Starvation Is No Diabetes Cure

You probably saw the news. Scientists and journalists are saying a two-month starvation diet has “cured” or “reversed” Type 2 diabetes in 11 people. Actually, there were some benefits, but nothing close to a cure. What can we actually learn from this study?


Well, the first thing we learn is that many people are totally ignorant when it comes to the temporary nature of weight-loss benefits. The second thing is that journalists will hype scientific results far beyond what the studies actually show.

In this study, 11 people with Type 2, and a similar number of controls, were placed on a 600-calorie-a-day diet. They ate only liquid diet drinks with non-starchy vegetables like broccoli. Their insulin sensitivity and the fat content in their livers and pancreas were monitored, as well as their blood sugar levels.

The study was done at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom and sponsored by the charity Diabetes UK. To quote their press release:

After just one week…[subjects’ fasting] blood glucose levels had returned to normal… A special MRI scan…revealed that the fat levels in the pancreas had returned from an elevated level (8%) to a normal (6%) level. In step with this, the pancreas regained the normal ability to make insulin and as a result, blood glucose after meals steadily improved.

The starvation diet lasted two months, after which, “The volunteers were returned to eating normally but had received advice on portion size and healthy eating.” Three months later, 7 of the 11 people with diabetes still had normal blood glucose levels. One man was quoted as saying he still did not need any diabetes medicines after 18 months.

This research was presented at the American Diabetes Association’s scientific sessions in San Diego and published in the journal Diabetologia.

The theory behind the starvation treatment is that fat stored in the pancreas interferes with insulin production. Studies in mice and humans have shown that fat in the pancreas can damage beta cell function and the cells themselves. Lead researcher Roy Taylor, MD, said that “the very low-calorie diet reduced the amount of fat in the pancreas and liver, which allowed insulin production and function to return to normal.”

How does he know that, though? Reducing pancreatic fat could have caused the improvement, but maybe the beta cells just had less to do and were able to keep up. Or maybe lower glucose levels allowed the beta cells to function better. On 600 calories a day, you would need very little insulin.

And even after returning to a reasonably healthy diet, fat and muscle cells will be gobbling glucose and fat to refill what they’ve lost. This process can go on for weeks or months, so blood glucose levels will stay low until the fat deposits are back where they started.

Dr. Taylor said he got the weight loss idea from looking at the results of bariatric surgeries. As we’ve reported before, some of these people virtually wake up from surgery with their diabetes in remission. Why? Dr. Taylor thought it might be that rapid weight loss was de-fatting the pancreas and liver, improving insulin function. He wanted to replicate the crash weight loss that bariatric surgery patients experience to see if nonsurgical dieters could get the same results.

This reasoning seems illogical, because even after bariatric surgery, it takes a little bit of time to see significant weight loss. But the diabetes remissions often occur right away. A more likely explanation is that reconfiguring the intestines enables normal insulin function, as we discussed here. The rapid weight loss might contribute, but it’s not the whole story, or even most of it, in my opinion.

What’s the bottom line? It looks like excess pancreatic fat is bad for you, and possibly getting rid of it would be good for your diabetes. But we know that weight regain is the norm. Dr. Taylor himself said the real challenge is figuring how to keep the pancreatic fat off.

So the best thing one can say about the starvation treatment is that it could jumpstart the recovery process by helping people regain better insulin function temporarily. Then if they self-manage extremely well, they might be ahead of where they would have been if they hadn’t starved. But the more likely outcome will be that most of the starvers will regain the weight they lost and more, because that’s how bodies respond to dieting. And some of that fat will probably end up in the pancreas.

After three months of being “cured,” four of the eleven subjects have relapsed. In another six months, probably another four will have relapsed. Hopefully, one or two will stay diabetes free, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

Maybe this study was worth a try. I just wish scientists like Taylor wouldn’t self-promote and health journalists wouldn’t sensationalize. I mean, this is a study of 11 people for three months, and they’re announcing a cure? Read all such announcements with serious skepticism.

