Around 9% of the global population suffers from type 2 diabetes. Previously it was thought that this condition is characteristic of the elderly, but it is now known that it can occur in young people and children as well.
It is characterized by high levels of blood glucose due to an insufficient amount of insulin that is secreted by the pancreas, as well as insulin resistance when the body does not respond well enough to insulin.
A team of scientists from the Newcastle University in the UK have shown that type 2 diabetes is caused by the accumulation of fat in the pancreas and that if you lose less than one gram of these fats through weight reduction, diabetes can be cured.
The research, which was done under the guidance of Professor Roy Taylor was published in “Diabetes Care”, and will be presented at the World Conference on Diabetes in Vancouver.
The research involved 18 people with type 2 diabetes and nine people who do not have diabetes. Scientists measured everybody’s weight, the level of fat in the pancreas and insulin response before they underwent surgical operations to remove excess weight. Patients with type 2 diabetes had an increased level of fat in the pancreas.
All participants in the study were selected as candidates for a gastric bypass for the treatment of obesity and were measured immediately before the surgery and eight weeks after the intervention.
The treatments were cancelled immediately after the surgery in the patients with diabetes. Both groups lost weight equally, about 13% of the previous weight, but the most important thing is that the level of fat in the pancreas decreased to the normal level only in diabetics, while there has been no change in individuals without diabetes.
This indicates that excess fat in the pancreas in diabetic pancreas is specific to type-2 diabetes and is an important factor that prevents the secretion of insulin. When the excess fat was removed, the secretion of insulin rose to normal levels, in other words, diabetes was reversed.
In patients with type 2 diabetes, the level of fat in the pancreas (pancreatic triglyceride) decreased by 1.2%, which is equal to O, 6 grams of fat. In the case of patients who did not have diabetes, the level of fat did not change, indicating that the increase of fat in the pancreas is specific in the case of people who develop type-2 diabetes. Also, it is very important that each individual tolerates different levels of fat before the development of type-2 diabetes.
Type-2 diabetes is considered a progressive condition, which is originally controlled through diet, afterwards with the use of medicaments, and eventually, insulin injections may also be needed.
The earlier work of Professor Taylor and his team from 2011 pointed out the importance of weight reduction through diet, as a remedy for type-2 diabetes.
This paper has changed the thinking about diabetes, as for the first time, it was demonstrated that diet can remove fat accumulated in the pancreas, which enables the pancreas to restore the normal insulin secretion.