Diabetes can be devastating, but there may be a way to prevent developing it: eating as little as possible. New research finds that diabetes can be greatly reduced with a severely calorie-restricted diet — 600 calories per day to be exact.
In general, we need 11 to 14 calories per lb. of weight, 1,600 to 2,100 calories per day for a 150-lb. person. Of course, those needs will be higher or lower depending on whether you are running marathons or the King of Couch Potato. Regardless, anyone will need more than 600 calories per day, even if they’re trying to lose weight.
A 600 calorie diet looks like this: 6 oz. piece of skinless chicken, half a cup of brown rice, 1 cup of skim milk and a banana. That’s it.
But if a 600 calorie-diet reverses diabetes, should it be recommended? Some food for thought:
- The study only consisted of 11 obese patients (only 2 women), who had been diagnosed with diabetes for fewer than four years. Will this 600-calorie diet work for everyone?
- What happens when someone returns to a “normal” calorie diet? Can we realistically expect someone to maintain a 600-calorie diet for life? For most, this is not a practical solution.
- There are two significant problems with fasting (or eating a very, very low calorie diet) and rapid weight loss. Lean body mass is the first to go, i.e. everything but fat, and when we fast, our metabolism slows down. It’s the body’s natural way of conserving our stores. However, when we start to eat again, our metabolism is still running slowly, which can lead to increased weight gain and possibly some GI distress.
- If weight is regained, fat will be put on first and the person is now on the “yo-yo” dieting path, which likely disrupts their hormones even more and sets their body on the roller coaster ride of overeating, dieting, overeating, dieting… which may have contributed to the diabetes in the first place.
Unless some definite research comes out that this very low calorie diet is the way to go, you may want to stick to a reduced calorie, high protein, reduced carbohydrate diet and focus on gradual weight loss.