Two-Day Calorie Restriction Diet for Type 2 Diabetes

 In Naturopathic News

Node Smith, ND

A recent study looked at whether a two-day a week calorie restriction diet is comparable to daily calorie restriction and glycemic controlled diet in type 2 diabetes patients.1 It was found to be comparable.

Why is this important?

Typically, weight loss and glycemic control are two foundational elements in the management of diabetes. Weight loss significantly benefits blood glucose control, as well as other metabolic markers of health in diabetics. However, the most common dietary advice given to diabetics – daily calorie restriction – is incredibly hard to follow. It is very common for individuals to not be able to sustain a daily calorie restricted diet over the long-term.

Intermittent calorie restriction

Taking this into consideration, this is looking at whether a dietary intervention – intermittent calorie restriction (or intermittent fasting) – that is known to promote weight loss, might have the same lasting benefits on metabolic markers for diabetes. Intermittent calorie restriction is much easier to adhere to. Individuals can eat a normal diet (amount) for 5 days a week, and on 2 days a week eat between 500-600 calories.

The study

The study looked at 137 individuals with type 2 diabetes. Each participant was assigned to 1 of 2 diets over the course of a 12-month period. Seventy patients assigned to an intermittent calorie restriction diet (500-600 calories/day) on 2 nonconsecutive days with their regular diet the other 5 days per week and 67 patients assigned to a daily calorie restriction diet (1,200-1,500 calories/day) for 12 months. Hemoglobin A1c was the primary outcome measurement.

Conclusions of the study

The conclusions of the study was that an intermittent calorie restriction diet has no comparable difference than a daily calorie restricted diet. This means that both diets are effective and can be responsibly recommended for type 2 diabetes patients.


  1. Carter S, Clifton PM, Keogh JB. Effect of Intermittent Compared With Continuous Energy Restricted Diet on Glycemic Control in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes A Randomized Noninferiority Trial. JAMA Network Open. 2018;1(3):e180756. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.0756
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Node Smith, ND, is a naturopathic physician in Portland, OR and associate editor for NDNR. He has been instrumental in maintaining a firm connection to the philosophy and heritage of naturopathic medicine among the next generation of docs. He helped found the first multi-generational experiential retreat, which brings elders, alumni, and students together for a weekend camp-out where naturopathic medicine and medical philosophy are experienced in nature. Four years ago he helped found the non-profit, Association for Naturopathic ReVitalization (ANR), for which he serves as the board chairman. ANR has a mission to inspire health practitioners to embody the naturopathic principles through experiential education. Node also has a firm belief that the next era of naturopathic medicine will see a resurgence of in-patient facilities which use fasting, earthing, hydrotherapy and homeopathy to bring people back from chronic diseases of modern living; he is involved in numerous conversations and projects to bring about this vision.

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