Global study finds weight loss could be key for tackling pre-diabetes

A global Preview study has revealed a new formula for reversing pre-diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes is the world’s fastest growing chronic disease and is linked to the increasing number of overweight people. One in 16 people (3.9 million) in the UK are thought to have diabetes, both diagnosed and undiagnosed. That figure has more than doubled since 1996 and by 2025 it is estimated that 5 million people will have the condition.

This global Preview study, the largest trial of its kind, has seen eight nations collaborate to investigate the best ways to tackle this growing epidemic.

2,300 people with pre-diabetes committed to an eight week Cambridge Weight Plan formula diet of 800 kcal per day alongside regular, controlled exercise. The results saw obese people cut their diabetes risk, and experts say the risk could fall by 90%, with just a 10% loss in body weight.

The subjects undergoing the formula weight loss course lost on average 10.8%, or 10.7 kilograms of their initial average weight, which was 99 kilograms. They were then randomised into groups to study the impact of high and low exercise and diets based on high and low protein and high and low glycaemic index diets, over two years.

These findings come on the back of recent studies which have shown that weight loss and maintenance is the key part of diabetes prevention programmes, and that the more weight lost, the greater proportion of people stay diabetes free.

These preliminary results, coupled with evidence from other studies, means experts are confident that the 10.8% weight loss from the formula diet, if maintained, would be expected to be associated with a 90% reduction in diabetes risk over three years.

The link between keeping people diabetes free for longer through healthy lifestyles was demonstrated in the US Diabetes Prevention Program (US DPP) which showed that people’s risk of diabetes fell by 10% for each percentage point of weight loss at six months and a 2015 study of older Japanese men revealed that it takes substantial weight loss to stay clear of diabetes.

Achieving normal blood glucose levels by six months is also known to be key, and experts are linking this to losing enough weight and fat mass to deplete the excess fat in their liver and possibly their pancreas in order to improve insulin sensitivity and help the beta cells recover.

Experts will hear the findings presented at the European Obesity Meeting in Sweden on June 1st.


2,913,538 people currently diagnosed with diabetes.


183,348 people currently diagnosed with diabetes.

540,000 people could be at high risk of developing diabetes.


271,312 people currently diagnosed with diabetes.

According to current trends by 2035 more than 480,000 people in Scotland will be living with diabetes.

500,000 people in Scotland are at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Northern Ireland

84,836 people currently diagnosed with diabetes. A further 1,100 children and young people under 17 are now known to have Type 1 diabetes.

Prevalence in the Northern Ireland population is now over 4 per cent.

There are also an estimated 12,000 people who have diabetes but have not yet been diagnosed.



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