Type 2 diabetes in diabetics who are obese may respond in a positive and significant way to a low calorie diet, according to a Nov. 28, 2011 article on Sciencedaily.com. In addition to this good news, these diabetic patients may experience better heart function as well.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that more than 25 million Americans are known to have diabetes. The CDC estimates that another 7 million Americans may be diabetic and not know it. Between 90 and 95 percent of all diabetes cases in the United States are type 2 diabetes.
Research from the Department of Radiology at Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands suggested that lifestyle changes may trump medication in instances of obesity combined with type 2 diabetes.
Dr. Sebastian Hammer, MD, PhD, and lead author of the study, reported that heart function for 15 participants who were obese and suffering from type 2 diabetes, improved after 16 weeks of a calorie-restricted diet. He also said that even when weight was regained, the cardiovascular improvements remained.
The study made use of a cardiac MRI, which illustrated the transformation that took place. Fat compartments changed. Alterations took place structurally within the heart. Diastolic function was enhanced, though systolic function remained the same.
Diastolic heart function is the time in the heart beat cycle where blood is filling the ventricles. When diastolic heart function is inadequate, congestive heart failure may result.
The diet was a mere 500 calories a day. On average, after 16 weeks, the body mass index (BMI) of the participants of the study dropped from 35.3 down to 27.5 according to a Nov. 29, 2011 article on Usatoday.com. This took them down below the obesity mark of a BMI of 30. On average, pericardial fat dropped from 39 milliliters (ml) to 31 ml.
Hammer reported that the need for insulin had disappeared very quickly when on the diet. In fact, insulin was no longer needed by any of the participants from the day the study began and blood sugar levels dropped significantly.
Fourteen months later after participants were no longer on the low calorie diet, on average, BMI rose to 31.7. Pericardial fat increased only to 32 ml. And after 18 months, most of the study's participants still did not need insulin.
While this is a very small study of only 15 people, it is noteworthy that even though the test subjects didn't stay on this very low-calorie diet, the benefits from that short time continued.
Restricted Calorie Diet Improves Heart Function in Obese Diabetics. Nov.28, 2011. Retrieved. Nov. 30, 2011.
Study: Low-cal diet cuts fat around heart in obese people. Nov. 29, 2011. Retrieved. Nov. 30, 2011.
Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
Very low-calorie diet improves diabetic heart function. Theheart.org. Retrieved. Nov. 30, 2011.