Type 2 diabetes, a prevalent global health condition affecting millions of people, may be reversible through lifestyle changes such as adopting a low-calorie diet, according to some experts. However, the sustainability of these changes remains a topic of debate. Type 2 diabetes is primarily caused by excess weight or obesity, leading to insulin resistance. Weight loss has been shown to improve glycemic control, prompting many treatment options to focus on lifestyle changes, including dietary modifications. A low-calorie diet typically involves consuming between 1,000 and 1,500 calories per day, creating a calorie deficit that leads to weight loss. By maintaining a consistent 500 to 1,000 calorie deficit, individuals can lose 1 to 2 pounds per week.
Studies have provided evidence that following a low-calorie diet can lead to long-term remission of type 2 diabetes. Diabetes remission is defined as maintaining normal blood sugar levels for at least three months. Research has shown that an intermittent very-low-calorie diet can help achieve optimal glycemic control, and some participants in a study were able to place their diabetes into remission for at least eight years after following a very low-calorie diet.
Dr. Roy Taylor supports the idea that a low-calorie diet can lead to lasting remission of type 2 diabetes. He referred to the Twin Cycle Hypothesis, which suggests that a low-calorie diet can decrease fat content in the liver, improve insulin response, normalize glucose output from the liver, and reduce the raised output of fat from the liver. This metabolic stress removal can awaken insulin-producing cells, leading to remission. However, a low-calorie diet is not suitable for everyone. People who are not overweight should not lose more weight, as it may result in the loss of lean body mass, and those with high blood glucose levels or other complications may require additional treatments.
The long-term adherence to a low-calorie diet poses challenges in real-life situations. The difficulty of avoiding high-calorie options in restaurant meals and convenience foods, as well as the social aspect of eating, should be considered. Sustainability of a low-calorie diet depends on reducing the right types of calories and maintaining satiety. Cutting calories from carbohydrates while still consuming healthy protein and fat can make the diet more sustainable. A lower carbohydrate diet, such as the Mediterranean diet, may be a more sustainable and beneficial option for diabetes management.
In conclusion, a low-calorie diet may offer a potential path to remission for type 2 diabetes, but it may not be suitable for everyone. The sustainability of such a diet and the importance of considering the types of calories consumed are crucial factors to consider. A personalized approach, guided by healthcare professionals and registered dietitian nutritionists, can help individuals make informed decisions about their dietary choices and improve their overall well-being.