Low-energy total diet replacement intervention in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus and obesity treated with insulin: A randomized trial

Adrian Brown, Anne Dornhorst, Barbara McGowan, Omar Omar, Anthony R. Leeds, Shahrad Taheri, Gary S. Frost

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Objectives: The management of patients with long-standing type 2 diabetes and obesity receiving insulin therapy (IT) is a substantial clinical challenge. Our objective was to examine the effect of a low-energy total diet replacement (TDR) intervention versus standardized dietetic care in patients with long-standing type 2 diabetes and obesity receiving IT. Research design and methods: In a prospective randomized controlled trial, 90 participants with type 2 diabetes and obesity receiving IT were assigned to either a low-energy TDR (intervention) or standardized dietetic care (control) in an outpatient setting. The primary outcome was weight loss at 12 months with secondary outcomes including glycemic control, insulin burden and quality of life (QoL). Results: Mean weight loss at 12 months was 9.8 kg (SD 4.9) in the intervention and 5.6 kg (SD 6.1) in the control group (adjusted mean difference -4.3 kg, 95% CI -6.3 to 2.3, p<0.001). IT was discontinued in 39.4% of the intervention group compared with 5.6% of the control group among completers. Insulin requirements fell by 47.3 units (SD 36.4) in the intervention compared with 33.3 units (SD 52.9) in the control (-18.6 units, 95% CI -29.2 to -7.9, p=0.001). Glycated Hemoglobin (HbA1c) fell significantly in the intervention group (4.7 mmol/mol; p=0.02). QoL improved in the intervention group of 11.1 points (SD 21.8) compared with 0.71 points (SD 19.4) in the control (8.6 points, 95% CI 2.0 to 15.2, p=0.01). Conclusions: Patients with advanced type 2 diabetes and obesity receiving IT achieved greater weight loss using a TDR intervention while also reducing or stopping IT and improving glycemic control and QoL. The TDR approach is a safe treatment option in this challenging patient group but requires maintenance support for long-term success.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere001012
JournalBMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jan 2020



  • insulin
  • low calorie diet
  • obesity
  • type 2 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

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