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Media claims that research can “cure” Type 2 rebuffed

Thursday 16 March 2017

A small scale study - published by the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism - indicates some people who’ve had Type 2 diabetes for a short time might be helped by a strict, controlled regime of diabetes drugs, diet and exercise overseen by doctors.

While the results of the research are promising, we are concerned by misleading claims made in some newspaper articles* this is a “cure” for Type 2 diabetes, as there is no known cure.

Until there is robust proof of how ‘intensive lifestyle strategies’ work and for who, we encourage people with Type 2 diabetes to follow a healthy diet that is low in sugar, saturated fats and salt, and to maintain a healthy weight.

Diabetes UK research communications manager Dr Emily Burns said: “We know that diet, exercise and medications can help people with Type 2 diabetes to manage their condition. We’re starting to see mounting evidence that putting Type 2 diabetes into remission is feasible as well. This is really interesting research, but we need longer trials in larger numbers of people to see if this approach works in the long-term."

“Research in this area is looking incredibly promising. That’s why we’re funding a large clinical trial, called DiRect to see if a low calorie diet can put Type 2 diabetes into remission for the long-term. We’re looking forward to seeing the results in 2018. In the meantime, we encourage people with Type 2 diabetes to follow a healthy diet that is low in sugar, saturated fats and salt.”

*The Daily Mail online, for example, does not make it clear the research is about Type 2 diabetes only, and has used “remission”, “cure”, and “reversed” interchangeably.  We also dislike referring to people with diabetes as 'sufferers' and are surprised the story used this old-fashioned, discriminatory term.