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Could you go 8 weeks on 600 calories a day?

by (606)
Updated about 14 hours ago
Created June 24, 2011 at 1:58 AM

A study showed some people with type 2 diabetes were cured of the disease after going on a 600-calorie-a-day diet for 8 weeks. So I'm thinking maybe semi-fasting like this for a long period each year could be a good re-set for your metabolism. It makes sense from a paleo perspective as our ancestors likely had to go without much food periodically during the year. 600 calories is not much though. I would probably last a week to ten days and then cave in. How about you?

EDIT BY PATRIK -- Hopefully, this question is just a silly, theoretical exercise: MY OPINION: DO NOT DO THIS. THIS SOUNDS LIKE A GREAT WAY TO DAMAGE YOURSELF PERMANENTLY. SEE PERSONMAN'S ANSWER BELOW.

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14877 · May 22, 2012 at 12:30 AM

"Dieting as you suggest got me to 325 lbs." To be fair, NOT dieting how Jackson suggests got you to 325.

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14877 · May 22, 2012 at 12:06 AM

"Dieting as you suggest got me 325 lbs so I am not a fan." Also funny because actually, not dieting how he suggests is how you got to 325.

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14877 · May 22, 2012 at 12:05 AM

"The cure for obesity will not be found in a math equation." Haha. And yet, you're the one who lets statistics and graphs determine your willingness to try something.

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24271 · April 20, 2012 at 1:01 AM

Congratulations Jackson! It's great that you found something that worked for you but it's a miracle that it did. The stats for successful weight loss and the ability to sustain it over time are abbysmal for a diet with such few calories. The cure for obesity will not be found in a math equation. If this worked it would have worked by now. I'm glad it helped to kickstart your weight loss but that simply is not the case for most. It usually ends in complete disaster. I just get crazy when I see this sort of thing promoted. Dieting as you suggest got me to 325 lbs so I am not a fan.

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222 · April 19, 2012 at 9:36 PM

And to answer your question: yes. I was well within the "obese" category for 6+ years before I found keto and paleo. To kick start my weight loss, I ate ~800cal/day for a month. I lost ~20#. This period of time was not unpleasant (I felt better than I ever had on a SAD diet), nor did I gain back the weight I lost during that time. I continued a low-ish carb paleo diet after that and continue to lose weight. I'm currently 185 down from 235 with a little more fat to lose.

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222 · April 19, 2012 at 9:32 PM

Actually, there are documented cases of severely obese people fasting for more than 6 months with great improvements in health. Of course, this should be done under the supervision of a good doctor and is definitely not a good idea for most people. The topic at hand is an 8-week semi-fast. Based on my review of the available literature, the documented benefits of such a regime on someone who is overweight or obese are too clear to reasonably dispute.

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24271 · April 19, 2012 at 9:22 PM

Have you ever been fat Jackson? 8 weeks will get you may 10-20 lbs? What about the person who needs to lose 100 or more. Just stick with it for what, 6 months? A year? Should be so simple right? It just doesn't work like that. It doesn't. I think you are discounting how badly a body wants to stay fat. This is not about being in ketosis or whatever. It is asking someone to declare war on their body. A war they will very likely lose and then some.

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222 · April 19, 2012 at 8:23 PM

Great going, Edgar! I'd recommend switching out those morning oats (aka sugar sludge) for some fish, eggs, or beef--you'll maintain more muscle mass that way and hopefully take some additional edge off your hunger.

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222 · April 19, 2012 at 8:20 PM

I disagree. I would avoid all fruit and sugar on a fast like this. Low carb veggies would be beneficial (as you said), but I don't think fruit would be helpful. I'd base my diet on fatty meats and eggs if I did this.

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222 · April 19, 2012 at 8:18 PM

This can work for you, but you need to be smart about it! I recommend getting yourself into ketosis before you start the fast. Do this by limiting your carbohydrate intake to <20 grams per day. Once you're over the initial weakness/headaches (some people don't have these symptoms), you will feel great! That's when you should start the calorie restriction. Stick mostly to fatty meat and eggs, still limiting carb intake below ~20-50g/day. By the end of 8 weeks, you should feel great, look svelte, and hopefully have drastically improved insulin sensitivity! Please let us know how this goes!

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222 · April 19, 2012 at 8:12 PM

Good luck on your recovery, dear. I have friends who have struggled with this and it's painful to watch.

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222 · April 19, 2012 at 8:11 PM

It's a shame they used a highly processed, sugary drink for the 600 daily calories. I'm sure it would have been much easier for them if they had gotten the calories from fatty meat cuts.