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  • calgarydiabetic

    There is no doubt the a hypocaloric diet makes blood glucose better nearly immediately. While I was loosing weight on a 1400 calorie/day diet my BG was only slightly too high but after loosing 85 lb I had to stop loosing weight and resume an isocaloric diet. The BG jumped up immediately before any fat was regained and I had to fight with the doctors (they are very insulin resistant) to go on insulin.

    So from my narrow viewpoint I think David is reading this correctly. The very low calorie diet which BTW may be very low carb also since it is very low everything does immediately relieve the pancreas and does permit more normal blood sugars.

    A cure hardly.


    I see a lot of comments concerning type 2 diabetes and failure in weight loss attempts. Here is my free advice for what it is worth:

    I exercise pretty regularly walking between 15 to 30 miles per week and was still not losing any significant weight. I still had that pot belly but firm everywhere else (Classic Syndrome X) The solution lies in your lifetime eating habits. The South Beach Diet is such an eating plan. There is a restriction of carbs for the first 2 weeks. But it is definitely not Atkins which can put a diabetic’s already compromised kidneys at greater risk.

    If you can replace most (not all) rice, potatoes, pasta, keep your bread to 1 or 2 slices a day with BEANS as your source of starch you will see results.

    It is happening to me. I eat a tremendous amount of nuts as a snack and after the first 2 weeks eat a moderate amount of fruit (particularly low glycemic ones like blackberries blueberries, oranges, apples and mosty summer fruits (but not too much watermellon). I also try to eat a lot of vegetable and salads with regular, not “diet” dressings. Protein sources are your own choice.

    Weight Watchers is another choice but I find it too difficult to weigh foods or measure portions. Also, with diabetics, it may contain too many carbs.

    SO do some research on South Beach and also look at the many recipies developed for the plan. It is working for me. I have lost my craving, for the most part, of the bad carbs.

  • Beth

    Huh? Why is this being reported as news? Back in the late 1980’s very low calorie diets were a sort of a fad for treating type 2 diabetes (but then it was called Type II). Here is the abstract of an old journal article I found easily by Googling “diabetes very low vcalorie diet”:

    Notice all the articles at the bottom of the page that reference this one!

    So why is this considered news? Don’t the people 50 and older remember this?

  • Natalie Sera

    Sure, starvation cures Type 2! I really doubt there were any Type 2’s in the concentration camps! Of course, they were in very poor condition, and dying regularly, but not of Type 2 diabetes!

    What perturbed me about this study is that it was very short-term, and had a high drop-out rate. In other words, it was not practical for the average person.

    And while it is true that in primitive cultures where no one gets much above starvation rations, there is no Type 2 diabetes, but we just can’t live that way in our modern society.

    I would like to see more research into all the various things that go wrong in order to produce obesity, and efforts made to correct them, rather than simply blame and shame the fat person.

  • Bob

    I ahve been type 2 for about four years now. My sugar went to 8000 and I was put on intensive insulin therapy in the hospital. When I was released I walked 1200 miles in 6 months, ate a strict diet of protein and veggies, and was taken off all diabetic medication (4 shots a day to nothing at all) in 6 months.

    I have continued to eat a lower carb diet (even that has been relaxed a bit over the years, but my number are still less than 100 to 110 three and a half years later.

    I have put weight back on however my numbers have stayed normal.

    I do not consider myself cured, I consider myself as living with a condition that if not monitored will be right back to where it was. However if I keep monitoriing myself and do not increase my weight any further, (I would like to take off weight again), I should be able to stay off medication for a good time to come. But I am not cured.

  • tbdent

    Reply to Gary Cohen – oranges have a very high glycemic index )according to the charts I’ve seen), and watermelon has a low index (much to my surprise).

