Newcastle Magnetic Resonance Centre

Reversing Type 2 Diabetes

Reversing Type 2 Diabetes and ongoing remission

Public Information

Hear all about from Professor Roy Taylor the 5 minute summary.

Our research has shown that:

  • Type 2 diabetes is caused by a small amount of excess fat inside the liver and inside the pancreas
  • It is a potentially reversible condition
  • If a person has type 2 diabetes, they have become too heavy for their own body (nothing to do with the arbitrary concept of obesity)
  • Weight loss of around 15kg is necessary for most people
  • People with type 2 diabetes yet a ‘normal’ body mass index have an excess of hidden fat and should aim to lose around 10% of body weight
  • This can be achieved using a simple 3-step method: the 1, 2, 3 of diabetes reversal
  • Type 2 diabetes is most easily reversed to normal in the early years after diagnosis
  • How and why type 2 diabetes happens can now be understood

Read a full account in the book ‘Life Without Diabetes’ (published 2020 by ShortBooks)
A shorter how-to-do-it description– ‘Your Simple Guide to Reversing Type 2 Diabetes’ (published 2021 by ShortBooks)

Read Richard Doughty's personal story Type 2 diabetes and the diet that cured me on the Guardian website, including a video interview of another personal story. You can also read an update from Richard, I reversed my diabetes in just 11 days, on the Mail Online.

Information for your doctor

Download our Information for Doctors (PDF: 227KB).  Even though doctors do not like downloaded information from the web, this comes from an internationally recognised diabetes research centre. It is now being put into practice by both NHS England and NHS Scotland. The American Diabetes Association recognises remission of diabetes as an appropriate aim of management.

NHS England takes the research forwards

As a result of the new understanding of type 2 diabetes, NHS England has conducted a pilot scheme to determine the most cost effective way of delivering remission of type 2 diabetes. In the first few thousand people, weight loss was a remarkable 10.3kg. This success led to the scheme being rolled out as a national programme throughout England. It requires referral from a general practitioner to join this 12 month programme. All participants have to be aged 25 to 65 years and diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in the last 6 years. At present, participants have to have a BMI over 27kg/m2. Full details are available on:


Publications relating to reversing diabetes can be found on this page.

The Shakes

The shakes can be found here

Preparing your own 800 calories per day diet is possible but challenging and time consuming. More information on this is given in the book ‘Life Without Diabetes’, including using milk as the basis for an easy method.  You can prepare your own fresh food version of an 800 calories per day using the book: ‘Carbs and Cals’ which has been produced in association with Diabetes UK.


All this work has depended upon a breakthrough in understanding.

We now know that type 2 diabetes is caused by excess fat inside liver and pancreas.

It all started with sudden coming together of research results from Newcastle and elsewhere. The Twin Cycle Hypothesis described how it might be possible to explain the cause of type 2 diabetes in a very simple way. Click here Reversing the twin cycles of Type 2 diabetes to read the description of this once the story could be told of what happened next. The highest scientific award from Diabetes UK – The Banting Lecture – was awarded for this, and this paper described what was said in the lecture, delivered at the Annual Professional Conference of Diabetes UK in 2012.

In 2008, Diabetes UK had given a grant to test the twin Cycle Hypothesis of the cause of type 2 diabetes. Proof of the hypothesis was published in 2011 as the study Counterpoint. The slides you will see on clicking the Counterpoint link show the data both from this, the most important study on what causes type 2 diabetes as well as the following study.

It was clear from that time onwards that type 2 diabetes is caused by too much fat building up within liver, then overspilling to the rest of the body - including the pancreas. This starts up a second vicious cycle inside the pancreas, with the fat actually switching off normal insulin production.

This second study – CounterBalance - showed that once the vicious cycles of type 2 diabetes had been reversed, the remission of diabetes was durable – as long as weight was not regained. Here is the scientific paper, published in 2016 in Diabetes Care: very low calorie diet and 6 months of weight stability in Type 2 diabetes

One of the most important discoveries is that of the Personal Fat Threshold. Type 2 diabetes is not caused by ‘obesity’. Different people have different levels of tolerance of fat within liver and pancreas. But if you have type 2 diabetes, you have crossed your ‘personal fat threshold’. This has been tested in the ReTUNE study which found that weight loss in people of normal or near normal BMI brought about exactly the same changes in liver and pancreas to that in heavier people. At an average threshold of 6.5% weight loss in this group of people with BMI 21-27, 70% went into remission. This was maintained throughout the one-year study on a normal diet but avoiding weight regain.

