Today, nearly 9 percent of the world’s population suffer from type 2 diabetes. In the United States alone, as many as 29.1 million people have diabetes, of whom around 90 to 95-percent are afflicted with the type 2 variety. This life-threatening malady is caused by the accumulation of fat in the pancreas, which in turn prevents the organ from producing adequate amounts of insulin. While lifestyle changes are commonly believed to bring about significant improvements in patients, a new research suggests that losing as little as one gram of pancreatic fat can help reverse this metabolic disorder.
Conducted by scientists at UK’s Newcastle University, the study and its findings were recently published in the Diabetes Care journal, and was also presented at the 2015 World Diabetes Congress, held in Vancouver. The research centers on a clinical trial involving 18 type 2 diabetes sufferers and 9 healthy, disease-free individuals. The former group consisted of patients who have been living with the condition for an average of nearly 7 years. Using high-specialized MRI scan, the researchers measured the total amount of fat present in the pancreas of each participant.
As suspected, those with type 2 diabetes were found to possess increased levels of pancreatic fat. All of the 27 people were then made to undergo gastric bypass surgery to help facilitate weight loss. Eight weeks after the procedure, the scientists recorded the patients’ body weight and fat levels, once again. According to the researchers, all of them lost the same amount of weight – nearly 13-percent of their body weight as measured at the start of the study. While the quantity of pancreatic fat remained unchanged in the healthy participants, the people with type 2 diabetes were found to have lost around 1.2-percent of fat from the pancreas.
According to Roy Taylor, a professor at Newcastle University and the study’s leader, losing a single gram of pancreatic fat can actually help reverse the condition; a discovery that could pave the way for more efficient treatment and management of this serious metabolic disease. Taylor said:
For people with Type 2 diabetes, losing weight allows them to drain excess fat out of the pancreas and allows function to return to normal. So if you ask how much weight you need to lose to make your diabetes go away, the answer is one gram! But that gram needs to be fat from the pancreas. At present the only way we have to achieve this is by calorie restriction by any means – whether by diet or an operation.
Source: Newcastle University