  • apple japonica

    Societies in which people eat mostly unprocessed
    vegetables, fruits, grains, some nuts & seeds &
    10% or less animal & dairy products tend to have
    very low incidence of type 2 diabetes, heart disease & other chronic diseases, which are common
    in people who eat the standard American diet. I recently saw a PBS TV presentation on nutrition by
    Dr. Joel Fuhrman (Dr.Oz refers patients to him for
    help with nutrition problems). I was impressed by
    his concept of the importance of nutrient density
    per calorie & the use of the Aggregate Nutrient
    Density Index for rating various categories of food.I read his 2 book set “Eat for Health” & watched several of his videos on You Tube – example – “Nutrient density per calorie” & “Disease proof your child”. He explains micronutrient/phytochemical -rich leafy green & multicolored vegetables & suggests eating home made vegetable stews, salads,seeds & nuts, blended smoothies & sorbets. I also suggest book “The China Study” &

  • jim snell

    This all shrinks back to some key factors:

    a) you have old hunter gatheror gene set not the new fangled 35% of population who can eat the super carbonydrates and high fructose sugars.

    b) you need to be on the mediterranean diet and get off the dense carbohydrates.

    c) you needs tons of exercise that folks on this old gene set had to expend getting sufficient calories.

    Starving is not issue when you have leaky liver in make sugar mode all the time dumping in extra glucose. I had horrible time getting weight down even on 1200 to 1500 diet until I got my liver nailed with the metformin drug taken so as to boot liver back to fasting mode.

    I really wish folks would knock off the simplistic one answer solves all.

  • Mike Ellingson

    On Sept. 21, 2011 I went in for my regular check up & blood test. Later that day I got a call telling me I am diabetic and my fasting glucose was 172 and A1c was 8.1. As soon as I got off the phone I googled “Diabetes Cure” and found the UK study. I thought I can do that… so from then on, for the next 8 weeks I starved myself. The first week I lost 10 pounds and my fasting glucose went down to 77! After the 8 weeks I did an A1c and it went down to 5.4 and I am getting normal daily glucose numbers that I was checking before I ate, an hour after I ate and 3 hours after I ate. I lost a total of 36 pounds in 8 weeks and did it all on my own. I have done a few “tests” where I eat high surgar foods such as orange juice with English muffin and Strawberry Jam. After an hour my glucose jumped to 144, but another hour it came down to 98 and another hour after that was back in the 70’s! I keep a paper and pen in my pocket at all times and write down the exact time I eat and exactly what and how much I eat. If anyone would like to see my records and notes, email me and I will email you a copy. My email address is [removed]

  • Margaret

    The above poster is correct about “leaking livers”. This diet may still work if the liver has fatty deposits that can be removed through diet and exercise, however if a liver is damaged through means other than fat deposits, ie. hepatitis, NAFLD, HSV-2, etc. a diet wont cut it. Damaged livers leak sugar into the blood. Thats why “dawn phenomenon” occurs. There is evidence to show that the liver is self-repairing, but depending on the degree of damage or the progression of such viral liver attacks it may be forseeable that regardless of what a diabetic eats they may progress even from oral medications such as metformin to insulin. I have a very difficult time explaining to people that firstly, not everyone with type 2 diabetes is over weight and lastly, that root of a diabetics’ problems can be the liver and not the pancreas.

  • Michael

    I am fed up with your people every time there is hope to get rid of this terrible desease you smash it down. Sufferers want rid of diabetes and they want it now. Every desease has a cure if we did bit know it. Ther seems to be almost glee anytime something doesn’t work. No folks we ahve got you and eventually you will die from it. Don’t fight it don’t try and cure you don’t have a chance. Thanks for nothing. This is a big industry maybe it doesn’t want a cure. Fed up.

  • David Spero RN

    Michael, after you try the starvation cure and see what happens for a couple of years, please get back to us. In the meantime, if you’re looking for a cure, check out my blog entry “Can Type 2 Be Reversed?”

  • jim snell

    The frustration expressed is valid.

    Presently the science and technology used to sort out a multi hormone complex chemical plant is in the dark ages with nobody agreeing on anything aince they do not have technology to capture the detail and provide a clear detailed picture medical science can agree on. Hence the jumble of competing theories and ideas. All partially right and all partially wrong.

    Jumping on Taylor is in appropriate. AT least he is applying some 21st century gear to work on and surface some newer information.

