RESEARCHERS in the North- East have made a “remarkable” discovery that the most common type of diabetes can be reversed by an extremely low calorie diet.

The study by Newcastle University scientists could revolutionise the way people with type two diabetes are treated.

In the trial, 11 people with type two diabetes were able to “cure”

their illness and produce their own insulin again after drastically cutting their food intake to only 600 calories a day for two months.

Three months later, seven out of the 11 remained free of diabetes.

Type two diabetes is a longterm condition caused by too much glucose, a type of sugar, in the blood. It affects 2,500,000 people in the UK.

Professor Roy Taylor, from the university, who led the study, said: “To have people free of diabetes after years with the condition is remarkable – and all because of an eight-week diet.

“This is a radical change in understanding type two diabetes. It will change how we can explain it to people newly diagnosed with the condition.

“While it has long been believed that someone with type two diabetes will always have the disease and that it will steadily get worse, we have shown that we can reverse the condition.”

Research revealed today at the American Diabetes Association conference transforms thinking on diabetes.

It demonstrates that people on an extremely low calorie diet can remove fat that is clogging up the pancreas, allowing normal insulin secretion to be restored.

Traditionally, it has been thought that type two diabetes can be controlled by diet initially, then tablets, but may eventually require insulin injections.

Under medical supervision, 11 people who had developed diabetes later in life were put on a diet of food drinks and nonstarchy vegetables.

They were matched to a control group of people without diabetes, then monitored for eight weeks.

After only a week, their prebreakfast blood sugar levels had returned to normal and fat levels in the pancreas had reduced.

Their pancreas also regained the ability to make insulin and as a result, blood sugar after meals steadily improved.

The volunteers were then followed- up three months later, when they had returned to eating normally.

Gordon Parmley, 67, from Stocksfield, Northumberland, said: “At the end of the trial, I was told my insulin levels were normal and after six years, I no longer needed my diabetes tablets.

“Still today, 18 months on, I don’t take them. It is astonishing really that a diet – hard as it was – could change my health so drastically.”