Regular exercise and a calorie-restricted diet in just a year brought 61 percent of patients with type 2 diabetes into remission. According to the authors of the study, published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, participants in the experiment were randomly divided into two subgroups, the first of which received standard diabetes care. Patients in the second were asked to adhere to the so-called Cambridge low-calorie diet for 12 weeks. The next 12 weeks were transitional, after which the volunteers were transferred to a less strict diet, which, however, still required control of the amount of calories consumed. In addition to dietary changes, participants in the experimental subgroup were encouraged to take ten thousand steps a day and devote at least 150 minutes a week to exercise.
Moreover, 61 percent of the volunteers from the experimental subgroup achieved remission of diabetes mellitus. In the control subgroup, only 12 percent of the participants achieved similar success.
The authors believe that calorie restriction and exercise can make life easier for diabetics at any age. However, their research shows that the earlier the transition to a healthy lifestyle is started, the stronger the effect will be.
Effect of intensive lifestyle intervention on bodyweight and glycaemia in early type 2 diabetes (DIADEM-I): an open-label, parallel-group, randomised controlled trial
Type 2 diabetes is affecting people at an increasingly younger age, particularly in the Middle East and in north Africa. We aimed to assess whether an intensive lifestyle intervention would lead to significant weight loss and improved glycaemia in young individuals with early diabetes.
This open-label, parallel-group, randomised controlled trial (DIADEM-I), done in primary care and community settings in Qatar, compared the effects of an intensive lifestyle intervention with usual medical care on weight loss and glycaemic outcomes in individuals with type 2 diabetes, aged 18–50 years, with a short diabetes duration (≤3 years), had a BMI of 27·0 kg/m 2 or more, and who were from the Middle East and north Africa region. Participants were randomly allocated (1:1) either to the intensive lifestyle intervention group or the usual medical care control group by a computer-generated sequence and an online randomisation service. The intensive lifestyle intervention comprised a total diet replacement phase, in which participants were given formula low-energy diet meal replacement products followed by gradual food reintroduction combined with physical activity support, and a weight-loss maintenance phase, involving structured lifestyle support. Participants in the control group received usual diabetes care, which was based on clinical guidelines. The primary outcome was weight loss at 12 months after receiving the assigned intervention. Our analysis was based on the intention-to-treat principle. Key secondary outcomes included diabetes control and remission. The trial was registered with the ISRCTN registry, ISRCTN20754766, and ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT03225339.
Between July 16, 2017, and Sept 30, 2018, we enrolled and randomly assigned 158 participants (n=79 in each group) to the study. 147 participants (70 in the intervention group and 77 in the control group) were included in the final intention-to-treat analysis population. Between baseline and 12 months, the mean bodyweight of participants in the intervention group reduced by 11·98 kg (95% CI 9·72 to 14·23) compared with 3·98 kg (2·78 to 5·18) in the control group (adjusted mean difference −6·08 kg [95% CI −8·37 to −3·79], p<0·0001). In the intervention group, 21% of participants achieved more than 15% weight loss between baseline and 12 months compared with 1% of participants in the control group (p<0·0001). Diabetes remission occurred in 61% of participants in the intervention group compared with 12% of those in the control group (odds ratio [OR] 12·03 [95% CI 5·17 to 28·03], p<0·0001). 33% of participants in the intervention group had normoglycaemia compared with 4% of participants in the control group (OR 12·07 [3·43 to 42·45], p<0·0001). Five serious adverse events were reported in four participants in the control group; four admissions to hospital because of unanticipated events (supraventricular tachycardia, abdominal pain, pneumonia, and epididymo-orchitis), and one admission to hospital for an anticipanted event (hyperglycaemia).
Our findings show that the intensive lifestyle intervention led to significant weight loss at 12 months, and was associated with diabetes remission in over 60% of participants and normoglycaemia in over 30% of participants. The provision of this lifestyle intervention could allow a large proportion of young individuals with early diabetes to achieve improvements in key cardiometabolic outcomes, with potential long-term benefits for health and wellbeing.