    The numbers of cases and rate of increase all point out WE ARE NOT SOLVING this issue and in fact running on spot or worse.

    provide a list of latest technology that has advanced our knowledge:

    a) single shot – instant in time lab tests for chemical analysis
    b) fingerprick caveman machines
    c) cgms with one week ( 2 for some)sensors delayed interstitial response with assorted gronks.
    d) mri cmenical spectography but limited and very expensive.


    We do not yet have a portable analysis pack that can watch and analyze data from the body for 24/7 for 3 days so we get detailed package of what is actually going wrong/right through multiple digestion cycles/sleep/exercise etc.

    In fact the starvation diet is really a misnomer as these diets are attempting to haul back the claorie input more consistent with minimum needs and getting glucose saturation of the skeletal muscles stopped – hauled back and getting body running again.( which while there is MRI spectography showing the temporay glucose storage in skeletal muscles – not one dam donkey agrees such things exist or its correct impact in causing insulin resistance as body downgrades the insulin receptor sites of the muscles to reduce glucose transfer when no more room to store any more.)

    The problem is that diet, energy burn, liver operation and hormonal issues all factor into the puzzle and it may not be possible to pick 2 factors and work those and be successful. If they are the only offending factors one can have more straightforward success working those.

    In my case my liver completely swamped my 1200 calorie diet and 2 miles walking.

    I never starved on my 1200 calorie diet.

    The hooting and hollering is serving no one at this time as well as the heat seeking missle targeting a single search for simplistic overall cure approaches while ignoring the complexity and operation of the human chemical plant due to lack of sufficient diagnostic gear to facilitate better debugging.

  • harvinder

    my hba1c is 8.2 fbs 230 weight 58 kg june
    with glimped+met fbs 90 august2012
    witout medicine fbs 70 september

  • ladye

    There is a large percentage of the population for whom eating 600 calories a day will indeed reverse diabetes. The drug companies that would prefer to sell you ways to alleviate your symptoms will do everything to make sure you don’t believe that. But we (fat Americans) have created an entire industry for type II diabetes. Poor countries don’t have this disease. And for all you religious zealots out there, this IS THE DEFINITION OF GLUTTONY. When you stop eating more than you need to survive, this will become self evident.

    Imagine that – you eat less, spend less money on food, there is no longer a need for expensive prescriptions.

    I am 130 pounds 5’8″ and I’m starting to try intermittent fasting. We didn’t get here over the last few hundred thousands of years shopping at the grocery store. Your brain makes new neurological connections when you are hungry because it thinks you have to get creative to find food. So on top of everything else you’ll be smarter, too.

    Seriously people get off the couch and stop eating too much.

    • Mash

      India a ‘poor’ nation has high numbers of diabetics…

      • valeriekeefe

        Genetic predisposition matters. Fijians tend to enter a diabetic state at a much lower BMI than Europeans for example.

  • Indira

    Well I am recently diagnosed diabetic and was given 6 weeks to change my lifestyle. I was never an over eater and my body weight was normal.
    But I was asked to loose weight. I ate only minimum of starch prior to diagnosis and the dietician suggested I eat a snack of grapes or a cup of milk which induced G spikes in my blood.
    I bought a BLG self check meter and monitored my postprandial levels to determine what I can eat to maintain normal Fasting levels. I found out I can’t eat any starch, nothing at all and even vegetables supposedly low GI. I have to narrow my food intake to fish, leafy veg, nuts coconuts and a glass of vine. Now the fasting BGL are normal but I doubt that I can go back and eat whatever I was eating prior to the diagnosis. If I am cured from this strict diet I should be go back to what my normal diet was right. But I have noticed even slightest intake of veges increase my BGL. So, the study proves strict diet can bring down the FBG levels, but not a cure. Cure to me is I should be able to go back to my normal diet. So what I am doing is eating as little as possible to accommodate the insulin I have and I have to stick to the diet for the rest of my life. Not just that eventually I might not have enough insulin at all to overcome the problem, and might need to take medication.
    It is apparent that some articles just indicate diabetes can be cured. If diabetes can be cured then the pancreas must go back to normal just like a common cold or any other disease, and secrete normal levels of insulin, muscle glucose uptake should be normal and we will be living happily ever after. Unfortunately, we need to exercise to get rid of glucose in the blood, or to facilitate uptake of glucose by muscles, eat only foods that has minimum GI value to accommodate insulin levels and eat a bit more good fats to increase Glucogen activity. However I am still looking for the cure that people are talking about so I can go back to my normal diet with no medication.

