Most diabetics who lose a stone and a half can reverse the condition, landmark study suggests

Most diabetics who lose a stone and a half can reverse the condition, landmark study suggests

The lives changed by lifestyle overhauls 

58 year-old Joe McSorley from Glasgow, didn’t have any symptoms before being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

His diagnosis came as a huge shock, and the thought of being on medication for life led him to take part in the trial.

Since achieving remission by making lifestyle changes, the BT engineer has made plans to become a personal trainer – which he’ll do when he retires in two years’ time.

Now Joe does not need to take any of his diabetes medications.

He said: “It’s been a life-changing experience for me in many ways. One of the biggest changes has been the exercise which I now do on a daily basis without thinking about it twice. I’d have never imagined that I would be as fit at my age as I was at 21 or that my blood pressure would ever be similar to that of an athlete.

“It was a difficult decision to take but it was the right decision as my life has changed so much. The way I used to look at diabetes was starting to have a detrimental effect on my life – looking back, there was a certain amount of denial when I got on the trial. DiRECT gave me the direction I was lacking and pushed me to make the changes that I was due making in my life.”

Six months after being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2011, Isobel Murray, 67 from North Ayrshire, was put on medication.

This was increased with each visit to the doctor, due to her feeling more and more unwell.

This all changed in 2014 when, 17 weeks into the trial, Isobel went into remission.

Four and a half years later, Isobel is still in remission and does not need any diabetes medication.

She said: “When I was first told that my diabetes went into remission, I felt absolutely ecstatic. Four and a half years later, that feeling is still with me. Over the last few years I’ve been able to lead a normal life again.

“It only took a few months to do the plan and to get my life back – it was worth every minute. I feel ten years younger now and I will do everything in my power to never go back to how things were before; I still keep a food diary from time to time to make sure I stay on track, along with going to the gym and doing a lot more walking.”

What is the liquid diet?

Liquid diets – also known as Total Diet Replacement – involve abandoning all normal foods, and instead existing on a regime of powdered soups and shakes.

Dieters are allowed four small meals a day, each providing around 200 calories, with a mixture of sweet and savoury flavours on offer.

The key is keeping the total daily calorie intake low – at less than 850 calories a day.

Some obesity experts believe that the packet meals are helpful in maintaining discipline, suggesting that those with a history of failed dieting can find it easier to stick to such limits when they cut out the temptations of normal foods.

Two in three adults are overweight or obese.

Experts said many cases of Type 2 diabetes could be prevented or delayed by healthy eating, being more active, and losing weight if overweight.

Chris Askew, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: “Millions of Type 2 diabetes cases could be prevented if we help people understand their risk and how to reduce it. Even though the older people get the more likely they are to have Type 2 diabetes, it is never too early to know your risk so that you can make changes to prevent or delay it.”

The charity is urging those aged 40 or over to have a free NHS health check offered by GPs.

It also said their own Know Your Risk online tool could help people to find out their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

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