A marathon runner from Faringdon is taking part in a University of Oxford study to research the influence of diet on type-2 diabetes, after recently being diagnosed with the condition.

Tony Pidgeon, an avid marathon runner, is partaking in the University of Oxford's DIAMOND study.

The research, which is funded by the National Institute of Health and Care Research, focuses on whether a low-calorie and low-carbohydrate diet can set in motion a remission phase of type-2 diabetes.

Oxford Mail: Mr Pidgeon at his home in Faringdon with dog PoppyMr Pidgeon at his home in Faringdon with dog Poppy (Image: Tony Pidgeon)

Diagnosed with type-2 diabetes in 2021 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, Mr Pidgeon was gripped by feelings of isolation and anger.

The 55-year-old father of two, who has run 18 marathons worldwide, including in Tokyo, Chicago, and Brighton, dismissed the image of a typical diabetic patient.

He said: "I’m not particularly overweight, I’m incredibly active and have run marathons all over the world."

Upon proposal from a nurse at his GP surgery, White Horse Medical Practice in Faringdon, to participate in the DIAMOND study, Mr Pidgeon readily accepted, "hoping to feel more in control of his condition."

Oxford Mail: Mr Pidgeon running the Tokyo Marathon in 2023Mr Pidgeon running the Tokyo Marathon in 2023 (Image: Tony Pidgeon)

The rigorous low-carbohydrate diet implemented involves a caloric intake of 800 to 1,000 calories per day for the initial 3 months, with subsequent months involving dietary increases in protein, vegetables and high-fibre carbohydrates.

After embarking on the trial in October 2022, Mr Pidgeon is currently under monitoring by his GP, a standard protocol for diabetes management.

Off his medication during the trial and equipped with home-testing devices, Mr Pidgeon noted the dietary changes led to a drop in his blood pressure and blood sugar levels with no medication.

Following the trial, Mr Pidgeon's body showed considerable improvements.

With his blood glucose levels having diminished, he was able to steer clear from continual consumption of diabetes medication, metformin.

His weight dropped from 13st 4lbs to 11st 5lbs, and he is awaiting news on potential remission of his diabetes.

Dr Jadine Scragg of the University of Oxford, the researcher and trial manager of the study, said: “The DIAMOND study is novel in that participants receive a huge amount of support from their clinical team at their GP practice.

"They have monitoring to check their blood pressure and blood glucose levels are in a safe range as well as regular check-ins to make sure they are handling the diet adjustment well."

Mr Pigeon said: "There are benefits to taking part in research for yourself and it could be beneficial to other people too.

"I would recommend anyone consider taking part in studies because you never know how it might help you or society."

The results of this study are set for release in 2025.