    • Lena Lena

      it is the fat in the pancreas, have you ben listening?!

  • David Spero RN


    It certainly sounds like some injected insulin would make your life easier. With your weight and your diet, if you had anywhere near enough insulin, you would not be having these spikes. If you can manage your numbers with the diet you are on, and if you can stay with it, that’s great. But if this is not something you can keep doing for life, ask your doctor to be checked for LADA, and consider insulin.

  • jim snell

    Indira raises some very good questions.

    In my view and experience, whne one goes on the tight diet 600 calories/1200 calories; I believe there is a mistaken view that this is a cure and one can go back on the ole diet afterwords. Nope.

    WHat one is doing from where I sit is to drop energy input to body to drop glucose overload and saturation and then very carefull increase diet but to ensure maintaining energy balance on the body. The old diet was loading in too much energy and now one has to run to keep energy balance and keep from backing in too much glucose that if one is not burning off by sufficient exercise/energy burn, the body ‘s only recoarse is to store the glucose that leads to recreating the problem.

    The work CURE is inappropriatly used. Stopping the diabetes and rot yes. Eating as one used to and surviving it – do not think so.

    Even from Dr. Taylor’s work and even from bariatric surgery work at my local hospital – they start the patient at 600 calories and very carefully prevent the high calorie eat anything mentality or one loses all the benefits.

    Most clearly, once one has the body running again under proper numbers; energy balance MUST be followed with sufficient exercise energy burn.

    I heard from Dr. Taylor’s groups and people who did this diet approach had to maintain tight diet calorie input control, exercise and discipline or the bad numbers returned. That does not mean one stays at 600 calories but also means one does not jump to 2000 calories either.

  • nona

    The author of this article misrepresented the study to make it sound less impressive than it is. Agreed, it was a small sample – but why dismiss out of hand the evidence that a calorie-restricted diet can lead to huge improvements and – yes, in some cases – a cure of type 2 diabetes.
    Why not give it a try? Surely a healthier option than relying on medication!

  • Pranabh Jain

    I have also got rid of diabetes from last 2 years by extreme starvation for 2 months,weight loss of 20% of body weight and then maintaining low weight.
    My diabetes H1BC was 80 and now I am eating sweets and full diet and no diabetes.Thogh I go for a daily walk now for 2 kms.
    The fat on deposits on pancreas and liver help to get normal for a long term.
    The morning blood gulcose levels from 9-10 which should be under 6 are generally beteen 4.5-5.

    I think Dr. Taylor’s groups reseach was very worthwile and f and I also got rid of diabetes based on the this research.

    Though I also drinked lot of green juices while on extreme diet along with Yoga.

  • David Spero RN

    Thanks for sharing your story, Pranabh. It now seems that Dr. Taylor’s very low calorie approach works for some people. He told me that he has received many letters like yours.

    However, for many other people, like Calgary Diabetic who commented above, the benefit doesn’t last.

    I’ve come to think it’s worth a try, if you’re physically and mentally up to it.


  • jim snell

    Missed point about starvation diets.

    The critical issue missed in all this is that starvation/reduced diets are critical and necessary initially to get excess glucose stored in body burn off and exhausted out. It is a rational step in the process of yanking a type 2 body that has been running over saturated/overloaded with glucose for long periods of time.

    My read is that is accomplished, calorie levels can be slowly and safely brought back up to weight maintenance levels.

    The constant niggling over simplistic simple step control approaches hides the science of the issues of getting a body whose glucose levels have been running excess and too high for too long.

    Been there, got it under control and it can take a horrendous effort of meds, diet, exercise and discipline to yank a body back in control.

    For those who only need an exercise increase, some simple diet/portion control to gently reduce numbers, I agree starvation diets do not make any sense or little sense.

