600 Calorie Diet Plan For Diabetes is based on a diet created by the American Diabetes Association. It is one of the most popular diets for people with diabetes for good reason – it works! The meal plan offers foods from food groups that are low in fat and low to moderate in carbohydrate, which helps maintain steady blood sugar levels and helps you lose weight.
There are many simple diet plans available for people with diabetes. Many of them are quite effective. However, if you want to lose weight and keep it off, you need an effective long-term solution. For many people, this means using a diet plan that requires you to count calories each day. This article offers information on a 600-calorie diet plan that is effective for people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Very Low-Calorie Diet May Reverse Diabetes
A very low-calorie diet of 600 calories a day may be able to reverse type 2 diabetes, preliminary research suggests.
Eleven people who had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes within the past four years slashed their calories for eight weeks, sticking to a diet of liquid diet drinks and non-starchy vegetables.
Three months after going off the diet, seven were free of diabetes.
Sound too tough to follow? Don’t worry, the researchers aren’t recommending the low-cal diet as a treatment for diabetes.
“We used the 600-calorie diet to test a hypothesis. What I can tell you definitively is that if people lose substantial weight by normal means, they will lose their diabetes,” says study head Roy Taylor,MD, director of the Newcastle Magnetic Resonance Centre at Newcastle University in England.
The findings were published online by the journal Diabetologia and presented here at the annual meeting of the American Diabetes Association (ADA).
Low-Calorie Diet Reduces Fat in Pancreas
Nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes, about 95% of whom have type 2 diabetes. It develops when the body does not produce enough insulin and/or the insulin that is produced doesn’t work properly. As a result, blood sugar levels shoot up.
Taylor tells WebMD that the very low-calorie diet reduced the amount of fat in the pancreas and liver, which allowed insulin production and function to return to normal.
After one week on the diet, participants’ fasting blood sugar levels were no longer elevated, he says.
MRI scans showed that the fat levels in the pancreas fell from around 8% — considered high — to a normal 6%.
After eight weeks on the diet, their bodies were once again making sufficient insulin, essentially reversing their diabetes, Taylor says.
“Fat in the pancreas inhibits the action of beta cells in making insulin. The low-calorie diet got rid of this excess fat,” he says.
The men and the women in the study weighed an average of 220 pounds at the start of the study and lost an average of 33 pounds over eight weeks. By three months later, they had regained an average of 6.5 pounds.
Low-Calorie Diets: Permanent Results?
David M. Kendall, MD, chief scientific and medical officer for the ADA, tells WebMD that it’s been known for a while that “substantial calorie reduction can be very effective in rapidly improving diabetic control, especially in people who are obese.
“What is unique about this study is it looked at some of the mechanisms that underlie the rapid improvement,” he says.
More research is needed to determine whether the low-cal diet results in a permanent reversal of diabetes, Taylor says. “We also have to figure out a more practical way for people to get these results — that is, to get fat out of pancreas and keep it out,” he says.
A simple 600 calorie-a-day diet can cure type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes affects nearly four million people in the UK and I know of a simple way to cure it. Yes, cure.
All it involves is eight weeks of eating 600 calories a day. But you don’t have to wait that long to see results, you’ll get them in just a week.
Now I’m not saying eating 600 calories a day for eight weeks is easy. But surely it is worth the hunger pangs.
Just because type 2 diabetes is common doesn’t mean it’s harmless. It’s not – it can kill you through heart disease, stroke and kidney failure.
Then there’s blindness and amputations. So here’s how the 600 calorie plan works.
Excess calories in our diet lead to a fatty liver, say scientists at Newcastle University. This causes the liver to produce too much glucose and raises blood sugar levels, the first sign of a diabetes problem.
Then the excess fat from the liver passes to the pancreas, causing the insulin-producing cells to fail, thus causing diabetes. However, researchers say losing less than one gram of fat from the pancreas can jump-start insulin production, which reverses type 2 diabetes.
And this reversal remains for 10 years, lead author Professor Roy Taylor said. The diet typically causes people to lose 15kg of weight, which itself helps reverse the condition.
Prof Taylor, who has spent almost four decades studying type 2 diabetes, said: “I think the real importance of this work is for the patients themselves.
“Many have described to me how embarking on the low calorie diet has been the only option to prevent what they thought – or had been told – was an inevitable decline into further medication and further ill health because of their diabetes.
“By studying the underlying mechanisms we have been able to demonstrate the simplicity of type 2 diabetes.”
The Newcastle study showed results within just a week of someone starting out with the diet.
