A 16-week lifestyle intervention has shown to prevent people with type 2 diabetes increasing their dependence on medication, including insulin.
A University of Glasgow study followed 23,208 people with type 2 diabetes which included a cohort who took part in the NHS’ 16-week lifestyle programme. The lifestyle programme included a regime of a low-fat, low-calorie diet, exercise and behaviour change.
Participants who lost 5kg or more on the programme did not need to increase their oral medication, but those who were unable to lose weight required more oral treatment during a three-year follow-up period.
These new findings are encouraging, and indicative that medication is certainly not the be-all and end-all treatment for people with type 2 diabetes.
The NHS programme consisted of nine fortnightly classes. Only people who had a BMI of 30 or above were eligible. Upon completio, patients could choose to continue with weight loss and maintenance classes once-monthly over the next year.
Success was judged as losing 5kg within a nine-week timeframe. A total of 1,537 attended at least one session and 808 attended 7-9 sessions. Out of those 808 people, over 40% achieved weight loss of 5kg or more.
The completers of the programme also had greater weight loss at the three-year follow-up compared to both those who did not complete the programme and those that who not attend it.
Programme completers who lost 5kg also experienced an average HbA1c reduction of 4 mmol/mol (0.4%). They were the only group that did not increase their use of medication, including insulin, over three years.
“Currently, weight management programmes in the NHS are under-resourced and there is a lack of belief in their effectiveness by clinicians leading to low levels of referral, despite them being recommended by NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence),” said lead author Dr Jennifer Logue.
“This study shows that the common assumption that the weight lost is quickly regained is not true.”
The findings have been published in the journal Diabetes Obesity and Metabolism.
It has been known among the diabetes community for some time that making healthy lifestyle changes can significantly improve health, and even help to put type 2 diabetes into remission.
Our Low Carb Program takes a more direct approach at tackling the root issue of type 2 diabetes by helping people reduce their carbohydrate intake. The program has helped people reduce their weight and HbA1c levels, reduce their medication needs and even come off medication altogether.

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