  • Alison Bamford

    It’s only starvation if you have no bodily fat reserves. Whilst there are fat reserves on the body eating less food than the body needs, or even drinking just water is Fasting. Fasting and starvation are not the same thing. Fasting helps to clear the body of unwanted fat stores (usually acquired by the conversion of excess carbohydrate), toxins, debris, cellular waste, tumours, etc.

    During Fasting, the body goes into Ketosis, very efficiently burning its own fat reserves for fuel. It is a very ancient and very tried and tested remedy for cleansing and healing the body. When we eat ‘normally’ we are in an Anabolic state. During Fasting (as in during the night when digestion is finished) it enters Catabolism.

    Anabolic is a ‘building up’ of the body, whereas Catabolism is a ‘breaking down’. Unfortunately, in this day and age, very few people get to sleep early enough for the body to be in Catabolism long enough for the cleansing, repair and healing mechanisms to work properly. It is often in an Anabolic state most of the time.

    To go through Fasting regimes several times per year helps to clean the body of stuff that is clogging it up, and get things working far more efficiently. Not cleaning the body is like never getting rid of all the rubbish, leaving it festering in corners in the house…..

    • Eowyn Wundolf

      Fasting,not eating food.starvation,not eating food.No matter how you call them they are still the same thing.The only difference is that fasting can be controlled(sometimes).They are also people who claim they fasted with some “fasting guru’s” and almost died.So here you go.I am not completely against fasting,but I don’t see other benefits other than just weight loss,”cleansing” and many others are just pseudoscience myths.If fasting would be the cure for so many things,everyone would try it already.

  • valeriekeefe

    4 of 11 is 36%, and considering the larger study showed a reversal rate in the low 60%’s, that’s a negligible relapse-from-remission rate. It is true that you may actually need to lose the weight (Taylor says 1/6th was generally acceptable, which for someone with a BMI of 30 means 25, 35 means 2 and keep it off, but more likely, just as with the authors of the Fast Diet, Western eating habits typically don’t produce the kind of medium-term severe caloric deficits we used to have.

    The body draws on organ fat and subcutaneous fat first, which is why Fois Gras ducks have to be constantly overfed to produce the much-sought-after fatty liver. It’s also how regular consumption of beverages that free up fatty acids (the compounds in question processed directly by the… you guessed it, liver) such as coffee and green tea, are associated with reductions in diabetes out of all proportion to their effects on weight.

    This also explains the association between intermittent fasting, fast diet, and other sharp, short, caloric restriction diets and improved insulin sensitivity (widely discussed references to studies showing impaired tolerance measure the first meal after a fast, which is when the body is notoriously bad at processing sugar, not to mention they’re done on non-obese premenopausal cis women, a perfect storm of minimized positive effects of fasting due to the very low subcutaneous fat content)

    Also, the study’s caloric allotment is 800 calories a day, not 600. 600 came from meal replacement shakes (I’m not sure why they didn’t go with protein shakes and up the vegetable content for improved quality of carbohydrates, but whatever, I think it’s because they wanted to show people that they could, as you put it, use the food on the shelves to improve fasting glucose. Replace the protein shakes with chicken breast, rice, and broccoli, and you’ll be doing just that, though ease of compliance is always important in dieting.) and the remaining 200 from soups and green vegetables.

  • I don’t get this article…this is not starvation, it is a calorie restricted diet.

    I don’t get why so many nutritionists can’t handle what physics tells about how our body works off calories.

    Any method that creates a calorie deficit will work to treat diabetes, obesity (or anything other negative health condition caused by calorie excesses)….this includes low calorie diets and exercises than burn lots of calories.

  • T Hal

    With all due respect to Mr. Spero, he is neither a medical doctor nor a biomedical scientist, though I recognize he’s a registered nurse. At best this article is speculative to me. The restrictive caloric diet seems to have improved patient outcomes. Until the author of the current opinion piece produces his own peer reviewed study that corroborates an alternative hypothesis to Dr. Taylor’s low-calorie intervention-superior fat mobilization-improved pancreas function hypothesis, I don’t see a strong enough reason to doubt that indeed low calories, perhaps together with significantly low fat and low starch/sugar intake, in particular, can significantly improve diabetes type 2 outcomes. I hope enough other researchers carry out experiments to see if their teams can reproduce the results discussed above, and to clarify the causal mechanisms involved.

