According to a new study from Britain, the most common form of diabetes─type 2─can be reversed by nothing more than a very low-calorie diet.

Professor Roy Taylor, head of the magnetic resonance imaging unit at Newcastle University in Britain, put 11 obese type 2 diabetic patients on a 600-calorie-per-day diet that included green, non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, asparagus and cabbage. The diet was followed for eight weeks.

Taylor noted that: “For many years, it has been assumed that type 2 diabetes is a life sentence.” However, his work proves that this is by no means the case. In fact, Taylor reported that, after only one week on the diet, every single patient’s fasting blood sugar had returned to normal.1

Ready for this? At the end of the eight weeks, the patients had lost an average of 33 pounds and had absolutely no signs of diabetes. How does Professor Taylor explain these results?

At the beginning of the study, MRI scans of the patients’ pancreases showed that they held an elevated level of fat, 8% compared with the normal 6%. Taylor believes that this extra fat impairs the ability of the pancreas to produce insulin. At the end of the study, fat levels in the pancreas were reduced to normal in each patient.

“We believe that this shows that type 2 diabetes is all about energy balance in the body,” Taylor said, “If you are eating more calories than you burn, then the excess is stored in the liver and pancreas as fat, which can lead to type 2 diabetes.”

Is such an extremely low calorie diet required to obtain these results? According to Taylor, he and his team used the 600-calorie diet to test a hypothesis. However, he said “What I can tell you definitively is that if people lose substantial weight by normal means, they will lose their diabetes.” Inspiring, no?

1 Diabetologia. 2011 Jun 9. [Epub ahead of print]