Maintaining a healthy weight is not just about fitting into a certain dress size or achieving a desired appearance. It goes far beyond that. Research has revealed a profound connection between weight loss and the improvement, and in some cases, the eradication of symptoms of diabetes and other metabolic-related illnesses. The practical implications of these findings are nothing short of groundbreaking, offering hope and a new perspective on the power of weight loss in transforming our health.
Struggling with metabolic disorders, such as type 2 diabetes (T2D), can be overwhelming and frustrating in its entirety. Patients have to constantly monitor their blood count and take medication, follow a medically prescribed diet and, in some cases, lose excess weight, which is not always easy given the existing condition.
Latest research show that there is a solution for those in need to get rid of extra kilos and improve their overall health, as evidenced by a study on diabetes conducted by Professor Mike Lean from the University of Glasgow and Adjunct Professor of Medicine at the University of Otago, and a related practical weight loss method implemented by French firm Groupe Ethique & Santé, known as “Rééducation Nutritionnelle Psycho-Comportementale” (Nutritional Psycho Behavioural Reeducation), or RNPC.
Excess weight and metabolism
Diabetes and excess weight are two sides of the same metabolic disorder. The presence of fatty tissue is a dangerous factor that results in blocking the flow of insulin to the muscles and liver, even if the patient’s pancreas is functioning normally. As a result, the healthy metabolic processes fail to start, and the patient’s glucose level rises – which makes the link between diabetes and overweight obvious, says Professor Lean: “The pathological process of type 2 diabetes is in fact the same pathological process of fat accumulation.” A similar relation is true for other metabolic disorders, where the excess weight triggers physiological and psychological changes, and results in a pathology.
The process works the other way round too. Professor Lean’s study confirms that there is a correlation between losing excess weight and improvement and even complete disappearance of diabetes symptoms, at least in the initial stages: 70 per cent of the study participants were in remission with >15kg loss at 24 months. At that, the need for significant weight loss was highlighted as one of the crucial issues. Two or three kilos is not enough, says Professor: “There’s now inescapable 100% positive evidence that a very substantial weight loss, at least 10 kilograms ideally, and, in many cases 15 or even 20 kilograms, will reverse the disease process and reverse its clinical consequences.”
The traditional dieting approaches often fail to achieve the magnitude of weight loss even for healthy people. For those with diabetes, however, or who are advised to lose weight for other medical reasons, the goal becomes even more difficult to attain because of the individual characteristics of the condition. Recognizing the unique challenges faced by individuals with diabetes in achieving weight loss, Professor Lean has developed weight loss recommendations specifically for patients with metabolic pathologies.
The recommendations take into account the individual characteristics of the condition and aim to overcome the specific obstacles that patients with medical complications may encounter. The clinical evidence gathered after experimental implementation of these recommendations in different T2D populations showed substantial weight loss, sufficient to clear ectopic fat from the liver and pancreas, as the cornerstone for management of T2D. The weight management strategy is now clinically validated and is implemented in the RNPC programme by Groupe Éthique & Santé.
Assisted weight loss for better health outcomes
The French group founded the RNPC® Centers network, which currently has about centres across France and specialises in weight loss assistance. The clinics use the therapeutic approach of the same name, incorporating the recommendations of Professor Lean and others, all supported by strong scientific and quantitative evidence. A distinctive feature of the programme is the close collaboration between the patient’s primary care physician and the nutritionist to ensure that the person under care receives tailored solutions and address specific health concerns. “RNPC’s Programme is not just a simple diet; it is a therapy of its own that should be prescribed by doctors, just like a drug or a medical aid”, explains Rémy Legrand, President and founder of RNPC’s network. “This is why we require the patient to provide us with a recent medical check-up at their first appointment at the center”.
Medical data, as well as information obtained during the interview process, enables the RNPC professionals to gain a comprehensive understanding of the patient’s excess weight history, lifestyle, and dietary habits. This information is then utilized to create and implement a personalized therapeutic approach which begins with a rapid weight loss phase, as recommended by Professor Lean. Here, Professor warns that radical weight management interventions demand close monitoring of medical tests results, such as blood glucose, and adjustment of related approach. Taking this into account, the RNPC clinics organize regular checks with the attending physician, and monitor blood and urine counts as well as creatinine, adjusting the individual strategy as the patient progresses.
After the initial rapid weight loss phase, the program transitions to five stabilization phases. These are necessary to prevent the main problem identified in Professor Lean’s study, namely, long-term maintenance of the attained weight loss. To address the problem, the RNPC uses a specific nutrient distribution protocol, based on another research called the Diet, Obesity and Genes (Diogenes) Dietary Study. Throughout all phases, the patient continues to be monitored by a doctor and a nutritionist and is counseled on all physiological and psychological issues to achieve his/her weight loss goals and improve the overall health outcomes.
Post-treatment results are consistent with outcomes from Professor Lean’s study, as well as other research, says Rémy Legrand: “68% of patients who had a metabolic syndrome before starting the programme had it resolved by weight loss, and 78% of patients who had a high risk of metabolic steatohepatitis had it reduced with the weight loss.” For further confirmation, scientists from the University of Copenhagen and Groupe Éthique et Santé conducted a separate targeted study of 12,179 overweight or obese patients treated in 54 RNPC centres. The study showed positive results for both weight loss and long-term weight loss maintenance, without detrimental effect on body composition. These outcomes suggest a promising avenue for achieving sustainable weight loss and better metabolic disorders management. They also provide RNPC patients with the tools and support they need to attain their weight loss objectives and enhance their overall health results.
Erik Jackson has been a senior editor at Health News Tribune for three years. Fluent in French and proficient in Spanish and Arabic, he focuses on diseases and conditions and the newest trends in medicine.