  • Tonyruthie

    There’s a good reason people travel on air planes especially business people. To get there faster when time is money or family obligation can be met with less hardship of time. Every other day fasts, 600 calories each day restricted diets, and other diets get you to a more positive visceral reality. There probably is some kind of fat threshold for the pancreas,liver etc whereby some people don’t get type 2 although obese and others get it even at slightly overweight. It’s monumental extreme pessimism when it was said, “But the more likely outcome will be that most of the starvers will regain the weight they lost and more, because that’s how bodies respond to dieting. And some of that fat will probably end up in the pancreas.” Should we say don’t bother quitting smoking because most people just start back up again? Come on! There are some true believers that will not allow themselves to lard up their pancreas. What percentage? We need a long term study with lots of folks to know for sure but I’ll spitball guess that 25 to 40% will climb back on the fat wagon and not due to “because that’s how bodies respond to dieting” It’s because they start eating over maintenance calories…..once again. Sometimes those whose wills are in short supply can dig up determination reserves that even they didn’t know they had. Regarding whether fasting definitely can slow metabolism is questionable. In a study published in the March 2011 issue of the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, researchers concluded that there’s no universal consensus regarding the effects of meal frequency on metabolism markers. Even if it did slow down then just eat less. What’s the problem? I’d recommend anyone to crash their diet to get where they need to be and assume the best but seasoned with a sobering awareness about human nature. I won’t do a song and dance about my situation but type 2 was one of the best things that has ever happened to me. Every other day fast, Krista Varady style, was another beauty.

  • Mash

    There are no known cures for diabetes at present….The only hope currently is stem cell research which might possibly lead to a cure for diabetes….

  • jack

    well hasn’t things changed in the last 6 years. It is currently doing a 5 million pound study, funded by DUK

    Newcastle diet Lecture

    pancreas function.

  • theyyy

    Basic Microbiology proves that reducing carbs, whether via starvation or by carb reduction will lower your blood sugar. What produces blood sugar? Food. This “BSN” cannot argue against microbiology. Blood sugar is produced by consuming carbs. They can be produced by protein as well, but not as easily. Go to the diabetic forum and those who reduce carbs usually (not always) end their problems. Low carb will work for the vast majority of people. Eating clean and reducing carb intake to 100 grams or less will drastically reduce blood sugar and end the diabetes dangers for the vast majority of people. Keep calories only relatively low. 600 will work, but is too low. The diabetes forum talks about this.

  • Dan Danson

    Yes, temporarily starving oneself will make blood sugar low, just like losing half your blood in an industrial accident will “cure” high blood pressure.

    There is no known cure for the condition. It will return at some point when you eat a proper amount of calories for your body again, most likely.

    Starving yourself is the worst thing you can do with diabetes. Your body will eat its own muscles, and insulin resistance is directly related to muscle mass, reducing the amount of muscle will ensure that you are more insulin resistant than ever and when you start eating again your blood sugar will become higher than ever before and diabetes out of control.

    Best thing to do if you have diabetes is to stop eating refined carbs, eat more protein/fats and weight train and build up your muscles. Not starving yourself. It’s a BS temporary “solution” based on the banal logic that eating next to nothing will mean you have naff all sugar in your blood. Of course it will. But it won’t do your body any good either, and causes much more damage in the long run.

  • G

    Nobody is going to like it. Your doctor won’t suggest it. But it works. Former 10 year type 2 diabetic here. Counted carbs for years. Did nothing to help my sugar levels. Had a lot of trouble loosing weight. Regardless of running 2 miles, 3 times a week and doing weights. I was stuck at 210 for years. Came to a choice. Either take the drugs the doctors prescribe that cause cancer in rats (and yes they publicly admit it) or loose the weight. I simply started counting calories. Not as bad as 600 calories a day but under 1000 a day for sure. Your basically starving myself. But I feel great! All symptoms gone, sugars normal. I can eat anything really. But still…. don’t gain the weight back. Or your back to where u started. Your BG monitor is your friend.

