Dr. Michael Mosley, in the photo, said he had lost nearly 20 pounds by going on the 5: 2 diet. According to him, the best way to reverse pre-diabetes is with a rapid loss of 800 calories
In my life I have seen some incredible medical breakthroughs, but there is one that excites me more than any other. It is a revolutionary approach to treat and prevent the greatest health problem of our time – and I am happy to say that I have played a small role in it.
Most of you have heard of type 2 diabetes, and you probably know that rates are rising rapidly. Last year there was a seven percent increase in the UK to more than four million diabetics, including half a million people who are believed to have the condition, but who are currently not diagnosed.
Even more worrying is the huge number of people with pre-diabetes. Never heard of it? Well, that's part of the problem.
A major study in the British Medical Journal suggested that the pre-diabetes rate in England tripled in a decade alone, from 11 percent to more than 30 percent of the population. And up to one in ten people with pre-diabetes will develop fully developed type 2 diabetes in a given year. Yet many people don't even know it exists.
The first warning signal can be a heart attack
Pre-diabetes means blood sugar levels that are abnormally high, and although they are not yet in the diabetic pattern, evidence suggests that you are likely to end up there. Worried, unless you have had a blood test, you will not know you have it. Type 2 diabetes causes symptoms such as an unquenchable thirst, frequent urination, tiredness and blurred vision. But since blood sugar levels are not high enough in pre-diabetes to induce these problems, there are no symptoms.
Having high blood sugar levels, even if you don't have diabetes, causes damage. To explain why, here is a mini science lesson first.
When we eat, the digestive system breaks down food into molecules that are easily absorbed. Most foods contain a mixture of proteins, fats and carbohydrates in different amounts.
The first sign of pre-diabetes can be when someone suffers from a heart attack, photo suggested by the model
Carbohydrates are broken down into individual sugar molecules. These molecules are then placed in the bloodstream. When observing incoming sugar, the body releases a hormone called insulin that transports sugar from the blood and into cells, where it is used for energy.
Overall, this is a good thing. However, problems arise when, for various reasons, insulin stops working in some people, both in type 2 diabetes and in diabetics.
This means that over time, sugar stays in the blood – hence the term high blood sugar – and causes all kinds of devastation.
Even in people with pre-diabetes, elevated sugar levels cause the walls of the blood vessels to become stiffer and less flexible, leading to heart disease and kidney problems over time. That is why many people do not discover that they are pre-diabetic until they are diagnosed after a heart attack.
A fork in the way … but you can make the right choice
The things that put us at risk of pre-diabetes are the same as those for type 2 diabetes itself. We can't do much about that: simply being over 40 is a well-known risk factor, for example.
If someone in the family has type 2 diabetes, you are more likely to develop it. And type 2 diabetes is up to four times more likely in people of South Asian, African-Caribbean or black-African descent.
The reason for this is not entirely clear, but it has been suggested that the way the body processes and stores fat differs between different populations.
A pre-diabetes diagnosis can be a stepping stone for people, giving them time to change their lifestyle
But there are factors that we can control. Some people say that a pre-diabetes diagnosis is like & # 39; a fork in the way & # 39 ;. If early steps are taken to address the problem through lifestyle changes, it is possible to prevent type 2 diabetes from developing at all.
Being overweight, especially if you carry fat in your middle, is a risk factor that can be reduced by lifestyle changes.
I'm a good example. Seven years ago I discovered thanks to a random blood test at age 56 that I had type 2 diabetes. I was probably pre-diabetic for several years.
Instead of going on tablets, I was looking for an alternative solution. That's how I found out about intermittent fasting and invented the 5: 2 diet. I managed to get my blood sugar back to normal without drugs.
I was happy in many ways. There are indications that diabetes can be reversed by weight loss. It is extremely good news, because it means that thousands of people, if they lose weight, stop taking medication – this is usually accompanied by daily tablets, but also means self-administered injections of the hormone insulin.
One of the pioneers of this approach is Professor Roy Taylor of the University of Newcastle. I met Prof Taylor for the first time in 2014, shortly after I had managed to tackle my own problem.
