Assessing the evidence for weight loss strategies in people with and without type 2 diabetes

World J Diabetes. 2017 Oct 15;8(10):440-454. doi: 10.4239/wjd.v8.i10.440.


This review will examine topical issues in weight loss and weight maintenance in people with and without diabetes. A high protein, low glycemic index diet would appear to be best for 12-mo weight maintenance in people without type 2 diabetes. This dietary pattern is currently being explored in a large prevention of diabetes intervention. Intermittent energy restriction is useful but no better than daily energy restriction but there needs to be larger and longer term trials performed. There appears to be no evidence that intermittent fasting or intermittent severe energy restriction has a metabolic benefit beyond the weight loss produced and does not spare lean mass compared with daily energy restriction. Meal replacements are useful and can produce weight loss similar to or better than food restriction alone. Very low calorie diets can produce weight loss of 11-16 kg at 12 mo with persistent weight loss of 1-2 kg at 4-6 years with a very wide variation in long term results. Long term medication or meal replacement support can produce more sustained weight loss. In type 2 diabetes very low carbohydrate diets are strongly recommended by some groups but the long term evidence is very limited and no published trial is longer than 12 mo. Although obesity is strongly genetically based the microbiome may play a small role but human evidence is currently very limited.

Keywords: Alternate day fasting; Glycemic index; Intermittent energy restriction; Low fat diets; Protein; Very low calorie diet; Very low carbohydrate diet.

Publication types

  • Review