Diabetes type 2 symptoms: The best type of diet proven to put diabetes into remission

Diabetes type 2: Dr Zoe Williams discusses high blood sugar risks

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Researchers have now collated enough evidence from their groundbreaking DiRECT study (short for Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial), to show that a certain type of diet can lower your blood sugar levels. Almost 50 percent of participants entered diabetes remission after taking part in a “low-calorie, diet-based, weight management programme”. Funded by the charity Diabetes UK, the results demonstrated that 70 percent of those who entered remission still had healthy blood sugar levels by the end of year two of the experiment.

“Two thirds (64 percent) of those who lost more than 10kg were in remission after two years,” Diabetes UK pointed out.

The second-year results also highlighted that people reported:

  • A better quality of life
  • Improved blood sugar control
  • A reduced need for diabetes medications.

Dr Elizabeth Robertson, the director of research at Diabetes UK, commented on the findings.

“These results further challenge the perception that type 2 diabetes needs to be a life-long condition for everyone diagnosed with it.”

READ MORE: Diabetes type 2 symptoms: Warning signs that signal high blood sugar

The study details

Led by Professors Roy Taylor and Mike Lean, 306 participants were recruited to take part in the experiment.

All recruits were put forward by their GP were between 25 and 65 years of age, and were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes within six years of starting the study.

It must be noted that all participants were classified as “overweight” before the study began.

“We know not everyone with type 2 diabetes is overweight, but weight gain and obesity are the most important risk factors for type 2 diabetes,” Diabetes UK explained.

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One half of the participants “received the best type 2 diabetes care available”.

The other half were enrolled in the low-calorie weight management programme.

People in the diet group were restricted to 850 calories daily, made up of four soups or shakes – full of the essential vitamins and minerals.

They were then encouraged to reintroduce healthy foods into their diet and to maintain their weight loss in the long term.

Some participants did report that they found the diet “incredibly challenging”.

Diabetes UK deputy head of care, Douglas Twenefour, said: “If you’re thinking about trying a low-calorie diet, it’s really important you speak to your GP and get referred to a dietitian.

“It’s also important to bear in mind that if you’re treating your type 2 diabetes with certain medications, such as insulin or sulphonylurea, a low-calorie diet can make hypos more likely.

“So you’ll need support to make changes to your medications and check your blood sugar levels more often.”


The Mediterranean diet has also been shown to help put people’s diabetes into remission.

If you’d like support on where to begin with putting your condition into remission, Diabetes UK have a tool to help you get started.

Participants from the DiRECT study are now being followed for another three years.

“We want to find out how much type 2 diabetes remission can protect people against diabetes-related complications later in life,” the charity concluded.

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