Your Personal Fat Threshold (PFT) can only be identified by weight loss. If you lose weight and go below your own PFT, type 2 diabetes is likely to disappear - providing that you have not had diabetes for too long. Most people can get back to normal in the first 6 years after diagnosis, but it is never too late to try. But even if remission of diabetes does not happen, less medication will be needed, and your health will improve massively. Importantly, you will also feel better.

‌Watch Professor Taylor's Newcastle University Public Lecture on reversing type 2 diabetes (4th November 2014).




Diabetes REmissions Clinical Trial – understanding why significant weight loss results in remission of Type 2 diabetes is at the heart of DiRECT.

Once we had shown that type 2 diabetes was a simple condition of too much fat inside liver and pancreas, we needed to move on to discover whether this knowledge could be used for routine treatment of the condition. Professor Roy Taylor collaborated with Professor Mike Lean, University of Glasgow to carry out the Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial (known as DiRECT). It showed:

  • One third of all people taking part were free of diabetes at 2 years.
  • Around three quarters of everyone who were in remission at 1 year stayed in remission at 2 years.
  • The group who embarked on rapid weight loss had fewer serious medical problems in the second year of DiRECT.
  • At 5 years, those who avoided weight regain continued to be in remission. Even though the whole weight loss group remained over 6kg below their starting weight, the majority did gain some weight. Despite this, the number of serious medical events was halved in the entire weight loss group.

DiRECT results: Direct results at 2 years (PDF: 627KB) full paper and the online DiRECT Appendix (PDF: 499KB) are now available. 

View details at:

Watch Professor Taylor’s interview: Has DiRECT and Type 2 diabetes remission gone mainstream? (Medscape, 8 March 2019) 

Media coverage and press releases:

Further information on the Hairy Dieters programme including experts' hints and tips and regular updates on the Hairy Dieters' progress can be seen on the BBC website. The programme promoted the University's aim to help us all live healthy, longer lives 

Recipies and meal plans are included in Professor Taylor’s book ‘Life Without Diabetes

Other sample recipes and meal plans (PDF: 385KB) have been devised by Alison Barnes, Senior Diabetes Dietitian, Newcastle University and Tom Crame, Dietitian Intern, Newcastle University.
Guoda Karoblyte, Human Nutrition placement student at Newcastle University has also devised some 'More vegetable recipes'.

More information on low calorie diets is available from the Diabetes UK website and the British Heart Foundation provide advice on weight loss.

Life Without Diabetes

Read the whole story of what happens to your food inside your body.  And how this understanding led to reversing the Twin Cycles of type 2 diabetes.

Foreward by Professor Sir George Alberti
A personal note: Dave Myers, Hairy Biker
How to use this book
1. What is type 2 diabetes?
2. Energy for life: the dual fual
3. How your body deals with food
4. Type 2 diabetes: a bad case of food poisoning
5. A murder mystery and the Twin Cycles
6. The Personal Fat Threshold
7. Escaping from type 2 diabetes
8. Enjoying life and staying away from diabetes
9. Don't be fooled


The book can be purchased from a number of online providers and bookshops from 26 December 2019.
It will also be available as audiobook (Narrated by Prof Roy Taylor) and e-Book version.

The book became a bestseller and is now also published in America and Australia/New Zealand. It has been translated into German and Dutch.

The following are suitable liquid replacement meals as described in Life Without Diabetes:

These all provide 200 calories per meal:

ExanteKee Diet and New You Plan.  Also suitable, when made up with skimmed milk, are Asda,GreatShape and Tesco, Ultraslim.

Life Without Diabetes explains everything you need to know about type 2 diabetes in simple language. However, a shorter description of how to achieve remission of type 2 diabetes is also available – ‘Your Simple Guide to Reversing Type 2 Diabetes’. 

Scientific Information

The information on this page is for doctors and scientists. It includes slides on various aspects of the reversal of Type 2 diabetes as well as published papers.

