The finding from the U.K. study of about 300 people with type 2 diabetes that a calorie-restricted diet can help people lose weight confirms similar results from previous studies.
What's new in this study is the impact that weight loss had on diabetes. Half of the patients on the diet appeared to be in diabetes remission a year later, meaning their blood sugar levels have fallen below a certain level without the use of medication, Newsweek reported.
The study was published Tuesday in The Lancet medical journal.
For the first three to five months, half of the participants consumed liquid meal replacements that provided about 825 calories a day. The typical recommendation for a healthy woman is about 2,000 calories a day and about 2,500 calories a day for a healthy man, Newsweek reported.
After those first few months, participants slowly began to eat normal food again.
While nearly half of those in the diet group were in diabetes remission a year later, only four percent of those in the control group went into remission, Newsweek reported.
The liquid meal replacements were donated for the study by the company that makes them, Cambridge Weight Plan. The researchers also received financial support from the company. The cost of the diet used in the study was not revealed.
The authors noted that along with following the diet, study participants were provided with counseling and told to boost their physical activity levels. The researchers plan to follow the participants for at least four years.
While an extremely low-calorie diet shows promise, it may not be practical for most people with diabetes, according to Dr. Sona Shah, an endocrinologist at NYU Langone Health.
"Usually I tell my patients to restrict their calories to 500 calories less than whatever they're doing. Getting below 1,000 calories is virtually impossible for most patients on a day-to-day basis," she told Newsweek "I think it's a very hard thing to adhere to."
Shah also said anyone considering this type of diet should do so under medical supervision.