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Can’t fit into your college jeans? You could be at risk of Type 2 diabetes, UK study warns

Small trial conducted on 12 people, who were put through a weight loss programme, indicates that diabetes is not caused by obesity but by being too heavy for one's own body.

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New Delhi: People who suffer from Type 2 diabetes can reverse the condition by losing some inches off their waist, even if they are not overweight, according to a new study.

The research, presented at the Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD), found that contrary to what was earlier believed, people of normal weight with Type 2 diabetes (T2D) can reverse the condition through substantial weight loss.

In a small trial conducted by Roy Taylor, a researcher at the Newcastle University in the UK, eight of the 12 participants achieved remission after losing 10-15 per cent of their body weight.

This was despite the fact that their body mass index (BMI) already fell in the normal weight range.

The weight loss helped reduce the levels of fat in the liver and pancreas, which helped restore the activity of the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.

“As a rule of thumb, your waist size should be the same now as when you were 21. If you can’t get into the same size trousers now, you are carrying too much fat and therefore at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, even if you aren’t overweight,” Taylor said in a statement.

According to the researcher, the study supports the theory that each person has a “personal fat threshold”, a level of body fat one can cope with.

If this threshold is breached, people will develop Type 2 diabetes even if their BMI falls within the normal range.

Taylor said that doctors tend to assume that Type 2 diabetes has a different cause in those who are not overweight. As a result, such people are usually not advised to lose weight before being given diabetes drugs and insulin.

“Instead, there’s a tendency to start them on insulin and other medication at a much earlier stage,” Taylor said.


Also read: Overeating isn’t making you fat, it’s the other way round, new study claims


Study specs

For the study, 12 men and women with Type 2 diabetes and of normal weight followed a weight loss programme in which they consumed 800 calories a day for two weeks, followed by four to six weeks in which they received support to maintain their new weight.

They completed up to three rounds of this diet/weight maintenance cycle until they had lost 10-15 per cent of their body weight.

Their results at the end of the study were compared to people without diabetes who were matched for age, sex and BMI.

Scans showed that the average amount of fat in the liver fell from 4.4 per cent (more than twice as high as those who did not have Type 2 diabetes) to 1.4 per cent

Fat in the pancreas fell from an average of 5.1 per cent to 4.5 per cent.

In eight of the 12 participants, diabetes went into remission.

“These results, while preliminary, demonstrate very clearly that diabetes is not caused by obesity but by being too heavy for your own body. It’s due to having too much fat in your liver and pancreas, whatever your BMI,” Taylor said.

In the liver, this excess fat prevents insulin from working normally. In the pancreas, it causes the beta cells to stop producing insulin, he further explained.

(Edited by Manasa Mohan)


Also read: Grazing, gorging or skipping — This is what’s better for weight loss


 

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