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Type 2 diabetes affects almost 400 million people around the world and this figure is expected to grow by 50% in the next 20 years (1). According to a study published in 2016, a strict low-calorie diet with less than 700 calories per day for a period of 8 weeks, leads to remission in 87% of cases in newly diagnosed patients and in 50% of cases in people who have had diabetes for more than 8 years (2). For their part, the University of Cambridge researchers showed that disease remission was possible with a weight loss target of only 10% (3).

1| Weight loss plays a key role in the remission of type 2 diabetes (T2D)

867 patients, aged from 40 to 69 years and newly diagnosed with T2D, were included in the University of Cambridge study. The mean age of the patients was 61 years. 61% were men and almost 55% of the population studied were taking hypoglycemic medication. All the patients were followed up for 5 years and at the end of this period, the researchers observed that 257 patients had achieved remission of their disease, i.e., almost a third of the group. Among this population, those who had a minimum weight loss of 10% were twice as likely to achieve remission compared to those with a stable weight (3). According to the investigators in this study, remission corresponds to a glycated hemoglobin (or Hba1c) level of less than 6.5% or less than 48 mmol/L.

2| Results seen as promising by the researchers

This study is therefore very encouraging since it allows people with T2D to set an achievable weight loss target. For the Cambridge researchers, “these findings suggest that remission is achievable without intensive lifestyle interventions or extreme calorie restrictions (3)”. In addition, this is not without consequences, since controlling diabetes reduces the risk of comorbidities, in particular cardiovascular, renal, ophthalmological and podological problems (4). Between baseline and one‐year follow‐up, numerous improvements were seen in the subjects taking part in the study, particularly in terms of cardiovascular disease risk factors (3).

3| Sources

  1. Ogurtsova K, da Rocha Fernandes JD, Huang Y, Linnenkamp U, Guariguata L, Cho NH et al. IDF Diabetes Atlas: Global estimates for the prevalence of diabetes for 2015 and 2040. Diabetes Res Clin Pract 2017; 128: 40–50. 1. DOI: 10.1016/j.diabres.2017.03.024.
  2. Steven S, Hollingsworth KG, Al‐Mrabeh A, Avery L, Aribisala B, Caslake M et al. Very Low‐Calorie Diet and 6 Months of Weight Stability in Type 2 Diabetes: Pathophysiological Changes in Responders and Nonresponders. Diabetes Care 2016; 39: 808–815. DOI: 10.2337/dc15-1942
  3. Behaviour change, weight loss and remission of Type 2 diabetes: a community‐based prospective cohort study. H. Dambha‐Miller  A. J. Day  J. Strelitz  G. Irving  S. J. Griffin, 03 September 2019, https://doi.org/10.1111/dme.14122
  4. Complications du diabète de type 2, Jean-Louis Schlienger, La Presse Médicale, Volume 42, n° 5 pages 839-848 (mai 2013)DOI: 10.1016/j.lpm.2013.02.313