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New research proves diet can put Type 2 diabetes into remission

10 September 2021


A change in diet is proving to be a key tool in the reversal of Type 2 diabetes – new research has found.

Alan Batterham
Alan Batterham

A team of researchers from Teesside University and the University of British Columbia has published a study showing that people can effectively control their Type 2 diabetes through diet, and that pharmacists are well positioned to supervise the transition.

The research, published this week in Nature Communications, was part of a 12-week study involving a specialised diet that was managed by local pharmacists.

Study participants, all living with Type 2 diabetes, were given a meal plan of low calorie, low carbohydrate, higher protein foods and they checked in regularly with their pharmacist who could monitor their medications.

Co-investigator Alan Batterham, Professor of Health Sciences in Teesside University’s School of Health & Life Sciences, says the key was a targeted nutritional approach, supervised by a community pharmacist who can monitor prescribed medications.

“The intervention was effective in reducing the need for glucose-lowering medications for many in our study,” explained Professor Batterham.

“This indicates that community pharmacists are a viable and innovative option for implementing short-term nutritional interventions for people with Type 2 diabetes, particularly when medication management is a safety concern.”

Co-study author Dr Jonathan Little, Associate Professor in UBC Okanagan’s School of Health and Exercise Sciences, said: “Type 2 diabetes can be treated, and sometimes reversed, with dietary interventions. However, we needed a strategy to help people implement these interventions while keeping an eye on their medication changes.”

Dr Little says pharmacists are generally more accessible than a family doctor, noting that people with Type 2 diabetes often make more visits a year to their pharmacist than their doctor. This is especially true in rural areas.

He added: “Community pharmacists have expertise in medication management and can serve an important role in overall diabetes care.

“When Type 2 diabetes patients follow a very low-carbohydrate or low-calorie diet, there is a need to reduce or eliminate glucose-lowering medications. Community pharmacists are ideally positioned to safely and effectively deliver interventions targeted at reducing diabetes medications while promoting Type 2 diabetes remission.”

Half of the participants in the study followed the low-calorie, low-carbohydrate, higher-protein diet, checking regularly with their pharmacist. After 12 weeks, more than one-third of participants with Type 2 diabetes were off all diabetes medications, versus none in the control group. The first group also noted substantial improvements to their glucose control, average body weight, systolic blood pressure and overall health.

The research was a collaboration with Pharmasave, the not-for-profit Institute for Personalised Therapeutic Nutrition, Teesside University, along with UBC’s School of Health and Exercise Sciences, Life Sciences Institute and Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcome Sciences. Food products were provided to pharmacies by Ideal Protein. The study was partially funded by Mitacs with salary support provided to Dr Little from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research.

In the News

New Research Proves Pharmacist-led Diet can put Type 2 Diabetes into Remission
Complete Nutrition, Print, 01/10/2021
A low calorie, low carb diet is proving to be a key tool in the reversal of Type 2 diabetes, and can eliminate the need for medication, researchers from the University of British Columbia and Teesside University, UK, have found.

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Scienmag, Web, 13/09/2021
A team of researchers from the University of British Columbia and England's Teesside University have published a study showing that people can effectively control their Type 2 diabetes through diet and pharmacists are well-positioned to supervise the transition.

Change of diet 'can reverse diabetes'
Evening Gazette , Print and Web, 13/09/2021
Teesside University experts found more than one in three people in their study with Type 2 diabetes were able to come off all medications for the condition.

Type 2 diabetes: Diet to `reduce or eliminate glucose-lowering medication'' says new study
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With so much conflicting information regarding diabetes and the best type of diets to help lower blood sugars, it can be difficult to know what is best. A new study, however, have found one particular way of eating is best.

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