According to WebMD, the 600-calorie diet was the basis of a research study conducted in 2011 at Newcastle University in which 11 subjects with Type 2 diabetes were fed an extremely low-calorie diet for eight weeks. At the end of the study, seven of the subjects were free of diabetes, leading researchers to theorize that a similar diet might benefit people with this disease.
The so-called 600-calorie diet actually consists of a daily intake of 800 calories, 600 calories from a liquid meal replacement and 200 calories from non-starchy vegetables, according to WebMD. Further, the Newcastle study was too small to be of great clinical significance; more research is needed to determine if extremely low-calorie diets will benefit people with Type 2 diabetes over the long term. In fact, according to Dr. David M. Kendall, M.D., chief scientific and medical officer for the American Diabetes Association, scientists have known for some time that extreme calorie reduction is effective for controlling blood sugar in people with Type 2 diabetes, especially if they are obese. The benefit of the Newcastle study is that it looked at some of the reasons why this improvement occurs.
According to an article in Saga, doctors are warning people with diabetes not to try the 600-calorie diet on their own, at least not until the results of a more extensive research study in 2014 are revealed. Funded by Diabetes UK, the study is being conducted jointly by the University of Glasgow and Newcastle University and involves a total of 280 subjects, half of whom will be on the 800-calorie liquid diet for between eight and 20 weeks. All of the participants will then be followed for two years. In the interim, people with Type 2 diabetes are encouraged to eat a balanced diet with plenty of whole grains, fruits and vegetables; exercise regularly; and take all prescribed medications to keep their diabetes under control.