The Best Dieting Strategy For People With Type 2 Diabetes

This diet is a very effective weight loss strategy for diabetic patients and those with prediabetes.

This diet is a very effective weight loss strategy for diabetic patients and those with prediabetes.

People with type 2 diabetes are often obese or overweight and have high blood pressure.

However, to combat this metabolic syndrome, the first step is to lose weight.

There are several effective diet plans to help people with this condition but what dieting strategy works best remains unclear.

A study on adults with type 2 diabetes has found that time restricted eating (TRE) is more effective than the daily calorie restriction (CR) strategy.

TRE is a type of intermittent fasting that only allows an eating window of 8 to 12 hours and water fasting during the remaining hours each day.

The TRE group in this study were allowed to eat between noon to 8pm while the other group followed the CR approach.

Participants on the TRE regime lost more weight and body fat, and saw an increase in HDL (good cholesterol) compared to those who ate fewer calories.

However, blood sugar levels were similarly improved in both groups.

Ms Vicky Pavlou who presented this research at the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition, said:

“Many people find counting calories very hard to stick to in the long term, but our study shows that watching the clock may offer a simple way to decrease calories and lose weight.

Although time-restricted eating is becoming increasingly popular, no other studies have looked at an eight-hour eating window in people with type 2 diabetes.”

Professor Krista Varady and the team wanted to know if diabetic people would gain more benefits from the TRE strategy than the CR diet plan.

57 overweight and obese adults with type 2 diabetes were divided into calorie restriction, time-restricted eating, and control groups.

The TRE group were allowed to eat for 8 hours (noon to 8 p.m.), the CR group could eat at any time but counted their daily calorie intake, but the control group could eat whenever and as much as they liked.

When compared with the control and the CR groups over six months, participants on the TRE diet lost about 4 percent of their weight, equivalent of losing 5 kg for a person weighing 125 kg.

Haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels were tested for blood sugar, the normal range is 4 to 5.6 percent but the levels in people with diabetes were 6.5 percent.

The results show that the HbA1c levels for the TRE group reduced by 0.91 percent and for the CR group by 0.95 percent.

To see any improvement in cardiometabolic risk factors a minimum 5 percent weight loss is required.

Since this was not achieved, the team could not assess them.

Ms Pavlou added:

“Our study shows that time-restricted eating can be a good alternative for those with type 2 diabetes who want to lose weight and improve their blood sugar.

However, there are multiple types of medications for those with type 2 diabetes, some of which can cause low blood sugar and some that need to be taken with food.

Therefore, it is important to work closely with a dietitian or doctor when implementing this dieting approach.”

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About the author

Mina Dean is a Nutritionist and Food Scientist. She holds a BSc in Human Nutrition and an MSc in Food Science.


The study was presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition in Boston (Pavlou et al., 2023).


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This site is all about scientific research into how the mind works.

It’s mostly written by psychologist and author, Dr Jeremy Dean.

I try to dig up fascinating studies that tell us something about what it means to be human.

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