Newly Diabetic? Reduce Calories and Exercise

Quick question for you…

What was type 2 diabetes once referred to as?

If you said ‘adult-onset’ give yourself a gold star.

Those familiar with this disease understand type 2 diabetes was the kind you were born with and type 2 was the form that developed later in life i.e. hence the adult part of the name.

Bu type II isn’t limited to adults. We’ve seen children as young as three years old with type 2 diabetes.

A new study finds that not only does nutrition and exercise help with managing, or even reversing, diabetes but it also appears the benefits are greater when started at an earlier age.

The 12 month study included 147 participants which were split as 70 in the intervention group and 77 in the control group.

The control group followed standard care for type 2 diabetes.

The intervention group included an exercise and nutritional component. For 12 weeks subjects followed a low calorie approach known as the Cambridge Weight Plan. This daily caloric intake on this plan is quite low at 600-1500 cal per day. After the 12 weeks the intervention group were put on a healthy eating plan.

As for the exercise component, the intervention group was required to do 150 minutes of exercise per week. This works out to 30 minutes of exercise on each week day with weekends off. As well, subjects in this group were required to take 10,000 steps per day.

A couple of features of the participants of this study was that they were young (between 18-50 years with an average age of 42 years) and all subjects were recently diagnosed within the last three years.

So what did they find?

The intervention group lost 12 kg (26.4 lbs) versus 4 kg (8.8 lbs) for the control group. This is dramatic to see a 300% difference in weight loss between the groups.

At the end of the study, 61% of the participants in the intervention group were no longer considered diabetic compared to 12% in the control group. This is a 500% difference between these groups with no medications involved.

We’ve known for a while that diet and exercise help with managing diabetes. This study is interesting as it shows how much more effective exercise and nutrition can be compared to standard care. And when newly diagnosed, and relatively young, there is still the potential to not have to live with this disease.


Taheri, S., Zaghloul, H., Chagoury, O., Elhadad, S., Ahmed, S. H., El Khatib, N., & Al-Hamaq, A. (2020). Effect of intensive lifestyle intervention on bodyweight and glycaemia in early type 2 diabetes (DIADEM-I): an open-label, parallel-group, randomised controlled trial. The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology8(6), 477-489.



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