A Normalized Real-Life Glucose Profile After Diet-Induced Remission of Type 2 Diabetes: A Pilot Trial

Cureus. 2022 Apr 7;14(4):e23916. doi: 10.7759/cureus.23916. eCollection 2022 Apr.


Background/objective Type 2 diabetes related to metabolic syndrome is often partially reversible after weight loss. We conducted a pilot trial on whether complete remission to the point of a normalized real-life glucose profile, measured by continuous subcutaneous monitoring, can be achieved. Methods We conducted a mono-center, single-arm intervention trial between January 20, 2020, and January 12, 2021, in Munich, Germany. Ten participants had type 2 diabetes related to metabolic syndrome for a maximum of six years. They received a six-month lifestyle intervention including up to three months of a very-low-calorie formula diet, followed by stepwise food reintroduction and regular behavioral lifestyle counseling. The primary outcome was the status of glucose control at the end of the intervention. Complete remission was defined as normalization of the real-life glucose profile without glucose-lowering medication over at least five days. We measured anthropometric and biochemical parameters, body fat distribution by MRI, and insulin secretory reserve by an arginine stimulation test. Results Seven participants completed the trial, one reached complete remission, three achieved partial remission, and three displayed improved glucose control still in the diabetic range. A reduction of median glycosylated hemoglobin by -10 mmol/mol (-22.0 to -5.0; p = 0.016) co-occurred with weight loss of -6.4 kg (-14.2 to -3.5; p = 0.031). The insulin secretory reserve remained unchanged. Conclusions Complete remission of type 2 diabetes related to metabolic syndrome to the point of a normalized real-life glucose profile is possible through lifestyle intervention. Full intervention success remains challenging even with intensive counseling and support.

Keywords: diabetes mellitus type 2; diabetes remission; intermittently scanned continuous glucose monitoring; lifestyle intervention; metabolic syndrome.

Grant support

This work was funded by the University Hospital, LMU Munich and Helmholtz Center Munich, Germany, and the German Center for Diabetes Research. Nestlé Health Science (Deutschland) GmbH provided Optifast® free of charge for this project. The company was not involved in the design, conduction, analysis, and publication of this trial.