How to get type 2 diabetes into remission

How can I try and get my type 2 diabetes into remission?

Losing weight can help get your diabetes into remission. You’ll need to lose about 8-12kg in order to have the best chance of achieving remission.

There are a 3 main ways this can be done. Choose one of them:

  1. A very low calorie diet or VLCD (800 calories/day) using milkshakes and soup to replace your meals. The VLCD course normally lasts for 24 weeks: 12 weeks replacing all your meals, and then 12 weeks gradually reintroducing solid food. You will have to buy the replacement meals yourself but you get support from your healthcare team. This approach has the most robust evidence behind it from the DiRECT trial, and is the most effective way of losing weight rapidly. If you are not a fan of shakes and soups, it is also possible to follow a Very Low 800 Calorie Diet using real food approaches: resources to help with this include the Fast800 recipe book or the Carbs and Cals Very Low Calorie Diet recipe book. 
  2. A low carbohydrate diet (<130g/day), reducing the number of carbohydrates and sugary foods you eat. Check out our low carb resources to learn more, or check out our information on healthy swaps, low carb snacks and recipes.
  3. Intermittent fasting (having a longer period when you don’t eat). This includes:
    • The 5:2 diet (eating normally for 5 days a week then eating only 500-600 calories on the other two days). There are lots of resources available for this on the internet, books or through local healthcare services.
    • Having longer periods during the day when you don't eat. Most people choose a 16:8 cycle, which involves not eating for 16 hours in the day. Sometimes this is also referred to as an 8-hour eating ‘window’. You eat all your meals within an 8-hour time period and fast for the remaining 16 hours. Generally, this is done daily or almost daily. For example, you may eat all your meals within the time period from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm.

Whichever you choose, you’ll need to make some longer term lifestyle changes, which will generally mean increasing activity and reducing carbohydrate intake.

We strongly recommend that you speak to your health team before following any of these approaches, particularly if you are on insulin, sulphonylureas (such as gliclazide) or SGLT-2 medication (drug names ending in gliflozin), or have complications such as heart or kidney problems.

Useful Resources

The books listed below can really help in your journey towards weight loss and remission from Type 2 diabetes