It caused a profound increase in insulin sensitivity. Blood sugar levels also became normal within the same time frame.
Professor Taylor said: “The good news for people with type 2 diabetes is that our work shows that even if you have had the condition for 10 years, you are likely to be able to reverse it by moving that all important tiny amount of fat out of the pancreas.
“At present, this can only be done through substantial weight loss.”
Half the year is already gone, and summer is already here, but you still have not achieved your New Year’s resolution to shed those extra pesky pounds. Maybe you have added a few more kilograms during lockdown, and you are looking for a quick fix. Could the 600-calorie diet be the answer to your prayers? Can this restrictive eating plan help you fit into those tight jeans or that bikini? Let us find out!
What Is The 600-Calorie A Day Diet?
The 600-calorie diet is a form of intermittent fasting. For those unfamiliar with IF, aka intermittent fasting, a diet regimen that cycles between brief periods of fasting, where you do not eat at all or eat very few calories, and other periods of unrestricted food consumption (5). While this form of dieting has been around for years, it was popularized in the early and mid-2010s by Dr. Michael Mosley, Kate Harrison, and Dr. Jason Fung (10).
The 600 diet is also known as the 5:2 diet in the intermittent fasting community. The rules for the 5:2 diet are quite simple. This eating plan involves eating regularly for five days and eating very little for the other two days of the week (9).
Two very important facts to note about the 5:2 diet are that,
- The fasting days are not consecutive. You do not eat well from Monday to Friday and then only consume 600 calories on Saturday and Sunday. You are required to space out your fasting days. For example, fast on Wednesday and Saturday.
- This is not a ‘true fast.’ Fasting generally means no food within the allocated days or hours of the fast; however, you will still eat on your fasting days in this 600-calorie diet. The only difference will be that you will be consuming about a quarter of your usual calorie intake.
- The 5:2 diet restricts women to 500 calories a day while men can only consume 600 calories.
How Healthy Is The 600-Calorie Diet?
It can be quite a healthy diet. This is because it is not as restrictive as the 20:4 intermittent fasting or as unpleasant as the juice, single food, or paleo diet (1). The best part is that you do not have to worry about counting calories or macronutrients except for on two days (23). One caveat though, it is not safe for everyone.
Persons discouraged from trying the 5:2 or 600-calorie diet include (9):
- People with low blood sugar
- Anyone prone to dizziness
- Children, pregnant or breastfeeding women
- Anyone with an illness such as diabetes, heart disease, under blood pressure medication (16) or having any chronic disease.
- Anyone with a history of an eating disorder.
- Adolescents are also discouraged from going on the 5:2 diet or any other form of intermittent fasting (5)
Remember, you should always consult your doctor before you start a new diet or workout regimen.
Sample Of A 600-Calorie Diet Plans
If you are at a loss and wondering what a 600-calorie diet menu looks like, here are some examples of meals and snacks that you can have on either of your fasting days.
Breakfast – Oatmeal
- 234 g of cooked oatmeal. Make sure to cook your oats with just boiling water. Do not add any kind of milk (regular or plant-based).
- Calories: 158. Fat: 3.2 g, Carbs: 27 g, Protein: 6 g
Dinner – Smoked paprika paella with cod & peas (18)
- 1 tbsp rapeseed oil, 1 onion, 2 garlic cloves, 100g brown basmati rice, 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 500ml vegetable bouillon, 1 large red pepper, large courgette, 125g frozen peas, 300g pack skinless Atlantic cod, 1/3 small pack parsley, 1/2 lemon
- Calories: 481. Fat: 10 g, Carbs: 55 g, Protein: 38 g
- Total calories for the day = 638
Breakfast – Green Smoothie
- 40 ml coconut milk or coconut cream, 75 ml water, 1 tbsp lime juice, 15 g frozen spinach, 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
- Calories: 82. Fat: 8 g, Carbs: 3 g, Protein: 1 g
Dinner – Broccoli and cauliflower gratin with sausage (4)
- 1⁄6 leek, 1⁄6 yellow onion, 75 g broccoli florets, 40 g cauliflower florets, 75 g sausages, 10 g butter, 1⁄3 tbsp Dijon mustard, 40 ml sour cream, 25 g shredded cheese, 2⁄3 tbsp fresh thyme or dried thyme, salt and pepper.
- Calories: 498 Fat: 42 g Carbs: 12 g, Protein: 18 g
- Total Calories for the day: 580
Breakfast – Garlic bread (14)
- For the bread – 40 g almond flour, 12 g ground psyllium husk powder, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp sea salt, 1/2 tsp cider vinegar or white wine vinegar, 60 ml boiling water, 3/4 egg white.