  • charlie charlie

    The problem with this study is the subjects did not continue with the fasting as a regimen for keeping the insulin sensitivity in place. Fasting should be included in our day to day regimen as recommended by IDM ie intermittent fasting by limiting the feeding time in a day. Studies and testimonials show that skipping breakfast or limiting our meals between 12 noon to 6 pm allows the body to transition the source of energy to reserved fats which is ketogenic process providing a much more efficient energy for the body specially for the brain. There are other ways by which intermittent fasting can be practiced like 5:2, 18:6 and more which keeps insulin sensitivity going thus reversing the diabetes state.

  • charlie charlie

    I suggest you do daily intermittent fasting like skipping breakfast limiting the feeding time between 12 noon and 5 pm and I mean nothing after 5 pm. This has reversed my clients diabetes.

  • An0nym0us_Dude

    The behaviors that lead to the diabetes to begin with were abnormal. People can’t do a fasting diet and then expect to go back to normal. They have to change their diet to a more natural one or take up intermittent fasting or another form of fasting on a regular basis with regular exercise. This article is so pessimistic, I’m wondering if there’s a conflict of interest or the person that wrote it is salty for w/e reason.

  • ReallyFedupinWpg

    Starvation. A word “sensationalized” by this author to give the reader a sense of dread. While he/she accuses the doctors suggesting fasting of doing what ?? QUOTE I just wish scientists like Taylor wouldn’t self-promote and health journalists wouldn’t sensationalize. I mean, this is a study of 11 people for three months, and they’re announcing a cure? END QUOTE. ——– None of the doctors in any of these studies or books are suggesting the patients “STARVE” themselves in anyway shape or form. Period. Fasting, is not STARVING. “INTERMITTENT, fasting, as recommended by the author of the book I read, is prescribed to put the body in a fat burning state, vs what insulin does, which is put the body in a fat STORING state. Insulin may bring your numbers down but it promotes weight gain in those who use it. The end result? You keep getting heavier and heavier even though your A1C looks like its well managed your organs like your eyes and kidneys and all the cells in your body are screaming BULL*** !!! This is scientific fact. “FASTING” periodically, is as old as the bible. And the health benefits are well known. If a body that is used to seeing three meals a day or more suddenly is denied food for even one day, say twice a week, it will force the body to turn to its fat stores for energy. Weight LOSS will begin. THIS IS THE GOAL. YOU WANT THIS TO HAPPEN !!!! Of course after 2 months of this and blood sugar and insulin sensitivity returns to normal and the patient returns to their old habits OF COURSE ITS GOING TO RETURN !!! DUH!!!! Non of these doctors are suggesting they return to old habits… of course these doctors are going to encourage their patients to keep the intermittent fasting regimen going. ITS GOOD FOR YOU. ITS NOT STARVATION.

  • Benjamin Ogen

    Yes, David, you raised some important points here regarding starvation as not being a cure for type 2 diabetes. In actual fact the word “cure” should rarely be applied to diabetes. The word “remission” is a better one. All sorts of techniques are currently being used to send diabetes into remission or the so-called reversal of diabetes.

    None will constitute a cure. Because if you go back to your old lifestyle even after the so-called cure, your glucose tolerance will become abnormal again. I know that from personal experience. I know this article is a couple of years old but the technique of using starvation diets to deal with diabetes is still very much in vogue.

    In fact Professor Roy Taylor has done a more recent study to revalidate his earlier findings that this method works. See link here and this method of dealing with diabetes is not new. See this historical review here.

    Why do these starvation diets work? There is a new thinking and Dr Joe talks about it in this extensive article on insulin resistance on his blog. See link The starved cell theory is being replaced with a new thinking according to him. It explains why this method of reversing type 2 diabetes works.

    Of course there’s always going to be issues with keeping the weight off. That’s a perennial problem. The solution is there in front of the individual. If you have succeeded in reversing your insulin resistance by shedding fat, and the results are right there in front of you, it behoves on the individual to keep the weight off long term. That’s a lesson I learnt the hard way myself and won’t be making that weight regain mistake again.