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Weight loss could send diabetes into remission, scientists find

Weight loss might be more effective in achieving remission for Type 2 diabetes than traditional medical treatments, scientists have found. A new paper published in the medical journal The Lancet chronicles a three-year study of patients suffering from Type 2 diabetes, the version of the disease that manifests in adulthood, and found that 86 percent of participants who lost a certain amount of weight achieved remission from the disease, BBC reports.

Specifically, that 86 percent of patients came from the pool of study participants who lost 33 or more pounds. By comparison, just 4 percent of patients who used traditional treatment methods achieved remission, BBC reports. In total, nearly half of all participants who used a weight-loss treatment plan saw their diabetes enter remission.

The weight loss treatment required participants to stop taking medication and instead eat low-calorie liquid meals for three to five months, after which they would go on a diet approved by a dietician. Weight loss reduces fat buildup around the pancreas, the organ that regulates blood glucose levels, which the researchers found allowed diabetics to produce more insulin, thus lowering their blood sugar levels.

Patients who lost large amounts of weight had the highest rates of remission — the 86 percent mentioned above — but 34 percent of participants who lost between 11 and 22 pounds also achieved remission, as well as more than half of the patients who lost between 22 and 33 pounds. Doctors did warn, however, that the disease could return if patients do not manage their weight. Read the full study at The Lancet.