Published online first in The Lancet yesterday were the results of a major study that will turn diabetes management on its head. We have known for many years that type 2 diabetes occurs more and more commonly the more obese people become. Weight loss is key to reversing the condition, but instead we as a medical profession have discounted the ability of people with the disease to do anything for themselves and simply prescribed drugs to get the blood sugar down. Enter a group of academic GPs from the UK who undertook a major clinical trial, randomly allocating people with type 2 diabetes to treatment with intensive weight loss or simply usual care with sugar-lowering drugs.
Nearly half of the treatment group reversed their diabetes, so that by the usual diagnostic measures, they no longer had the disease. Only 4% of the usual treatment group reversed their disease. The researchers commented that losing weight through diet and lifestyle should be the focus of treatment, not as current diabetes guidelines recommend, using drugs.
The parallels with MS are very clear. Although the research base is not as strong with MS, the best available evidence to date suggests that diet and lifestyle have a key role in MS in preventing disease progression. Many people on the OMS Recovery Program have indeed reported reversal of their condition. While we await more robust evidence on which to base treatment guidelines for MS, there is no downside to embracing the diet and lifestyle program recommended here at OMS.