  • Newcastle research has established that type 2 diabetes is caused by excess fat in liver and pancreas.
  • If this fat is removed in the first ~6 years of diabetes, functional beta cell mass gradually returns to a completely normal level over 12 months in most people.
  • The immediate loss of fat from the pancreas following weight loss is from a labile pool, and this is observed only in those with type 2 diabetes and not non-diabetic people.
  • The small, irregular pancreas typical of type 2 diabetes returns towards normal volume, and returns to completely normal shape over 2 years of remission.
  • Provided weight loss is maintained, beta cell function does not decline over the following years.
  • The UK consensus definition of remission of type 2 diabetes is an HbA1c <48mmol/mol (<6.5%) off all diabetes medication, achieved by weight loss and maintained for 6 month

Download our slides on:

Further information

In 2008, we published the Twin Cycle Hypothesis to explain the cause of Type 2 diabetes. This hypothesis predicted that diet could entirely reverse Type 2 diabetes. Read the scientific review, Pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes (PDF: 471KB) on the US National Library of Medicine website.

The Counterpoint study designed to test the hypothesis was funded by Diabetes UK. The results were very clear. Weight loss averaging 15kg (2 stone 5lb) achieved over 8 weeks caused two distinct sets of changes. Within seven days, liver fat had fallen by 30%, liver insulin sensitivity had returned to normal and fasting blood glucose had become normal. By eight weeks, pancreas fat content had returned to normal and insulin secretion by the pancreas had returned to normal. Read the full scientific paper, Reversal of Type 2 diabetes (PDF: 195KB) and the related Newcastle University Press Release, Diet Reverses Type 2 Diabetes.

This new understanding of what causes Type 2 diabetes and how it can be completely reversed has been used by individuals worldwide, a report has been published documenting practical management of Type 2 diabetes in respect of reversal (PDF: 85KB).  A review describing the beta cell de-differentiation (PDF: 1081KB) explains why the condition is reversible. Under the endoplasmic reticulum stress caused by excess intracytoplasmic fat, the cell goes into a survival mode and switches off specialised gene expression. Removal of the fat permits re-differentiation.  Scientists and doctors with access to the journal Diabetes Care, can read a full review of the science underlying this matter: Type 2 diabetes: etiology and reversibility (PDF: 363KB). See the more recent reviews:  Diabetologia Review 2017 a discussion of practical aspects of achieving remission. The most recent reviews are in Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology and in Journal of Internal Medicine 

Professor Taylor was awarded the 2012 Banting Lectureship of Diabetes UK. Read his lecture Reversing the twin cycles of Type 2 diabetes (PDF: 543KB).

The pathophysiological basis of reversal of type 2 diabetes is described in 9 major papers:

  • Lim EL, et al. Reversal of type 2 diabetes: Normalisation of beta cell function in association with decreased pancreas and liver triacylglycerol. Diabetologia 2011; 54: 2506-2514. PMID 21656330.
  • Steven S, et al. Weight loss decreases excess pancreatic triacylglycerol specifically in type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care 2016 Jan;39(1):158-65. doi: 10.2337/dc15-0750.
  • Steven S, et al. Very low-calorie diet and 6 months of weight stability in type 2 diabetes: Pathophysiologic changes in responders and nonresponders. Diabetes Care 2016 May 39(5):808-15. doi: 10.2337/dc15-1942.
  • Taylor R et al. Remission of human type 2 diabetes requires decrease in liver and pancreas fat content but is dependent upon capacity for beta cell recovery. Cell Metabolism 2018. Aug 2. pii: S1550-4131(18)30446-7. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2018.07.003. Taylor et al Cell Metabolism 2018.
  • Rehackova L et al. Acceptability of a very-low energy diet in Type 2 Diabetes: patient experiences and behaviour regulation. Diabetic Medicine 2018. Nov;34(11):1554-1567. doi: 10.1111/dme.13426.
  • Taylor et al. Understanding the mechanisms of reversal of type 2 diabetes. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinology 2019. May 13, pii: S2213-8587(19)30076-2. doi: 10.1016.
  • Al-Mrabeh et al. Hepatic Lipoprotein Export and Remission of Human Type 2 Diabetes after Weight Loss. Cell Metabolism 2019. Dec 19,
  • Al-Mrabeh A, Hollingsworth KG. Shaw JAM, McConnachie A, Sattar N; Lean MEJ, Taylor R. 2-year remission of type 2 diabetes and pancreas morphology: a post-hoc analysis of the DiRECT open-label, cluster-randomised trial. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol 2020; Dec 8; doi: 10.1016/S2213-8587(20)30303-X.
  • Taylor  R, et al. Aetiology of Type 2 diabetes in people with a ‘normal’ body mass index: testing the personal fat threshold hypothesis. Clin Sci (Lond) (2023) 137: 1333–1346

Professor Roy Taylor’s Full CV

Prof Roy Taylor CV 2023