We know that losing weight can reverse type 2 diabetes.
But so far no one thought when you started losing weight was crucial.
Now we know that the sooner you lose weight the better. Experts are saying you should lose weight as soon as you are diagnosed if you want to beat the disease.
Following a strict diet of 800 calories within a few years after diagnosis is more likely to cure diabetes than waiting longer.
The reason is that type 2 diabetes uncontrolled for more than three years can damage insulin-producing cells of the pancreas beyond repair.
A study by the University of Newcastle analyzed data from 298 adults who were diagnosed with the disease over the previous six years.
Participants, ages 20-65, ate only 825 to 853 calories a day between three and five months before moving on to a healthy diet.
Almost half (46%) of them were Type 2 free one year later, compared to only 4% who did not diet.
The study questioned why weight loss heals some patients, but not others.
The scientists analyzed 40 who were in remission and 18 who still had the condition.
They found that even when these patients had lost a similar amount of weight, some had gone into remission, but some still had diabetes.
Patients who entered remission showed early and continuous improvements in beta cell function, insulin-producing pancreatic cells.
After losing weight, beta cells from those in remission began to function properly, while they were not in those who still had type 2 diabetes.
This is where treatment time becomes crucial. On average, those who entered remission were living with her for a shorter time than those who still had the disease.
"Our findings suggest that the longer someone lives with type 2 diabetes, the lower the likelihood that their beta cell function will improve," said Professor Roy Taylor.
"The clinical message is clear: The new approach to effective weight loss should be advised for everyone with type 2 diabetes, especially at the time of diagnosis."
Dr. Elizabeth Robertson, director of research at Diabetes UK, said we now know why some people can put diabetes in remission, some not.
This is important news for one in every 15 people in the UK who have developed the condition.