- For garlic butter – 30 g butter, 1/4 minced garlic clove, 1/2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley, 1⁄8 tsp of salt.
- Note that the above measurements make about five garlic breadsticks. You should eat only one slice of bread.
- Calories: 94. Fat: 9 g, Carbs: 1 g, Protein: 2 g
Lunch – Low-carb coconut pancakes (15)
- 1 1/2 eggs, 1/4 pinch salt, 1/2 tbsp melted coconut oil, 50 ml coconut milk, 15 g coconut flour, 1.1 g baking powder, butter or coconut oil for frying
- Calories: 289. Fat: 24 g, Carbs: 3 g, Protein: 12 g
Dinner – Caprese Snack
- 50 g cherry tomatoes, 50 g mozzarella cheese balls, 1/2 tbsp green pesto, salt, and pepper
- Calories: 218. Fat: 17 g, Carbs: 3 g, Protein: 14 g
- Total Calories for the day: 601
Breakfast – Low-carb cream cheese with herbs
- 50 g cream cheese, 1/2 tsp olive oil, 30 ml fresh parsley or basil, 1/4 garlic clove, 1/4 tsp lemon zest, salt, and pepper. 1 celery stalk or other vegetables such as carrots, cucumber or bell pepper.
- Calories: 230. Fat: 22 g, Carbs: 4 g, Protein: 4 g
Dinner – Low-carb cauliflower hash browns
- 110 g cauliflower, 3/4 egg, 1⁄8 grated yellow onion, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 pinch pepper, 30 g butter, for frying.
- Calories: 282. Fat: 26 g, Carbs: 5 g, Protein: 7 g
- Total Calories for the day: 512
Breakfast – One three-inch diameter apple
- Calories: 95. Fat: 0.3 g, Carbs: 25 g, Protein: 0.5 g
Lunch – Spicy Beans and Rice (3)
- 1/4 cup water, 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon uncooked brown rice, 425 g canned black beans, 3/8 fresh jalapeno peppers, 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, black pepper, 1 tablespoon and 1/2 teaspoon shredded cheddar cheese, 3/8 fresh green onions, 56 g black olives
- Calories: 96.1. Fat: 9.9 g, Carbs: 11.2 g, Protein: 3.7 g
Dinner – Easy protein noodle low-carb lasagna (6)
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil, 1/8 chopped yellow onion, 1/2 garlic clove, 75 g fresh Italian sausage, 75 g ground beef, 175 g unsweetened marinara sauce, 110 g ricotta cheese, 1/4 egg, 1⁄8 tsp sea salt, 50 g sliced deli chicken breast, 75 g mozzarella cheese, 30 g Parmesan cheese.
- Note that the above measurements are enough for three servings.
- Calories: 412. Fat: 30 g, Carbs: 7 g, Protein: 28 g
- Total Calories for the day: 603.1
Hopefully, this sample meal plan has answered your ‘600-calorie a day diet what can I eat?’ question. Please note that unless otherwise stated, the above recipes are enough for one serving. Since the 5:2 diet is quite restrictive on fasting days, remember to keep hydrated by drinking a lot of water. You are also allowed to have plain, unsweetened coffee or tea.
Points To Note
This diet should not be confused with a very low-calorie diet (VLCD). Unlike this intermittent fasting regimen, the VLCD is a clinically supervised diet where persons eat 800 or less calories every day(20). A very low-calorie diet is prescribed to obese and severely obese people who manage diabetes, have surgery or are preparing for fertility treatments.
While the 5:2 diet requires an intake of 600 calories for two days of the week, a VLCD is done every day for a maximum of 12 weeks and only by patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher under close supervision by a medical doctor (21). Do not under any circumstance mistake a 600-calorie diet for a very low-calorie diet. This can be very detrimental to your health
The Bottom Line
The 600-calorie diet is an alternate day fast that has been shown to help people lose weight. It is a fantastic way to lose weight gradually, and it is also a great stepping stone to learning how to live a more healthy life.
For better results while on the 5:2 diet, be sure not to overeat or overindulge on the non-fasting days. Try to keep your foods wholesome and healthy. If you do not mind what you eat on these five days, chances are that you will pack on the pounds instead of losing them.
Also, be sure to increase your physical activity during the day by working out. As usual, remember to always consult your doctor before starting on a new diet or workout routine. You do not need to put your health at risk just to lose weight.