A radical TV experiment has revealed that it may be possible to reverse type 2 diabetes and its risk to sufferers’ health in just four weeks.
In The Fast Fix: Diabetes, which airs on ITV tonight, a team of doctors challenged five patients to overhaul their lifestyles by surviving on a mere 800 calories a day.
Doctors tested their weight, liver fat percentage and glucose levels prior to and after the experiment, before challenging them to survive on four 200 calorie shakes a day.
The experiment appeared to pay off, as one participant had no symptoms of the condition after four weeks by reducing his liver fat percentage from 27.5 to 7.5, while others successfully reduced their glucose levels.
Surviving on such a low calorie diet – just 200 calories more than the level considered to be starvation – came with a range of side effects including constipation and loss of energy.
However, the programme seemed to prove that its possible to reverse the condition that puts patients at risk of complications such as heart attacks and losing limbs, which could save the NHS hundreds of billions in the long run.
Twenty per cent of the NHS budget every year is spent on treating diabetes.
In The Fast Fix: Diabetes a team of doctors challenge a group of five people with type 2 diabetes to reverse its symptoms
The ambitious experiment tested whether it was possible to cure type 2 diabetes with diet and weight loss alone.
The group lived in a house in the Sussex Downs where they were cut off from temptation and motivated to help each other through the process.
Dan was the show’s biggest success story, as he started the experiment with liver fat percentage that was 10 times higher than the the normal range.
In just four weeks he got it down to just two per cent above the recommended level, as well as losing 9.5kg and reducing his glucose levels from 5.9 to 4.7
The experiment was difficult and caused the participants to be constantly cold, constipated and lose their energy
The participants must live on 800 calories a day in the form of four 200 shakes to get their nutrients
The food made presenter Anita Rani retch when she tried it before the experiment began
Dan was thrilled, saying: ‘It’s amazing how fast the fix has been and it’s amazing how fast the body can repair itself if you let it.’
What is type 2 diabetes?
- Type 2 diabetes is a condition which causes a person’s blood sugar to get too high.
- Over 4 million people in the UK are thought to have some form of diabetes.
- Type 2 diabetes is associated with being overweight and you may be more likely to get it if it’s in the family.
- Excess fat in the liver increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes as the buildup makes it harder to control fasting glucose levels, and also makes the body more resistant to insulin. Weight loss is the key to reducing liver fat and getting symptoms under control.
- Symptoms include tiredness, feeling thirsty, and frequent urination.
- It can lead to more serious problems with nerves, vision and the heart.
- Treatment usually involves changing your diet and lifestyle, but more serious cases may require medication.
Source: NHS Choices; Diabetes.co.uk
The group got their vitamins and nutrients from four 200 calorie shakes a day, which made presenter Anita Rani retch when she tasted one.
Professor Jason Gill, a leading expert in the condition, said: ‘People used to think diabetes was irreversible but recent research suggests this is not the case. This is a fantastic opportunity to test this in a controlled setting.’
Luke wasn’t the show’s only success story, as all of the participants managed to improve their health on their new diet.
Luke, 30, had the highest glucose levels in the group at 14.6 but managed to drop down to 4.7, a transformation Dr Zoe Williams called ‘incredible’.
Jenna, 29, had the second highest glucose levels in the group at 12.34, but dropped to 8.1
Her liver fat percentage went from 12.1 to 4.2, which was the lowest in the group.
Steve, 55, had double the risk of a heart attack because of his weight and diabetes but managed to lose 8kg in the experiment, as well as reducing his glucose levels from 10.4 to 6.3..
Tracey, 48, lost 6kg in the experiment and lost a third of the fat in her liver after she’d piled on weight following a battle with post natal depression.
The experiment will continue in the next episode when the participants will be sent home and asked to continue their diet without the help of motivation from the doctors.
The programme is to prove that it is possible to reverse the symptoms of the condition
The Fast Fix: Diabetes airs on ITV at 9pm tonight