We’ve examined the complexities of type 2 diabetes many times on The Proof, learning from experts from across the world. Today, I sit down with a scientist who has fundamentally changed our understanding of this disease: Professor Roy Taylor. As one of the most esteemed scientists researching nutrition and metabolic health, Professor Taylor offers an absolute masterclass in what causes type 2 diabetes and the path towards remission for those managing it.
“Take away the food, you take away [type 2] diabetes. So yes, there are other factors – but the simplicity underlying it all shines through in the sense of what we know: when push comes to shove, food is calling the shots.”
Professor Roy Taylor brings to the table not just his role as Professor of Medicine and Metabolism at Newcastle University but a track record of innovative research that has reshaped diabetes management. His pivotal 2011 discovery that type 2 diabetes could be reversed through the reduction of excess fat in the liver and pancreas sparked a transformation in treatment approaches, culminating in the implementation of the NHS Type 2 Diabetes Path to Remission programme. Beyond his clinical breakthroughs, Professor Taylor’s contribution to the prevention of diabetes-related blindness in the UK and his authoritative publications have made him an influential voice in the conversation around diabetes and metabolic health.
“Dietary composition matters, but if you were to ask me what’s the number one consideration, what’s the number one characteristic of a healthy diet, it’s to take in the amount of energy that your body needs from day to day and not to have excess year on year.”
In this episode, Professor Taylor unpacks the twin cycle hypothesis, offering clarity on the intricacies of type 2 diabetes, from its causes to personalised paths to remission. You will gain an understanding of the personal fat threshold and how it relates to diabetes risk, the critical role of fat accumulation in the liver and pancreas, and the actionable insights on weight loss and dietary habits that can lead to sustainable metabolic health.
Specifically, we discuss:
- Introduction to the Twin Cycle Hypothesis & Onset of Diabetes (00:00)
- Delving into the Twin Cycle Hypothesis: Diabetes Aetiology Explained (02:25)
- Risks Associated with High Blood Glucose Levels (14:08)
- Key Factors Causing Insulin Resistance in Muscles (20:53)
- Understanding the Personal Fat Threshold in Diabetes Onset (26:14)
- Assessing the Risk Factors for Developing Type 2 Diabetes (35:07)
- Preventative Measures Against Type 2 Diabetes (41:12)
- Are Conltinuous Glucose Monitors Beneficial for Non-Diabetics? (46:54)
- Investigating the Determinants of Body Fat Distribution (50:15)
- Summary of the DiRECT Trial: Examining the Twin Cycle Hypothesis with Roy Taylor (55:50)
- Effective Strategies for Type 2 Diabetes Remission (1:15:29)
- The Role of Diet Quality in Insulin Sensitivity Improvement (1:28:54)
- Examining the Link Between Protein Consumption and Type 2 Diabetes (1:36:18)
- Incorporating Exercise into Type 2 Diabetes Remission Plans (1:38:31)
- The Possibility of Eradicating Type 2 Diabetes Societally (1:49:03)
- Understanding the Reversal of Type 2 Diabetes: Current Insights (1:52:49)
- Final Thoughts: The Prospects for Diabetes Management (1:56:04)
It was an absolute honour to have Professor Taylor on the show for this conversation. As a pioneer and highly respected figure in nutrition and diabetes research, his insight offers unparalleled clarity into both the simplicity and nuance of this prolific disease. If you found this episode valuable, please make sure to pass it on to someone who may benefit from it.
Learn more about Professor Roy Taylor’s work at go.ncl.ac.uk/diabetes-reversal and read his blog on discovering the cause of type 2 diabetes. You can also read his books, Life Without Diabetes and Your Simple Guide to Reversing Diabetes, for more tools and education.
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More about Professor Roy Taylor MBE
Roy Taylor qualified in medicine at the University of Edinburgh, and is Professor of Medicine at Newcastle University. He founded the Newcastle Magnetic Resonance Centre in 2006 to develop innovative research techniques. Using these new techniques, in 2011 he showed that type 2 diabetes was a simple, reversible condition of excess fat within liver and pancreas. Subsequent he has clarified what causes type 2 diabetes and how it works. This has led to practical application in the NHS with the national ‘NHS Type 2 Diabetes Path to Remission’ programme now well underway.
Between 1986 and 2000, Professor Taylor developed the system now used throughout the United Kingdom for screening for diabetic eye disease, with major reduction in blindness due to diabetes across the UK.
He has published books in lay language explaining type 2 diabetes (eg ‘Life Without Diabetes’) plus training books on retinal screening. He has been invited to deliver named lectures including the 2012 Banting Lecture, the 2015 Harry Keen Lecture (Diabetes UK), the 2016 Samuel Gee Lecture (Royal College of Physicians of London) and Sir Robert W Philip Lecture of The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh 2021). He received the 2023 Robert Turner Award for Research Impact. Professor Taylor was made MBE in the King’s 2023 New Year Honours.