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Low cal diet puts Type 2 diabetes into remission

22 March 2016

New study highlights longer term effects of low calorie diet for Type 2 diabetes

Professor Roy Taylor, Newcastle University



A low calorie diet has been shown to put Type 2 diabetes into remission for at least six months – potentially even in those that have had the condition for up to ten years. That's the latest research published today by Professor Roy Taylor, Newcastle University, and colleagues.

Earlier work

In 2011,research funded by Diabetes UKand carried out by a team at Newcastle University showed that Type 2 diabetes could be put into remission using a low calorie diet. 11 people took part, and seven were free from the effects of diabetes three months later. 

The latest findings

This new study, involving 30 people with Type 2 diabetes, has shown that the beneficial results of the diet are still apparent six months later. Volunteers took part in an 8-week diet of 600 to 700 calories per day, consisting of shakes and non-starchy vegetables. They then gradually returned to eating normal food and received guidance on what to eat and how to manage weight for six months.

The diet and follow-up period was completed by 29 people, and all achieved a similar weight loss of around 14 kilograms. Out of those 29, 13 people had fasting plasma glucose levels of less than 7 mmol/L, which means that their Type 2 diabetes was in remission. The diet was therefore successful in around 40 percent of those involved. 

While the volunteers that responded to the diet were still overweight or obese, they had lost enough fat from their pancreas to allow normal insulin production. 

What's next?

The next step is to see whether the results hold up in a much larger, controlled trial, and check that a strategy like this can be delivered through routine NHS care. 

Dr Emily Burns, Research Communications Manager at Diabetes UK, says, “The idea that a low calorie diet could put Type 2 diabetes into remission is very exciting, and we’re pleased to see the results of this latest study adding to the growing body of evidence in this area. 

We’re looking forward to the results of Professor Taylor’s largerDiabetes UK-funded trial, complete in 2018. This trial is investigating the impact of the diet over two years, and will tell us how these strategies might work in a real-life setting, and who is most likely to benefit from them in the long-term.”

More information 

Professors Roy Taylor & Mike Lean: ongoing low calorie diet trial

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