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Reversing Type 2 Diabetes: The University of Newcastle Research with Diet Plan

Reversing Type 2 Diabetes: The University of Newcastle Research with Diet Plan
Angelo Coppola

Promising research from a University of Newcastle team suggests that Type 2 diabetes can be cured in just eight weeks by diet alone. CURED. Their protocol is known to be effective in subjects who have had diabetes for up to 10 years, and they are optimistic about it working for some who have had the disease even longer.

The short term, very-low calorie diet was initially designed to mimic the rapid reduction of calorie intake that results from bariatric surgery—which is known to be effective in reversing diabetes very quickly. In 2011, the Newcastle researchers conducted their first study using the diet, and the results were impressive.

Participants who had diabetes for 4 years or less were placed on an 800-calorie diet. Daily food intake was limited to three liquid meal replacements (totaling 600 calories) and three servings of non-starchy vegetables (totaling 200 calories).

After 1 week:

  • Pre-breakfast blood-sugar (fasting plasma glucose) levels returned to normal and stayed normal for the remainder of the study.
  • Glucose production from the liver decreased, while the liver’s insulin sensitivity increased significantly.

By the end of the study:

  • Fat levels in the liver and pancreas dropped
  • Pancreatic functioning was restored to normal with regards to glucose sensitivity and insulin secretion.
  • Average weight loss was 33 lbs (15.3 kg), which represented about 15% of initial bodyweight.

Four weeks after the study ended, average weight gain was about 6.6 lbs (3.1 kg), but normal liver and pancreas functioning continued for 7 out of the 11 participants in the  low-calorie group of the study. These participants effectively reversed their type 2 diabetes status.

Here’s a video overview:

Back in 2011, the researchers were hesitant to recommend their diet, noting the small sample size and other weaknesses of the study. Reasonably, they wanted to see further randomized controlled trials and more long-term follow-up, before recommending the diet.

Nowadays, fasting protocols—usually involving calorie reduction, not total calorie elimination—have become far more common. One of the most popular diets in the UK is Dr. Michael Mosely’s The Fast Diet—a variant of the 5:2 diet—which calls for 2 days of significant calorie restriction every week and five days of normal, untracked eating. Studies continue to show the benefits of occasional fasts as well.

Dr. Mosley has now introduced The 8-Week Blood Sugar Diet, based on the Newcastle University research, his own experience with reversing diabetes, and his expertise with calorie restriction.

In a recent article written for The Daily Mail, Mosely discussed the diabetes reversing diet and even provided a weekly menu. The menu is very low calorie, Mediterranean, and ketogenic all at the same time—yes, at just 800 calories per day this will put dieters into ketosis.

Here’s the menu (click them to see larger versions):

Diabetes-Reversal-Diet-1

Diabetes-Reversal-Diet-2

The researchers’ main emphasis is on losing 15% of total bodyweight, because this level of weight loss appears to promote sufficient fat loss in the liver and pancreas, catalyzing their return to normal function, which then leads to the reversal of Type 2 diabetes.

While the researchers conducted their experiments with mostly liquid meal replacements, Mosley uses a real-food Mediterranean approach. Presumably, other diets that stick to the 800-calorie per day rule will deliver similar results.

Mosley’s approach appears both doable and palatable.

To make Mosley’s diet more voluminous and nutrient-rich substitute most or all of the oil with whole foods. To keep them mostly fat, you could use avocados or nuts, for example. This will provide even more nutrition. It will also result in consuming more food, which will make those 800 calories stretch further. For example, instead of a tiny 1.25-tablespoon sip of processed oil, one could substitute two eggs, 3/4 of cup of lentils, or a couple of medium oranges.  On an 800-calorie budget, that extra food could really help with satiety.

Regardless, I give Mosley’s real-food, 8-week diet plan a thumbs up if the rest of it looks as good as what we see above. It’s designed to last only 8 weeks, and it’s a much better way to eat 800 calories than prepackaged processed foods and shakes.

It’s For Normal-weight Diabetics, Too

It’s worth mentioning that the Newcastle protocol is effective for diabetics who carry a normal amount of bodyweight; i.e. it’s not just the overweight or obese Type 2 Diabetic. The researchers’ theory is that we each tolerate our own particular limits of fat in the liver and pancreas without getting diabetes; go over that limit and we run into glucose and insulin sensitivity issues.

For some, this organ-fat limit may occur at a normal weight. In fact, this study suggests that Asian Americans with a BMI greater than 23 should be tested for diabetes, whereas the cut of is typically 25. This is an example of an entire population whose tolerance is generally shifted down, but there can still be great diversity within ethnicities, as well.

Ultimately, the Newcastle Diabetes Reversal protocol aims to reduce fat in the organs, so it doesn’t matter whether your starting weight is normal, overweight, obese, or morbidly obese…if you have Type 2 Diabetes, the diet could work for you.

