Reversing Type 2 Diabetes: The University of Newcastle Research with Diet Plan
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, I reported this research on Latest in Paleo. At the time, 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):
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.
I like Mosley’s approach, which appears both doable and palatable. You may have noticed that it’s also similar to my own Plant Paleo approach. Mosley’s 8-week diet is obviously much lower in calories than a typical day on Plant Paleo, but it’s mostly whole foods, mostly fiber-rich plants, and mostly nutrient dense—which makes it a winner in my book.
To tilt Mosley’s diet even more toward Plant Paleo, simply replace most or all of the oil with additional whole foods. This will provide even more nutrition. It will also result in consuming a greater volume of food, which will make those 800 calories stretch much 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 volume 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 weight, not just the overweight or obese. 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…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!
As I promised earlier this year on my podcast, I’ll continue to mention the Newcastle research when diabetes comes up on the show, at least until the Newcastle Research becomes common knowledge. 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
- The Journal Diabetologia: Reversal of type 2 diabetes: normalisation of beta cell function in association with decreased pancreas and liver triacylglycerol
- Newcastle Biomedicine: FAQ
- Dr. Roy Taylor Presentation: Reversing the Irreversible
- NHS: ‘Crash diets’ studied for type 2 diabetes
- Newcastle Biomedicine: Information for Your Doctor
- Newcastle Biomedicine: Recipes & Menus
- Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything): Lead researcher Roy Taylor
- The Guardian: Richard Doughty’s Story of Diabetes Reversal
Again, please share this article with anyone you know who might benefit from this information or with your social media circles. Thank you! I’ll continue to update this article with further resources as they become available.