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222 · April 19, 2012 at 8:07 PM

@Shari: Is it a starvation diet if you're easily meeting your caloric needs using stored bodyfat?

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222 · April 19, 2012 at 8:05 PM

I understand what you're saying here, but it seems like you're entirely discounting the benefits of fasting. The key would be to teach these people about the impact of sugar and insulin on the body, then get them into a ketogenic state. Once in ketosis, it would be relatively easy to maintain a 600 calorie diet for 8 weeks, assuming the person has lots of stored fat. After the 8 weeks, the person could increase calories while continuing to limit carbohydrates to a reasonable level. The seems like a perfectly reasonable way to rehab a broken metabolism.

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222 · April 19, 2012 at 7:59 PM

This sounds like a psychological problem to me, not directly related to nutrition. Yes, living in an anorexic state for a long period of time will destroy one's body. However, intermittent fasting (and yes, for some obese and metabolically broken people, 8 weeks consecutively is 'intermittent') has many proven benefits. It should not be discounted simply because it can be abused.

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3049 · April 19, 2012 at 4:37 PM

Christine, you are so right. I ate like this for over a year and hurt my body. I now eat 2000 cal a day and am as thin now- though muscular, healthy and strong. Good luck to you: this IS something you can recover from.

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11557 · April 19, 2012 at 2:19 PM

Yeah, I feel like my Ramadan friends enjoy a lot of party food...

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11557 · April 19, 2012 at 2:12 PM

One of my aunts practiced this behavior, but she ended up with diagnoses for schizophrenia (runs in our family) b/c she actually had a grandiose idea that she was a queen of the peasants, but she didn't tell anyone that for years. It's super hard to get most people in for a diagnoses, but sometimes this behavior may be the result of another mental disorder the person is trying to cover up. Best of luck!

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10255 · January 19, 2012 at 10:46 PM

i had no real way of measuring but i could see my ribs for the first time in my life.

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6719 · January 19, 2012 at 5:05 PM

aaaand. how much fat did you lose in those 2 weeks?

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7540 · August 21, 2011 at 10:17 PM

But of course you're going to regain weight after this, that's inescapable. Unless you plan on eating 600 calories or less a day for the rest of your life.

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606 · August 11, 2011 at 2:57 AM

Yes, Patrik, it's a hypothetical question. But I wouldn't say it's silly! I think this study has raised some interesting questions and discussion. Any kind of fasting comes with potential health risks so of course I would not be in favour of anyone undertaking a fast without first consulting their doctor.

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18671 · June 25, 2011 at 5:25 PM

I'm a nitpicker myself, so I appreciate your comment. :-) I guess pseudo-science is a more appropriate label for the interpretation and application than for the study itself, as is often the case. After all, studies themselves aren't science, they are just observations that are more or less useful for scientific advancement.

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15415 · June 25, 2011 at 2:28 PM

Why? To cure yourself of type 2 diabetes? Don't you think that is a good reason?

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606 · June 25, 2011 at 1:39 AM

101 remarks make a lot of sense. It's an interesting read. However, I would not call the study pseudo-science. There's a big difference between pseudo-science and a poorly designed study. Ok, so I'm nitpicking, but just wanted to put that out there.

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606 · June 25, 2011 at 1:24 AM

Great response, thanks, Matthew. I am also very interested to see the state of their health a year from now and beyond. I hope they conduct further studies with more patients to see what effects different amounts of calories and durations have, and even include non-diabetics to see if it benefits the pancreas.

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24523 · June 24, 2011 at 8:16 PM

Yes-- answering questions is not mandatory, and this reply would be more suitable for a comment. Or even waiting until you read other people's answers and seeing if the comment has already been addressed. What's that quote about patience again? "Patience is good, something something blah blah."

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6235 · June 24, 2011 at 3:37 PM

Thank you for the link to the study. I am not diabetic, but I think I would be happy to do this if I became diabetic.

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78422 · June 24, 2011 at 1:18 PM

He can't explain as he lives in bad faith and denial. It is his way to 'self-actualize' and 'rebel'.

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15976 · June 24, 2011 at 11:54 AM

again, Q, why do you post completely useless faux-answers? use the comments for comments or if you post something as an answer, why not say something that may help the OP?

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15976 · June 24, 2011 at 11:51 AM

i think the key is that these people were sick, metabolically damaged people. For them a think an intervention in this extreme manner might be beneficial in the final analysis. i don't think we can extrapolate a mainstream diabetes-cure, etc from it. Just cuz no one would do it. I don't think anyone not sick should test this out, though.

