Immediate and long-term effects of addition of exercise to a 16-week very low calorie diet on low-grade inflammation in obese, insulin-dependent type 2 diabetic patients

Food Chem Toxicol. 2011 Dec;49(12):3104-11. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2011.09.032. Epub 2011 Oct 5.


Objective: To assess the short- and long-term effects of addition of exercise to a very low calorie diet (VLCD) on low-grade inflammation in obese patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).

Methods: Twenty seven obese, insulin-dependent T2DM patients followed a 4-month VLCD with (n=13) or without (n=14) exercise and were followed up to 18 months. Anthropometric measurements, metabolic and inflammatory parameters were assessed before, directly after the intervention and at 6 and 18 months follow-up. The same measurements were performed only once in 56 healthy lean and 56 healthy obese controls.

Results: At baseline hsCRP, IL10 and IL8 were significantly elevated in obese T2DM compared to lean healthy controls. After 4 months, despite substantial weight loss (-25.4 ± 1.3 kg), neither the VLCD nor VLCD+exercise had an effect on plasma cytokines. At 6 months, in the weight-stabilizing period, measures of low-grade inflammation had decreased substantially and equally in both intervention groups. Despite subsequent weight regain, beneficial effect was sustained up to 18 months in both groups, except for IL1 and hsCRP which had returned to baseline in the VLCD-only group.

Conclusion: Our findings suggest that severe caloric restriction increases cytokine production by adipose tissue macrophages and that the beneficial effects of weight loss become apparent only in the eucaloric state.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism
  • Caloric Restriction / methods*
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diet therapy*
  • Energy Intake*
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / diet therapy*
  • Inflammation / physiopathology
  • Insulin / administration & dosage
  • Insulin / blood
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / diet therapy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time
  • Weight Loss


  • Cytokines
  • Insulin
  • C-Reactive Protein