There were a total of 298 people included in the trial who were divided into a standard care group and another group who half receiving a weight management programme through primary care.
The diet involved a liquid diet, with four meals averaging a total intake of just 850 calories per day, though each drink was nutritionally balanced to ensure that no adverse health symptoms developed. Once a certain amount of weight had been lost, participants were guided onto a solid food diet with the help of a dietician.
The results of the diet were extremely positive, with 86% of those individuals who lost 15kg or more putting their type 2 diabetes into remission.
Even in those who did not lose as much weight, the impact of the diet was still pronounced; 57% of individuals who lost 10 to 15kg of weight and 34% of those who lost five to 10kg achieved remission.
In the control group, only 4% achieved remission while, on average, participants on standard care lost a little under 1kg of weight.
Professor Taylor, lead researcher of the DiRECT trial, said: “These findings are very exciting. They could revolutionise the way Type 2 diabetes is treated. The study builds on the work into the underlying cause of the condition, so that we can target management effectively. Substantial weight loss results in reduced fat inside the liver and pancreas, allowing these organs to return to normal function. What we're seeing from DiRECT is that losing weight isn't just linked to better management of Type 2 diabetes: significant weight loss could actually result in lasting remission.”
The results posted by Taylor are only at an interim stage after one year, with the study continuing to follow individuals from the study for a further four years to determine the longer term effects of the approach.