A very low calorie diet could help Type 2 diabetes sufferers reverse their condition, a study has found.
New research has revealed that the diet over a two-month period could cause the body to produce its own insulin, findings which an expert involved in the study called “remarkable”.
The results indicate that a significant fall in calories has a strong effect on reducing fat that has gathered in the pancreas, which then prompts a “wake up” among insulin cells.
Consuming just 600 calories a day as part of the special diet could be enough to trigger a reversal of Type 2 diabetes in some people.
There are almost 3.5 million people in the UK that are affected by the condition.
The findings are consistent with the belief that a lack of insulin secretion - which is vital for blood sugar control - is due to accumulation of fat in the liver and pancreas.
Experts at Newcastle University carried out an early-stage trial on 11 people with diabetes.
They each followed a diet of liquid drinks (containing 46.4% carbohydrate, 32.5% protein and 20.1% fat, with vitamins and minerals) and non-starchy vegetables.
After just one week, pre-breakfast blood sugar levels had returned to normal among the group.
Over two months, insulin cell function in the pancreas increased towards normal and pancreatic fat decreased, as shown on MRI scans.
Three months later, after going back to normal eating with advice on portion control and healthy foods, seven people remained free of diabetes.