AN "intensive" low calorie diet can drive the most common form of diabetes into remission, according to a study.

Almost 200,000 people in Scotland have Type 2 diabetes, which is linked to poor diet and excess weight and can lead to serious health complications like sight loss and amputation if not properly managed.

A new trial involving 300 people from Scotland and Tyneside suggests it is possible to put the condition into remission using an "intensive" diet programme delivered in primary care.

Around half of subjects experienced the health improvement after 12 months, without medication.

They include North Ayrshire woman Isobel Murray, 65, who lost more than 22kg and no longer needs diabetes medication. She said: "I was on various medications which were constantly increasing and I was becoming more and more ill every day.

"When the doctors told me that my pancreas was working again, it felt fantastic, absolutely amazing.

"I don't think of myself as a diabetic any more."

Almost 90 per cent of people who lost 15kg or more on the programme, which included a “nutrient-complete diet”, put their Type 2 diabetes into remission. The same was true for almost 60 per cent of those who shed 10-15kg achieved remission and 30 per cent of those who dropped five-10kg. Only four per cent of the control group achieved remission.

Researcher Professor Roy Taylor, from Newcastle University, described the results as "very exciting" and said they could "revolutionise the way Type 2 diabetes is treated".

Professor Mike Lean, from Glasgow University, who co-led the project, said: "Putting Type 2 diabetes into remission as early as possible after diagnosis could have extraordinary benefits, both for the individual and the NHS.

"We've found that people were really interested in this approach - almost a third of those who were asked to take part in the study agreed.

"This is much higher than usual acceptance rates for diabetes clinical trials. "

Diabetes UK will contribute another £300,000 towards the trial, which will continue with follow-ups for participants for up to three years to assess how cost-effective the programme is.

Dr Elizabeth Robertson, director of research at Diabetes UK, said: "We're very encouraged by these initial results, and the building of robust evidence that remission could be achievable for some people.

"The trial is ongoing, so that we can understand the long-term effects of an approach like this.

"It's very important that anyone living with Type 2 diabetes considering losing weight in this way seeks support and advice from a healthcare professional."