His best selling book ‘The Fast 800″ can be found on many bookshelves throughout the country, and the world, advising readers to combine rapid weight loss and intermittent fasting for long lasting health. And now, Dr Michael Mosley, UK Science Journalist, has teamed up with Exercise Physiologist, Ray Kelly, to raise awareness about type 2 diabetes through a new documentary series, “Australia’s Health Revolution”.
The program aired on SBS and is also available on SBS Demand (Set up a free account to sign in). In the first episode, Michael and Ray talk about spreading a message of hope – namely that “type 2 diabetes is a preventable and reversible disease.” But what does Diabetes Australia have to say about diabetes remission? Medical experts generally agree that diabetes has the potential to go into remission (defined as a return to normal blood glucose levels without the use of glucose lowering medication) but can return (1).
Not a one size fits all disease
Coinciding with the airing of the series, Diabetes Australia – along with other peak bodies – published a position statement on type 2 diabetes remission. To read their complete statement, please follow this link. The statement emphasises that the onset of type 2 diabetes is not “one size fits all”. In some cases, the development of diabetes may be linked to lifestyle and environmental factors such as poor diet and low levels of physical activity; but is also affected by non-modifiable factors such as family predisposition, age and other medical conditions.
Breaking the stigma
Many people with chronic conditions feel the weight of stigma and shame about their condition, which adds to their burden of disease. Describing type 2 diabetes as a “lifestyle disease” fuels an overly simple narrative. People living with type 2 diabetes can also be active and of healthy weight.
Setting realistic expectations for remission
Diabetes Australia state, “…It is important to recognise that achieving and sustaining remission may not be possible for everyone”. Their position paper goes to report that, “While type 2 diabetes remission through intensive dietary change is possible for some people, the evidence shows that … even with the best resources … remission is not sustainable for two thirds of people who attempt it (2)”.
Whether remission is achieved or not, the health benefits of improving blood glucose levels by regular activity and eating well are significant and reduce the risk of diabetes-related complications (2). As well as increased insulin sensitivity, people with diabetes who are active and eat well also enjoy other benefits such as reduced cardiovascular risk factors, increased muscle strength, and improved well-being
Want to learn more?
If you are interested in finding out more about how you can improve your diet or be more physically active for better health, please contact us on Tel 3443 2586 and book a visit with one of our trusted health professionals with diabetes expertise.
Penny Oxby, Dietitian and Nutritionist
- Riddle MC, Cefalu WT, Evans PH, Gerstein HC, Nauck MA, Oh WK, et al. Consensus report: definition and interpretation of remission in type 2 diabetes. Diabetologia. 2021;64(11):2359-66.
- Diabetes Australia. Position statement: Type 2 diabetes remission 2021 [Available from: https://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2021_Diabetes-Australia-Position-Statement_Type-2-diabetes-remission.pdf.
- Colberg SR, Sigal RJ, Yardley JE, Riddell MC, Dunstan DW, Dempsey PC, et al. Physical Activity/Exercise and Diabetes: A Position Statement of the American Diabetes Association. Diabetes Care. 2016;39(11):2065-79.