- Consuming a very low-calorie diet can reverse type 2 diabetes rapidly
- 1 in 3 Americans will develop type 2 diabetes by 2050
- The findings can aid in the development of novel drug targets to treat patients with type 2 diabetes
A very low-calorie diet (VLCD) can rapidly reverse type 2 diabetes in animal models. However, if proved in people can lead to the development of new drug targets for treating Type 2 diabetes, reveals a new Yale-led study.
Recent projections by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that by 2050, 1 in 3 Americans would develop type 2 diabetes. The study was published in Cell Metabolism.
Link between Low-calorie Diet and Type 2 Diabetes
The Yale-led research team focused mainly on understanding the mechanisms by which caloric restriction can rapidly reverse type 2 diabetes.
The effects of a very low-calorie diet (VLCD) that consisted of one-quarter the normal intake was investigated by the research team on a rodent model of type 2 diabetes.
New Approach Developed
A new stable (naturally occurring) isotope approach has been developed by the research team. Certain metabolic processes were tracked and calculated, which contributes to the increased glucose production in the liver.
A method called PINTA was used to perform a complete analysis of key metabolic fluxes within the liver by the research team. These metabolic fluxes could contribute to insulin resistance, and increased rates of glucose production by the liver, which are the two fundamental processes such as that cause increased blood-sugar concentrations in diabetes.
The research team used this approach and revealed three significant mechanisms, which are responsible for the VLCD's dramatic effect on quickly reducing blood glucose concentrations in the diabetic animals.
VLCD reduces glucose production in the liver by:
- decreasing the conversion of lactate and amino acids into glucose
- reduce the rate of liver glycogen conversion to glucose and
- minimizing fat content and improving liver's response to insulin
In just three days, the positive effects of VLCD were observed.
Gerald I. Shulman, M.D., the George R. Cowgill Professor of Medicine and Cellular and Molecular Physiology and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and senior author said, "Using this approach to comprehensively interrogate liver carbohydrate and fat metabolism, we showed that it is a combination of three mechanisms that are responsible for the rapid reversal of hyperglycemia following a very low-calorie diet."
The research team's next step would be to confirm if these results can be replicated in type 2 diabetic patients who are undergoing either a bariatric surgery or consuming a very low-calorie diet.
PINTA methodology in humans has already been applied by the research team.
"These results, if confirmed in humans, will provide us with novel drug targets to more effectively treat patients with type 2 diabetes," said Shulman.
Very low-calorie diet (VLCD) has extremely low daily food energy consumption and only 800 kilocalories (3,300 kJ) per day or less need to be consumed.
VLCDs are formulated, nutritionally complete and liquid meals, which also contain the required amounts of vitamins and minerals, trace elements, fatty acids, and protein.
Consuming a high-calorie diet can lead to many health issues including obesity, heart disease, and diabetes and can also reduce lifespan. However, restricting the intake of calories can extend life.
- Rachel J. Perry, Liang Peng, Gary W. Cline, Yongliang Wang, Aviva Rabin-Court, Joongyu D. Song, Dongyan Zhang, Xian-Man Zhang, Yuichi Nozaki, Sylvie Dufour, Kitt Falk Petersen, Gerald I. Shulman. Mechanisms by which a Very-Low-Calorie Diet Reverses Hyperglycemia in a Rat Model of Type 2 Diabetes. Cell Metabolism (2017).