This is Worth Knowing About

Diabetes kills over 70,000 people a year in the United States and contributes to 200,000 more deaths. Twenty-nine million people live with diabetes and 8 million of them don’t even know they have it. Upwards of 80 million Americans are pre-diabetic and steadily marching toward the full blown disease.

Please pass this article along to anyone you know who has diabetes and/or share it within your social media (there are some buttons below that might help). This is a potential 8-week cure, and the lead researcher estimates it is effective for approximately 2/3 of the Type 2 diabetics who give it a try, even outside the lab.

Those are fantastic odds!

Of course, there is a possibility that results from further research will regress toward the mean, but for now there are numerous positive anecdotes, the research is promising, and the therapy seems especially plausible because it lines up with the diabetes reversal we already see in post-op bariatric surgery patients.

As much as an 8-week cure might initially sound like a fad or scam, this time it isn’t. The Newcastle team is currently planning a 200-participant study in an attempt to replicate their findings and to see if the diabetes reversal can be sustained for 2 years.

Plain and simple, this is information worth knowing about. Even those who try the program but don’t succeed in reversing their diabetes will likely experience other major improvements.

Of course, anyone attempting this should consult and work with their doctor, a dietician, and/or other members of their healthcare team. Below you’ll find additional resources to help.

Further Information and Resources

Again, please share this article with anyone you know who might benefit from this information or with your social media circles.

  • Well, ought it really matter hugely what one eats in terms of real food at 800 kcal? That’s less than half of requirements for even a small person.

    I suspect they do it VLC is to dimish the hefty BG spikes the first couple of weeks or so, and perhaps ethical considerations play a role. But the “first do no harm” slogan needs context. Even many life-saving drugs have harmful side-effects for many, but there’s a context and net benefit calculation involved.

    I don’t see why it ought be any different here. That liver and pancrease fat is going to clear out on alomst any 800 kcal diet, so why not mimic more like you might be eating whole foods going forward, like with lots of potatoes as I’ll be doing? Yesterday I ate 1 full pound of potatoes after an 18-hr fast and lifting session (mashed w 1 TBS butter and 1/2 C whole milk). A few years ago when I had LC induced insulin resistance, and probably too much liver and pancrease fat, that would have put my BG to 220, but yesterday, it topped out at 163 an hour PP amd at 1 1/2 hours, 129.

    I still have more liver and pancrease fat to clear out, only day 11 of my 1,200 – 1,500 mostly potato diet. Ate another half pound of potatoes (roasted fingerling, tossed with fresh spinach & a bit of OO) for dinner, along with a chicken breast. An hour after the meal, BG was 127.

    So, yep, doable, but I think the LC part is a gimmick. BG spikes for the fist few weeks aren’t going to cause long-term irrevocable damage, can be covered by insulin anyway, but perhaps more importantly, going much higher whole food cellular carb would allow both researchers and test subjects actually observe the curing process with much higher and more valuable resolution over time.

    • “Well, ought it really matter hugely what one eats in terms of real food at 800 kcal? That’s less than half of requirements for even a small person […] so why not mimic more like you might be eating whole foods going forward?”

      I don’t think the researchers would disagree; they appear to be mostly diet agnostic. The 2011 study used OptiFast shakes and non-starchy vegetables. The lead researcher was asked about diet in a Reddit AMA, and he responded:

      …there is a very important human point. Some people find it easier to follow one particular diet, and this has to be recognised as being practically important.

      The researchers don’t even seem too hung up on losing the weight rapidly, but suggest that it might work better for some people who have a hard time with losing weight slowly.

      In a nutshell, I doubt they would have any issue with a 1200-1500 kcal, high-potato diet. Theoretically, it should just take a little longer. The critical points are to lose at least 15% of bodyweight, fat in the liver, and about a gram of fat in the pancreas—and then hopefully one finds himself in the group of people whose glucose and insulin sensitivity return to normal.

      Mosley’s diet (pictured in the article) would be ideal for people who would like to follow a Mediterranean diet for long-term maintenance. Or even a Mediterranean + 5:2 diet combination. Of course they would increase calorie levels to maintenance levels.

      • jackson c

        800 calorie VLC may be easier for some people.
        Is there evidence that losing 15% body weight (as mostly fat), via VLC, works similarly?

        • I’m assuming that by “VLC” you mean ‘very low carb’ and not ‘very low calorie.’ Taylor was asked in his Reddit AMA if one could follow an 800-calorie, low-carb, high-fat protocol to lose the weight and still reverse diabetes. He said yes. And basically people show follow the diet that helps them stick to the 800-calorie plan. Check out the AMA.