His research has given us the closest answer to the question why type 2 diabetes develops: when we get older, fat visibly builds up around the abdomen, but also in the abdomen, where it infiltrates the liver and pancreas gland.
These two organs are responsible for monitoring our insulin and blood sugar levels. If they get clogged with fat, they stop communicating with each other. This leads to pre-diabetes and ultimately to type 2 diabetes.
We all have our own personal fat threshold – a tipping point that is partly due to genetics.
Your tipping point determines how much fat you can collect before it starts to & # 39; overflow & # 39; in the liver and pancreas, which leads to loss of control of blood sugar levels – first, it causes pre-diabetes and later diabetes type 2 itself.
Stop diabetes on its tracks with a low-calorie diet
The good news is that regardless of your personal fat threshold, if you remove the fat from your liver and pancreas, you can reverse the situation.
In my case, the 5: 2 diet and losing nearly 20 lb have been exactly the same.
But it turns out that one of the best ways to reverse pre-diabetes is with a rapid loss of 800 calories.
We know this thanks to a major study that was published in 2017. The trial involved 2,326 overweight men and women who all had pre-diabetes.
The volunteers were asked to follow an 800-calorie diet for eight weeks with the aim of losing eight percent of their body weight. In fact, most of them performed better than expected and lost 22 lb on average.
Along with this fat loss, they saw their cholesterol and blood pressure drop considerably, and nearly half of them managed to bring their blood sugar back to a normal, healthy level.
According to Dr. Mosley, a diet of 800 calories a day can see a body weight reduction of 22 pounds within eight weeks
The more weight they lost, the greater the chance that they would lose their pre-diabetes.
Professor Jennie Brand-Miller, from the University of Sydney, one of the main investigators, told me that although living on 800 calories can be difficult to begin with, most people adapt quickly and no longer feel hungry.
However, it is important to drink plenty of fluid to reduce the risk of headache and constipation.
It was encouraging, she said, that when the volunteers lost weight, they became more active, which added to the benefits.
So the message is clear. If you are over 40, overweight, and especially if you have a family history of diabetes, it is worth having your blood sugar measured.
You can buy a pre-diabetes test kit from chemists or online, or discuss this with your doctor.
If you already have diabetes, there are indications that a comparable eight to twelve week low calorie diet will also help. Visit my website, theblood sugardiet.com for more advice on this.
But it is of course much better to put diabetes on the pass and prevent it from ever becoming a problem.
On the following pages we'll show you how. You will find everything you need to know about pre-diabetes and also the very newest ways to treat type 2 diabetes yourself should it strike.
We spoke with & # 39; the world's leading experts about how nutrition plays a role.
And if you want to lose weight, we've made it easy by adding more than 20 delicious and simple low-calorie recipes.
Test to detect diabetes in your DNA
Imagine that one day you could predict your risk of pre-diabetes from birth. The knowledge could be life-changing because it would give people the opportunity to take preventive steps early. It can stop the disease that ever develops.
This may sound incredible, but scientists are involved in early research that could lead to a DNA test for the condition.
Researchers say it could be as simple as giving a blood sample that would be screened for the genes that make diabetes more likely. An international consortium of researchers, including those from the universities of Oxford and Dundee, are currently analyzing the DNA of hundreds of thousands of people who already have pre-diabetes or type 2.
By following them and seeing how their condition evolves, they hope they can identify common factors in their DNA.
This could indicate which people are at risk for pre-diabetes but not type 2, those who will inevitably switch from pre-diabetes to type 2, and those who not only get type 2, but who will soon become dependent on insulin .
It is crucial that doctors can not only find out who is most at risk, but also how they can best be treated.
Professor Calum Sutherland, from the University of Dundee, says: & # 39; In theory, we should be able to detect cases before symptoms occur, because the genes are there from birth.
& # 39; We are not there yet. But the Diabetes Prevention Programs & # 39; s are highly biased towards BMI measurements and many of those people may not get Type 2 in the next ten years. It means they take in resources that other people at higher risk can use. & # 39;
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