Nov 10, 2017 09:38 AM EST By Dianne Depra

Low-Calorie Diet Shows Promise Reversing Type 2 Diabetes: Study

Loading up on fruits and vegetables is a great way to feel full while managing calories. According to a study, watching what you eat and resorting to a very low calorie diet has the potential to reverse type 2 diabetes.

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A research team has figured out how a diet very low in calories administered to animal models can quickly reverse type 2 diabetes. If the same results are proven in people, they could give rise to new drug targets to be developed as treatment for the common chronic disorder.

In a study published in Cell Metabolism, the researchers showed how using a naturally occurring isotope approach they developed themselves was able to track and calculate the metabolic processes that had a hand in increasing the production of glucose in the liver.

Called PINTA, the approach allowed the researchers to carry out a comprehensive analysis of metabolic movements within the liver that nay promote insulin resistance and higher production rates of glucose in the liver. According to the researchers, these two are key processes that increase concentrations of blood sugar in diabetics.

The researchers chose to focus on the underlying mechanism responsible for calorie restrictions quickly reversing type 2 diabetes. To qualify what a very low calorie diet is, it refers to one-quarter of what is deemed the normal intake.

Low-Calorie Diets And Type 2 Diabetes

Three major mechanisms behind the effects of very low calorie diets on quickly lowering blood sugar concentrations in animal models were uncovered: by reducing the conversion of amino acids and lactate into glucose; by reducing the rate at which liver glycogen is changed to glucose; and by reducing fat content, improving how the liver responds to insulin.

"... We showed that it is a combination of three mechanisms that is responsible for the rapid reversal of hyperglycemia following a very low calorie diet," said Dr. Gerald I. Shulman, the study's senior author.

These positive very low calorie diet effects were observed by the researchers in just three days.

Their next step? Confirming whether they can replicate their findings on type 2 diabetes patients either assigned diets very low in calories or undergoing bariatric surgery.

The study received support from grants provided by the U.S. Public Health Service. Other authors for the study include: Kitt Falk Petersen, Sylvie Dufour, Yuichi Nozaki, Xian-Man Zhang, Dongyan Zhang, Joongyu D. Song, Aviva Rabin-Court, Yongliang Wang, Gary W. Cline, Liang Peng, and Rachel J. Perry.

Type 2 Diabetes Prevalence

According to recently released projections from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in every three Americans will be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes by the time 2050 rolls in. Reports show that the chronic condition can enter remission in a lot of patients who underwent bariatric surgery to lose weight, which required significantly restricting caloric intake before clinically losing weight.

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