The evidence has been in place for some years to show that low calorie diets can reverse type 2 diabetes even in comparatively late stages. For the vast majority of patients, this is a disease of choice: they chose to become fat enough to suffer sufficient metabolic disruption to produce the condition, as well as to accelerate the aging process, and they choose to remain fat enough to maintain this level of damage. Yes, eating less and exercising more is harder than it used to be, in this environment of low-cost calories, comfort, and convenience, but "harder" is not "I have no choice in this."
A body of research putting people with type 2 diabetes on a low calorie diet has confirmed the underlying causes of the condition and established that it is reversible. Research has revealed that for people with type 2 diabetes: (a) excess calories leads to excess fat in the liver; (b) as a result, the liver responds poorly to insulin and produces too much glucose; (c) excess fat in the liver is passed on to the pancreas, causing the insulin producing cells to fail; (d) losing less than 1 gram of fat from the pancreas through diet can re-start the normal production of insulin, reversing type 2 diabetes; (e) this reversal of diabetes remains possible for at least 10 years after the onset of the condition.
"I think the real importance of this work is for the patients themselves. Many have described to me how embarking on the low calorie diet has been the only option to prevent what they thought - or had been told - was an inevitable decline into further medication and further ill health because of their diabetes. By studying the underlying mechanisms we have been able to demonstrate the simplicity of type 2 diabetes." A body of research now confirms the Twin Cycle Hypothesis - that Type 2 diabetes is caused by excess fat actually within both liver and pancreas. This causes the liver to respond poorly to insulin. As insulin controls the normal process of making glucose, the liver then produces too much glucose. Simultaneously, excess fat in the liver increases the normal process of export of fat to all tissues. In the pancreas, this excess fat causes the insulin producing cells to fail.
The Counterpoint study, which was published in 2011, confirmed that if excess food intake was sharply decreased through a very low calorie diet, all these abnormal factors would be reversed. The study showed a profound fall in liver fat content resulting in normalisation of hepatic insulin sensitivity within 7 days of starting a very low calorie diet in people with type 2 diabetes. Fasting plasma glucose became normal in 7 days. Over 8 weeks, the raised pancreas fat content fell and normal first phase insulin secretion became re-established, with normal plasma glucose control. "The good news for people with Type 2 diabetes is that our work shows that even if you have had the condition for 10 years, you are likely to be able to reverse it by moving that all-important tiny amount of fat out of the pancreas. At present, this can only be done through substantial weight loss." The Counterbalance study published in 2016, demonstrated that type 2 diabetes remains reversible for up to 10 years in most people, and also that the normal metabolism persists long term, as long as the person doesn't regain the weight.