Learn about three ways that may put type 2 diabetes into remission: low-carbohydrate diets, low-calorie diets, and bariatric surgery
Type 2 diabetes is traditionally described as a progressive disease – without major lifestyle changes, A1C levels will gradually increase over time, and more medications such as insulin will be required to manage diabetes. Thus, people with type 2 diabetes are often surprised to hear that they may be able to “reverse” their diabetes or put it “into remission.”
Because reversal can imply a permanent cure, a more apt term for this topic might be “diabetes remission.” This generally means reducing A1C to the level of someone without diabetes (less than 6.5%) and either eliminating diabetes medications altogether or limiting medication to metformin.
While this is not be possible for everyone with type 2 diabetes, it is an exciting option for some. This article defines diabetes remission and discusses three evidence-based methods to obtain it:
- low-carbohydrate diets
- low-calorie diets
- bariatric surgery
We also share practical tips from a person with type 2 diabetes who has been on the remission journey for two years.
What exactly is diabetes remission?
Current scientific thinking suggests that weight loss is likely the driving force for remission in type 2 diabetes. According to one theory, the “Twin Cycle Hypothesis,” when extra fat is deposited in the liver due to weight gain, fat accumulates in the pancreas and impairs insulin-producing beta cells. Many believe that reducing fat in the pancreas through overall weight loss helps restore normal insulin production.