Very-low-calorie diet benefits for obese diabetics

Tue, 29 Nov 2011
Research by scientists in the Netherlands has shown that patients with type 2 diabetes that are also obese could benefit from a very-low-calorie diet.

The study, carried out at Leiden University Medical Centre, involved seven men and eight women who were suffering form type 2 diabetes and categorised as clinically obese. It found that when the patients ate only 500 calories per day over a four-month period, their body mass index (BMI) was reduced from an average of 35.3 to that of 27.5.

The findings, which were presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, also revealed that their insulin dependence was eradicated and that their visceral fat levels around the heart fell from 39ml to 31ml on average. It was argued that type 2 diabetes patients who are obese would benefit from a 16-week very-low-calorie diet, as it would improve heart function over the long term.

Sebastiaan Hammer, who led the study, commented "It is striking to see how a relatively simple intervention of a very-low-calorie diet effectively cures type 2 diabetes mellitus."

He added "Moreover, these effects are long-term, illustrating the potential of this method."

The findings are timely, with the NHS stating that there are around 2.8 million people in the UK affected by diabetes, and a further one million who could have the metabolic condition without knowing it.

500 calories per day is an extremely low calorie diet and should only be attempted with medical supervision.
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