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Advice for people with diabetes and their families

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Can you reverse type 2 diabetes?

On this page we have information for you, if you have ever wondered "Can I reverse my diabetes?" We don’t call it diabetes reversal, because this might sound like it's permanent, and there’s no guarantee that your diabetes has gone forever.

But yes, it is possible to put your type 2 diabetes into remission. This is when your blood sugar levels are below the diabetes range and you don’t need to take diabetes medication anymore. This could be life-changing.

How do you reverse diabetes?

There’s no guarantee your diabetes can be reversed, and it’s no easy fix. But the strongest evidence for reaching type 2 diabetes remission points towards weight loss in people who are carrying extra weight or have obesity. Some people have done this through lifestyle and diet changes, and through weight loss surgery (called bariatric surgery).

Here's how it all works.

 

Why is it about losing weight?

Well our scientists believe that storing too much fat in the liver and pancreas affects how type 2 diabetes develops and losing this fat can help put your diabetes into remission.

In fact, losing around 15kg significantly increases your chances of type 2 diabetes remission.

We also know diabetes remission is most likely nearer to your diagnosis. So it’s important to start your remission journey as early as possible.

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Is there a diet to reverse type 2 diabetes?

There is no such thing as a special diet for people with diabetes or those aiming or diabetes reversal. There are a lot of different ways to lose weight – but there’s no one-size-fits-all diet. 

But we do know that some people have put their diabetes into remission by losing weight through following the Mediterranean diet or a low-carb diet. We’ve got lots of information, meal plans and recipes to help you find the best approach for you. 

Can I reverse my diabetes?

To increase your chances of type 2 diabetes remission, and know you are carrying extra weight, aim to lose some as soon as possible. This is easier said than done so ask your diabetes team for support.

It’s important to know that not everyone who loses this much weight will be able to put their diabetes into remission. But losing 15kg comes with a lot of health benefits, even if you don’t achieve remission. Even losing as little as 5% of your body weight, when you're overweight, can have huge benefits for your health. Losing extra weight can lead to:

  • fewer medications
  • better blood sugar levels
  • a lower risk of complications.

If you’re trying to lose extra weight, or aiming towards remission, we’d love to hear from you. Share your story.

Our research into diabetes remission

A study we’ve funded called DiRECT looked into the remission of type 2 diabetes by following a low-calorie diet weight management programme. Find out more about the study and keep up to date with our remission research.

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