Type 2 Diabetes Curable! But Mosley’s New Book has HUGE Typo

I was over at a buddy’s house when he opened some mail, and in it was Michael Mosley’s new book The 8-Week Blood Sugar Diet. I was like, “Oh that’s the 5:2 guy, he’s cool he’s into intermittent fasting.” At the time I was familiar with Dr. Moseley from having watched his video on intermittent fasting “Eat, Fast, and Live Longer”. I still think it’s a great video and I wondered what he had new to say since he said he cured his own Type 2 diabetes by the The FastDiet or 5:2 diet, eating anything you want 5 days per week and doing a ‘modified’ fast (eating 500 calories if female and 600 if male) 2 days per week. So I was wondering what the new big deal was.

The new book was to popularize Dr. Roy Taylor’s 2011 research, which Mosley wrote:

“The volunteers stuck to the 800-calorie regime, and in just eight weeks–a remarkably short time–lost an average of 33 pounds. They also lost nearly 5 inches from their waist. By the end their blood sugar levels were all back in nondiabetic range.” pg 48

“In Dr. Taylor’s studies, largely for reasons of convenience, the subjects were asked to lose weight by drinking commercial meal-replacement diet shakes for the whole eight weeks, supplemented with some nonstarchy vegetables.” pg 115

“If you decide to start with meal-replacement diet shakes, you should aim to consume around 600 calories per day in shakes, plus 200 calories’ worth of nonstarchy vegetables.” pg 116

“I think one of the main advantages of doing this diet with real food is that it will retrain your taste buds.”

“What does 800 calories look like? More than you might think…”

The above mentioned results were all seem legit, type 2 diabetes per the research was reversed. HOWEVER, it was all based 600 calories per day, not 800. I guess you could look at it one way and be like, it’s just 200 calories difference no biggie, but I have to think in real life, when you are mentally preparing to eat 800 calories day in and day out, being told it really should have been 200 less would be a little disheartening.

I can’t imagine there was anything sinister going on here, he cited his source and probably some mental thing caused 8 weeks to be remembered as 800 calories. “8 weeks 800 calories” is catchy in a way that 8 weeks 600 calories isn’t. But man, I’m really surprised that nobody caught the discrepancy! Not a single proofreader? Nobody reads actual the actual research anymore? Do they even read the abstracts? Because it says in the front page, and in the text, the study participants only ate  600 calories per day.

Anyway the book put me onto the research, well worth a read, with FREE FULL TEXT! Gotta love free full text.
Reversal of type 2 diabetes: normalisation of beta cell function in association with decreased pancreas and liver triacylglycerol. Lim EL1, Hollingsworth KG, Aribisala BS, Chen MJ, Mathers JC, Taylor R. Diabetologia. 2011 Oct; 54(10): 2506–2514.

Some quotes:

“Three individuals failed to comply with the diet (two during the first week and one during weeks 4–8), and one left the study for an unrelated medical reason. Hence 11 individuals (nine male and two female, age 49.5 ± 2.5 years) completed the study.”

“After the baseline measurements, individuals with type 2 diabetes started the diet, which consisted of a liquid diet formula (46.4% carbohydrate, 32.5% protein and 20.1% fat; vitamins, minerals and trace elements; 2.1 MJ/day [510 kcal/day]; Optifast; Nestlé Nutrition, Croydon, UK). This was supplemented with three portions of non-starchy vegetables such that total energy intake was about 2.5 MJ (600 kcal)/day.”

“Ongoing support and encouragement was provided by means of regular telephone contact.”

“Average weight loss during the 8 weeks of dietary intervention was 15.3 ± 1.2 kg, equivalent to 15 ± 1% of initial body weight…”

“This study demonstrates that the twin defects of beta cell failure and insulin resistance that underlie type 2 diabetes can be reversed by acute negative energy balance alone. A hierarchy of response was observed, with a very early change in hepatic insulin sensitivity and a slower change in beta cell function. In the first 7 days of the reduced energy intake, fasting blood glucose and hepatic insulin sensitivity fell to normal, and intrahepatic lipid decreased by 30%. Over the 8 weeks of dietary energy restriction, beta cell function increased towards normal and pancreatic fat decreased. Following the intervention, participants gained 3.1 ± 1.0 kg body weight over 12 weeks, but their HbA1c remained steady while the fat content of both pancreas and liver did not increase. The data are consistent with the hypothesis that the abnormalities of insulin secretion and insulin resistance that underlie type 2 diabetes have a single, common aetiology, i.e. excess lipid accumulation in the liver and pancreas.”

Overall I think it’s exciting research. Since becoming interested in intermittent fasting myself, how it compares to other diets, and what conditions it’s good for (nigh everything), diabetes has been something I have been most frequently asked about by my patient population. Making diabetes something I have reading much about. In fact, I’m almost finished with the continuing education requirement necessary to become a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE). Curiously, the above paper is 5 years old, and curing type 2 diabetes wasn’t mentioned in my CDE course material, rather just “management” was.

Speaking of 600 calories a day, I suppose I could do that for 8 weeks if I had to, and with all the problems associated with diabetes, it would be worth it. I definitely don’t think I’d want to divide it into 3 meals of 200 calories each and I certainly wouldn’t take the time to prepare a 200 calorie meal. Rather, I’d just work all day on zero calories, and have a 600 calorie dinner exactly at the 8 pm hour.

Final Thoughts

Despite the 600-to-800 calorie typo I thought the book was great. It put me onto new research and emphasized how much better one’s life will be if they reverse your diabetes rather than just manage it. Plus it had some good warnings about telling your doctor you are going to do it, as they might have to adjust your medications to avoid too low a drop in blood sugar or blood pressure.

Chad Reilly, Physical Therapist

5 thoughts on “Type 2 Diabetes Curable! But Mosley’s New Book has HUGE Typo”

  1. OMG! Only 600 calories a day? Those poor people were likely starving to death, too! Not *literally, but they might argue that if you asked them. I’m sorry, but no way.

    • Yeah, I read Dr. Mosley’s book first and thought 800 calories per day sounds like a rough diet, but if the results are that good, definitely worth it. However when I read the paper and saw it was really 600 calories per day, I thought, “whoa that’s way worse.” Still 9 out of 11 subjects were able to complete made it through the whole 8 weeks. I guess the idea is that the weight loss was so rapid that it helped them stay motivated with the diet. Given they actually did reverse diabetes in 8 weeks, it’s probably worth it. It beats “managing” diabetes and the serious side effects as a chronic condition for a lifetimes.

      Of course it’s also worth noting that Dr. Mosley normalized his blood sugar with a less arduous diet, described in his documentary.

  2. Actually 600 calories a day isn’t as bad as it sounds. I’ve used Dr. Dieter Markert’s Turbo-Protein diet using the Almased protein powder. The first 2-3 days are rough then your body switches over and it feels great. The worst thing is your sense of smell becomes very acute and food commercials have to be avoided!

    This info is great, the scientific basis, the health results, but also the 8 weeks. Dr. Markert insisted on a break after two weeks yet I felt I fine and that I could go longer. Last time I did 3 weeks and was fine. What I noticed is that this type diet works well when you are most over weight. As you get closer to ideal weight then it does get tougher.

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