More evidence has come to light about patients “reversing” their Type 2 diabetes by changing their diets.
A new article details how three patients in Canada were able to stop their diabetes medication after following a “therapeutic fasting” diet.
It comes after Labour’s Tom Watson claimed he had reversed his Type 2 diabetes through lifestyle changes.
The party’s deputy leader said he no longer needed medication after he lost around seven stone following a new diet, including cutting out sugar, refined sugar, startchy carbs and “all processed food in plastic trays”, while taking up cycling, running, boxing and weight training.
The new cases, detailed in the journal BMJ Case Reports, include three patients from Toronto who were referred to an intensive dietary management clinic.
The patients were put on “therapeutic fasting” diets which “reversed” their insulin resistance, the Canadian authors wrote.
Therapeutic fasting was defined in the study as “controlled and voluntary abstinence from all calorie-containing food and drinks from a specified period of time”.
It describes how, on fasting days, participants are permitted to drink water, coffee and tea while also taking a multivitamin.
On eating days, participants are encouraged to eat a diet low in sugar and refined carbohydrates.
After completing the educational training, the patients were instructed to follow a scheduled 24-hour fast three times per week over a period of several months.
This resulted in them being able to stop their insulin therapy and still be in control of their blood sugar levels, the authors said.
They also lost a significant amount of weight, they wrote.
“Patients with Type 2 diabetes can reverse their diseases without the worry of side-effects and financial burden of many pharmaceuticals, as well as the unknown long-term risks and uncertainty of surgery, all by means of therapeutic fasting,” the authors wrote.
“Medically supervised, therapeutic fasting regimens can help reverse Type 2 diabetes.”
Commenting on the paper, Dr Faye Riley, research communications officer at Diabetes UK, said: “The study published today adds to the growing conversation around Type 2 remission, but doesn’t provide robust evidence to suggest that intermittent fasting is an effective way of achieving remission.
“Intermittent fasting can cause blood sugar levels to drop dangerously low, especially if you’re taking certain medications, including insulin.
“We’d recommend that anyone with Type 2 diabetes who is considering making drastic changes to their diet speak to their healthcare professional first.”