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A CHEF has reversed his diabetes diagnosis with the help of the Operation Transformation team.

Michael Casey agreed to be the first person in Ireland to try a diet developed in Newcastle University.

It had previously been trialled on 16 people - with 13 reversing their condition.

So over eight weeks the 43-year-old followed an extremely low-calorie diet under the medical supervision of diabetes specialist Professor Gerald Tomkin.

And after two months and a loss of almost four stone Michael, who was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, is back to full health - although he said it wasn't easy.

Speaking on RTE Radio's John Murray Show yesterday, he added: "It's been unbelievable the change in my appearance in such a short space of time.

"In eight weeks I am just a different person. I started off at 18st 5.5lbs and now I am 14st 8lbs. That's a loss of 49.5lbs.

"Now I realise I let myself go and with diabetes I ignored it. Thankfully I got the chance to reverse it and now I am a healthier person."

Michael followed a diet of 800 calories a day over the eight weeks - no mean feat considering he was working with food while trying to ignore his hunger pangs.

He said: "I had two shakes during the day - sometimes in the morning I would have two at once and that would keep me going until dinner time.

"And then I would have a salad, a soup or a stir fry, all dry. They had no additives and no oils.

"I could have salt and pepper or herbs so I used my cooking skills to create some nice flavours."

He added as a chef he was used to putting sauces and butter or cream in his food but instead he spiced it up using natural ingredients.

The Co Cavan man said: "It wasn't easy.

The worst time was when I started off.

"In the beginning I felt like I had a hangover all day for days on end that wouldn't go away. Then there was the temptation of hunger - all day, everyday I was working with food so it was in my hands. That was a big challenge."

Prof Tomkin added the fact Michael managed to stick to the diet and lose so much weight was a huge achievement.

He said: "It is very difficult and I was amazed Michael could do it. He did tremendously well."

The chef will now be put on a 1,200 calorie-a-day diet and Prof Tomkin said Michael's story will provide hope to others.

But he added people suffering from the condition shouldn't try the diet without medical supervision.

And a Diabetes Ireland spokesman said: "The positive impact which his weight loss has had on his type 2 diabetes is remarkable. Scientific evidence has proven the benefits of weight loss for overweight people."

The spokesman added people with the condition who want to try to lose weight should contact their diabetes team to work out a plan to meet their needs.

800 The number of calories a day Michael was allowed over an eightweek period under the medical supervision of a diabetes expert


NOW NEw 3 MAN Michael Casey after losing almost four stone hAppY J FAMILIES Michael with wife Gillian, children and RTE host John Murray PUTJ TO THE TEST Michael with Gillian and Prof Gerald Tomkin THEN DANGERS 3Michael before the diet
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUIR
Date:Feb 15, 2012
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