Professor Roy Taylor of Newcastle University has presented to
the European Association For The Study Of Diabetes
(EASD 2017) in Lisbon a body of evidence that suggests
that type 2 diabetes is reversible.
In the talk he highlighted how his research has revealed that
for people with Type 2 diabetes:
- Excess calories leads to excess fat in the liver
- As a result, the liver responds poorly to and produces too much
- Excess fat in the liver is passed on to the pancreas, causing
the insulin producing cells to fail
- Losing less than 1 gram of fat from the pancreas through diet
can re-start the normal production of insulin, reversing Type 2
"I think the real importance of this work is for the patients
themselves," Professor Taylor says. "Many have described to me how
embarking on the low calorie diet has been the only option to
prevent what they thought - or had been told - was an inevitable
decline into further medication and further
ill health because of their diabetes. By studying the
underlying mechanisms we have been able to demonstrate the
simplicity of type 2 diabetes."
Get rid of the fat and reverse Type 2
The body of research by Professor Roy Taylor now confirms his
Twin Cycle Hypothesis - that Type 2 diabetes is caused by
excess fat actually within both liver and pancreas.
This causes the liver to respond poorly to insulin. As insulin
controls the normal process of making glucose, the liver then
produces too much glucose.
Simultaneously, excess fat in the liver increases the normal
process of export of fat to all tissues. In the pancreas, this
excess fat causes the insulin producing cells to fail.
Counterpoint study which was published in 2011, confirmed
that if excess food intake was sharply decreased through a very low
calorie diet, all these abnormal factors would be reversed.
The study showed a profound fall in liver fat content resulting
in normalisation of hepatic insulin sensitivity within 7 days of
starting a very in people with type 2 diabetes.
Fasting plasma glucose became normal in 7 days. Over 8 weeks,
the raised pancreas fat content fell and normal first phase insulin
secretion became re-established, with normal plasma glucose
Keep the weight off and keep the diabetes at
"The good news for people with Type 2 diabetes is that our work
shows that even if you have had the condition for 10 years, you are
likely to be able to reverse it by moving that all important tiny
amount of fat out of the pancreas. At present, this can only be
done through substantial weight loss," Professor Taylor adds.
The Counterbalance study published in 2016, demonstrated
that Type 2 diabetes remains reversible for up to 10 years in most
people, and also that the normal metabolism persists long term, as
long as the person doesn't regain the weight.
Professor Taylor explained the science behind the mechanisms:
"Work in the lab has shown that the excess fat in the insulin
producing cell causes loss of specialised function. The cells go
into a survival mode, merely existing and not contributing to whole
body wellbeing. Removal of the allows resumption of the specialised
function of producing insulin. The observations of the clinical
studies can now be fully explained."
He added: "Surprisingly, it was observed that the diet devised
as an experimental tool was actually liked by research
participants. It was associated with no hunger and no tiredness in
most people, but with rapidly increased wellbeing. The 'One, Two'
approach used in the Counterbalance study was a defined two phase
The Phase 1 is the period of weight loss - calorie restriction
without additional exercise. A carefully planned transition period
leads to Phase 2 - long term supported weight maintenance by modest
calorie restriction with increased daily physical activity."
This approach consistently brings about 15kg of weight loss on
A further study in general practice, the Diabetes
Remission Clinical Trial (DiRECT) funded by Diabetes UK is now
underway to determine the applicability of this general approach to
routine Primary Care practice with findings due before the end of
You can read more of the DiRECT study here -