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  • jackson c

    How about lean people (<20% bodyfat as per DEXA scan), who have poor starch tolerance but no insulin resistance? How can they lose 15% bodyweight without losing mostly muscle?

    • The researchers note that the diet is effective for people of normal weight. Losing 15% of bodyweight will result in some muscle loss for most people, but if that’s outweighed by the desire to reverse diabetes, one could still give the Newcastle protocol a shot. Glucose tolerance rebounded significantly after 1 week.

  • jackson c

    Also, have you seen a study correlating “android fat %” (visceral fat) as per a DEXA scan, with pancreatic and liver fat?

  • charles grashow

    Angelo

    http://nutritionfacts.org/video/diabetes-reversal-is-it-the-calories-or-the-food/
    Diabetes Reversal: Is it the Calories or the Food?

    Even when study subjects are forced to eat so much that they didn’t lose any weight, a plant-based diet can still reverse type 2 diabetes in a matter of weeks.

    These studies as well

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4190933/
    The effect of the macrobiotic Ma-Pi 2 diet vs. the recommended diet in the management of type 2 diabetes: the randomized controlled MADIAB trial

    Conclusions
    All patients in the Ma-Pi 2 diet group had their glucose levels reduced to the point of being comparable to subjects without type 2 diabetes (target values), following 21-day intervention in a supervised environment.

    http://www.hoajonline.com/internalmedicine/2052-6954/2/3
    Ma-Pi 2 macrobiotic diet intervention during 21 days in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus, Ghana 2011

    http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jnme/2012/856342/
    Medium- and Short-Term Interventions with Ma-Pi 2 Macrobiotic Diet in Type 2 Diabetic Adults of Bauta, Havana

    http://www.medicc.org/mediccreview/articles/mr_119.pdf
    Ma-Pi 2 Macrobiotic Diet Intervention in Adults with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

    http://carbsanity.blogspot.com/2014/12/vegan-ma-pi-diet-bests-conventional.html

    http://carbsanity.blogspot.com/2014/01/carbohydrate-and-diabetes.html

    http://carbsanity.blogspot.com/2014/01/carbohydrates-and-diabetes-part-ii.html

    Your thoughts.

    • Hi, Charles.

      If I personally had diabetes, I would attempt to reverse it using the Newcastle 800-calorie protocol and Plant Paleo guidelines for my food choices—since I already know this diet works for me and I enjoy sticking with it. Then, I would transition to a weight-maintaining calorie level, still on Plant Paleo, for long-term success.

      If that didn’t work, I’d continue to try other modalities known to reverse the disease, before deciding to live with it the best I could and moving on to some diabetes management protocol. I think that’s the really big point here. There are known, documented paths that have led to reversal, yet they haven’t been promoted as strongly as the pure management protocols.

      It seems to me T2D treatment should start with an aggressive attempt at reversal as soon as it is diagnosed (or earlier). Those unwilling or unable to follow the protocols should at least be given the opportunity to try them.

      As for the success with the vegan approaches listed in Greger’s video and the Ma-Pi 2 diet, I have little doubt that they do work. They are nutrient rich, high in fiber containing whole foods, and are probably a heck of a lot better than the diets the study subjects transitioned from.

      But do they have to be 100% vegan to work? I don’t think the research will play out that way. Greger didn’t mention Nathan Pritikin’s diet, for instance, which also had a great track record for reversing diabetes, while it included meat and non-fat dairy. Pritikin’s diet, like the others, was also around 70-80% carb, 10-15% protein, and 10-15% fat. They share in common that they are all nutrient-rich, high-fiber, whole-food diets that minimize or eliminate added sugars and oils—this is likely more important than the vegan angle Greger focuses on.

      In my opinion, Greger also implies that the studies he cites in his video suggest a Vegan diet is the best long-term, longevity diet, too. But they don’t.

      • charles grashow

        “70-80% carb, 10-15% protein, and 10-15% fat. They share in common that they are all nutrient-rich, high-fiber, whole-food diets that minimize or eliminate added sug- I as to the macro

        • Not necessarily. For example, if you start with a whole-food, plant-based diet, but weekly you add about 6-8 oz of meat, 1 or 2 eggs, and you use animal stocks in cooking, that’s not going to alter the fat load significantly. Also, on the days when you eat meat or an egg, you can decrease the consumption of nuts, seeds, while increasing leafy greens.

          It’s can be easier to think about diet from multiple time perspectives. Daily: mostly plant-based, simple foods. Weekly: small amounts of meat, eggs, organ meat, broth. Monthly: modest party/feast with few rules. Yearly: major party/feast, no rules. Those feasts can be balanced with a day of calorie-restriction or fasting every month, too.

          When we try to create a perfect bite of food in every spoonful or to put together a perfect plate of food every time we eat, I think then we run into problems.

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