Trial suggests a strict 800 calorie a day liquid diet can reverse type 2 diabetes

by Barbara Hewitt on June 18, 2018

Type 2 diabetes can be reversed by following a strict low calorie liquid diet of just 800 calories a day, but the regime is not suitable for everyone, according to new research.

The diet of soup and shakes was developed by Professor Roy Taylor of Newcastle University and has now been tested on 298 people referred by their GPs in Newcastle and Glasgow.

Liquid Diet

(By Fortyforks/

Early results presented in February found nearly half of those on a diet of 800 calories a day went into remission and the scientists are continuing to monitor these patients to see if they keep the weight off.

Then a small trial involving five people on a liquid diet for eight weeks shown as a two part television documentary found that two were in remissions and no longer had to take diabetes medication.

‘The trial moves forward from our basic work which has allowed us to understand diabetes to see if we can apply in general practice some lessons that we learned from earlier studies. After the first year, we found that half of everybody who had gone into the intervention group was in remission,’ said Taylor.

‘The big change comes about because all of a sudden people are able to move much more easily. It’s like taking off a rucksack. I think what has really struck me about this work is the change it has made for patients themselves,’ Taylor explained.

‘Many have told me how the low calorie diet is a revelation as they had been told type 2 diabetes was lifelong with an inevitable decline into more medication and further ill health. This transformation in the treatment of diabetes has been built on almost four decades of research of the underlying mechanisms of type 2 diabetes,’ he added.

Anna Morris, assistant director of research strategy and partnership at charity Diabetes UK, welcomed the focus on low calorie diets. But the charity pointed out that it should be done under supervision and is not suitable for everyone.

‘Anyone with type 2 diabetes considering a low calorie diet should speak to their GP first, especially if they’re taking medications like insulin, as it could be dangerous,’ said Morris.

‘In the meantime, we recommend maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular physical activity. Long term, robust evidence is needed to understand how effective this approach could be in practice,’ she added.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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