(NaturalNews) A new study claims that people with type 2 diabetes or who are suffering "pre-diabetes" symptoms can see their disease go into remission after a year of following an intensive diet and exercise program, but as usual, the mainstream media is stopping short of saying that the disease can be totally reversed.
Edward Gregg, the lead author on the report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told Reuters Health that one in nine people with diabetes managed to lower their blood sugar to normal levels, though he says complete remission remains rare (more on that erroneous statement claim later).
Gregg and his research team said the results of their study could give people with type 2 diabetes hope that with some lifestyle changes they might be able to get off medication and lower their overall risk of developing diabetes-related complications.
"Kind of a long-term assumption really is that once you have diabetes there's no turning back on it, and there's no remission or cure," Gregg said.
His research, however, "is a reminder that adopting a healthy diet, physically-active lifestyle and reducing and maintaining a healthy weight is going to help manage people's diabetes better."
Number of diabetics in U.S. growing as obesity increases
Despite its findings, Gregg said the team's study can't prove that their experimental program - which included group and individual counseling weekly, with progressively less frequent visits - directly led to improvements in blood sugar levels.
The primary intent of the research was to examine whether the prescribed course of intervention lowered study participants' risk of heart disease, a result that so far hasn't panned out.
The improvements in diabetic conditions coincide with better weight loss and fitness among people who participated in the program compared to a group that only attended a few annual counseling sessions, Gregg and his team reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Currently about 8 percent of people in the United States have diabetes, according to figures from the American Diabetes Association, but the incidence of the disease has been rising in recent years as the nation's obesity rate has gone up. Gregg's study followed 4,503 diabetics who were either overweight or obese.
Participants were randomly assigned to the program and took part in an intensive program of diet and exercise counseling, with a goal of cutting food intake back to between 1200 and 1800 calories per day while boosting physical activity to slightly less than three hours a week.
After a year, 11.5 percent of participants had at least some diabetes remission, "meaning that without medication their blood sugar levels were no longer above the diabetes threshold," Reuters Health reported. That level was much higher than the 2 percent of participants whose blood sugar levels significantly improve in the non-intervention group.
Is this old news?
Those who had diabetes for less time were more likely to achieve drops in blood sugar levels, as were those who lost more weight or had better fitness gains during the year-long study.
"Clearly lifestyle intervention is good for people with diabetes," Dr. John Buse, a diabetes researcher from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, told Reuters Health.
"The question is how cost-effective is it, what are the long-term consequences (and) how would it really compare with alternative approaches like bariatric surgery and drug therapy?" Buse - who was not involved in the study - said.
But how much of this latest research is truly groundbreaking?
Not much, according to Mike Adams, the Health Ranger and editor of Natural News.
Some years ago, he says, "I used to be borderline diabetic. I weighed 220 pounds, suffered from severe carbohydrate cravings, mood swings, and depression."
Those days are long gone. In his book, "How to Halt Diabetes in 25 Days," he explains techniques he used that were developed by researchers at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) and other California universities to reverse his condition.
"Changes in diet and moderate exercise actually reverse diabetes in at least 50 percent of patients in only three weeks," he says.