Can type 2 diabetes be cured? A very low-calorie diet may be able to reverse the disease, according to a new report.
Researchers from Yale University recently conducted an experiment, published in the Cell Metabolism journal, to determine the link between a calorie-restricted diet and the illness.
To do so, they examined rats with type 2 diabetes. They fed them very low-calorie diets, defined as one quarter their normal intake.
Within just three days, scientists noticed three significant changes that contributed to lowering blood glucose concentrations.
It decreased the conversion of lactose and amino acids into glucose, reduced the rate of liver glycogen conversion to glucose and lowered the fat content, which is known to improve the liver’s response to insulin.
"Using this approach to comprehensively interrogate liver carbohydrate and fat metabolism, we showed that it is a combination of three mechanisms that is responsible for the rapid reversal of hyperglycemia following a very low calorie diet," lead author Gerald I. Shulman said in a statement.
Now researchers hope to investigate whether this method could yield the same findings for humans with type 2 diabetes.
"These results,” Shulman said, “if confirmed in humans, will provide us with novel drug targets to more effectively treat patients with type 2 diabetes."