Reduced-calorie diet could beat diabetes in four months

Study found that a low-calorie diet helped eliminate insulin dependence

A new study announced this week suggests that an extreme, low-calorie diet could beat Type 2 diabetes in just four months.

According to a study presented at Chicago’s Radiological Society of North America this week, a low-calorie diet eliminated insulin dependence and reduced amounts of dangerous fats around the heart in obese patients with Type 2 diabetes — even better than any prescribed medication.

To reach their findings, a team from Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands analyzed cardiac function and pericardial fat (the fat around the heart) in 15 patients with Type 2 diabetes — including seven men and eight women. Subjects consumed a diet consisting of just 500 calories a day for four months. Changes in body mass index (BMI) were also measured.

“It is striking to see how a relatively simple intervention of a very low-calorie diet effectively cures Type 2 diabetes,” said lead researcher Sebastian Hammer in a statement. “Moreover, these effects are long term, illustrating the potential of this method. Lifestyle interventions may have more powerful beneficial cardiac effects than medication in these patients.”

While the results are promising, not all patients are eligible for this type of therapy, warned the researchers, adding that patients should consult with their doctors before beginning any type of reduced-calorie diet.

In another study announced this summer, scientists from Newcastle University in the UK enlisted 11 people with Type 2 diabetes in an eight-week diet, cutting their daily calorie intake to just 600 calories a day. Within a week, the volunteers’ blood sugar levels returned to normal. Within months after returning to a normal diet, seven of the 11 volunteers remained free of the disease.