x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Dieting to health

Many UAE residents suffer from Type 2 diabetes, but new research suggests dieting may be one way to kick the disease. And that's a recipe for healthy living.

Hundreds of thousands of UAE residents suffer from Type 2 diabetes. For as long as the disease has been diagnosed it's been considered a lifelong ailment. But new research, as reported in The National yesterday, suggests the disease may be tamed, in part, by following an extreme low-calorie diet.

Scientists at the UK's Newcastle University on Friday revealed that 11 people taking part in a trial reversed their diabetes by cutting their food intake to a mere 600 calories a day for two months. Seven remained free of diabetes three months later.

"To have people free of diabetes after years with the condition is remarkable - and all because of an eight-week diet," said Professor Roy Taylor, who led the study. While the news is undoubtedly welcome, caution is advised. This study targeted a very small sample and more information is needed before others should starve themselves to health.

That said, these are encouraging results. The UAE has the second-highest level of diabetes in the world, with a rate of 19.5 per cent, and all avenues in finding a cure must be explored.

But what happens when the two-months are up? Extreme diets might work briefly, but weight can return. Nonetheless, any person who has the willpower to keep their calorie count down to 600 a day surely deserves a healthy future (not to mention a hearty meal).