Reprinted with the kind permission of Life Extension.
December 7 2015. Researchers at Newcastle University believe they have discovered why calorie restricted diets can reverse type 2 diabetes. The reason may be as simple as losing a gram of fat from the pancreas, thereby enabling the organ to resume proper function. The finding, published online on December 1, 2015 in Diabetes Care, was announced at the World Diabetes Congress held in Vancouver.
The discovery was the result of a trial involving 18 type 2 diabetics and 9 nondiabetics scheduled for gastric bypass surgery. Insulin response to glucose infusion and other factors were measured before and eight weeks after the surgery. Pancreatic and liver triglycerides were assessed by magnetic resonance imaging.
After the surgery, weight loss and fat mass change were similar in all subjects, however pancreatic triglycerides remained unchanged in nondiabetics while decreasing in the diabetic group. Insulin response to glucose infusion was also unchanged in the nondiabetics while normalizing in those with type 2 diabetes.
“For people with type 2 diabetes, losing weight allows them to drain excess fat out of the pancreas and allows function to return to normal,” lead researcher Roy Taylor explained. “So if you ask how much weight you need to lose to make your diabetes go away, the answer is one gram! But that gram needs to be fat from the pancreas. At present the only way we have to achieve this is by calorie restriction by any means — whether by diet or an operation.”
“This new research demonstrates that the change in level of fat in the pancreas is related to the presence of type 2 diabetes in a patient,” he added. “The decrease in pancreas fat is not simply related to the weight loss itself. It is not something that might happen to anyone whether or not they had diabetes. It is specific to type 2 diabetes.”