body’s cells for use and does note remain in the blood.
Genetics plays a role, but often excess weight and inactivity physically contribute. To lower the risk, doctors believe losing just 5% to 7% of body weight will help, as well as working out for a period of 30 minutes each day.