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15593 · June 24, 2011 at 8:24 AM

To restore pancreas function...

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15593 · June 24, 2011 at 8:22 AM

I was just reading this paper. Very interesting that pancreas function can be restored in weeks. As to the calorie restriction. I'd have thought that fasting for a week would be easier than continually eating a small-moderate amount. They may even have done better only eating the (potentially flavourless) nutrient drink, rather than eating low calorie vegetables as recommended.

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11111 · June 24, 2011 at 3:49 AM

At the end of an 8 week cycle your would not be capable of gorging, food is introduced slowly and with easily digestible foods first. I have fasted for Spiritual reasons many times in my life for up to 4 weeks at a time.

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1196 · June 24, 2011 at 3:35 AM

Yeah, I was thinking that. I could do it, but I'd be divorced by hubby AND kids before I was done.

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4181 · June 24, 2011 at 3:33 AM

for 8 weeks though? Good grief, I don't think I'd make it anywhere near that length of time - not to mention I don't think I could afford to lose the lean muscle-

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90 · June 24, 2011 at 2:53 AM

Wow, that's a sad yet fascinating comment. It must be very distressing on all the other family members to see that happening. How does he explain it to people, or is he beyond that? You have my sympathies.

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10255 · June 24, 2011 at 2:50 AM

i felt okay. at that point in my evolution i had eliminated sugars, processed foods and all beverages with the exception of black coffee, green tea and water and ate only raw vegetables. the second day was tough, but i went into ketosis on the third day and all was well.

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15976 · June 24, 2011 at 2:30 AM

How'd you feel during it?

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15976 · June 24, 2011 at 2:29 AM

600 cals is a snack;) seriously though I think there is def something good about giving your digestion and whole body a nice break every once in a while. I don't do it but I have a sense that it'd be beneficial. That sounds weird but

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24271 · June 24, 2011 at 2:17 AM

Only a very, very few can keep weight off when they come by it via starvation diets so I just don't see the point in any of this. This study has not done any follow-up. Gee, I wonder what they will find a year from now? That's a real head scratcher.

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7540 · June 24, 2011 at 2:14 AM

That's true. Not risky, but for some individuals it might not be a good idea. Some people don't respond to dieting/calorie restriction by bingeing or overeating, but a quick perusal of any dieting forum will tell you that some people do. I suppose it's an individual thing.

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78422 · June 24, 2011 at 2:11 AM

People do it during Ramadan and my Muslim friends tell me they feel fantastic. But doing it for a spiritual cleanse with a mindset for overall Heath...mind, body, spirit may be more effective. Mindset is key.

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606 · June 24, 2011 at 2:10 AM

As for who knows or cares what our ancestors might have done, that would be me and some other members on PALEOhacks!

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606 · June 24, 2011 at 2:08 AM

But how much would you really gorge? You might have a few hearty meals at the end of the 8-week period but I doubt you'd want to undo the health gains you achieved. I agree that most people could end up gradually gaining the weight back again. But I wouldn't say such a program would be risky.

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33 Answers

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78422 · June 24, 2011 at 2:08 AM

My brother, who is a self-starving anorexic/body dismorphic/obsessive compulsive neurotic has: been on a diet approximating this(at the upper bound) caloric level for many YEARS. He may not be that functional, may be very anxious and non-performative, but he has survived. His diet has consisted of(eg.): exclusively oats...then: exclusively oriental-style instant noodles...then: a "soup" consisting of vegetables and tuna in water. He consume this at most three times per day(usually two times). Sadly he has, in my opinion degenerated to a skeletal appearance and has probably catabolized much of his more functional tissues to make up the difference in caloric restriction. His thought process has slowed and he is very physically weak. Being a stubborn person he refuses help of all kinds and becomes volatile when confronted with the issue. It is sad that in our society only the affluent classes(or those who aspire to "one up" them) take this anemic-royalty route: asceticism. A word of warning: read Nietszche on "the meaning of aescetic ideals" and you may be less willing to kill yourself slowly. Find a better outlet for your intensity. If you wish to crusade do so for a more positive purpose. As hegel said: "When luxury is at its height, distress and depravity are equally extreme..." Understand that the luxury of our society usually leads many people(perhaps too influenced by christian-esque values) to cultivate asceticism as an "opposition to refinement". Think positive. Don't make yourself into a MARTYR(I mean this in the most supportive way).

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78422 · June 24, 2011 at 1:18 PM

He can't explain as he lives in bad faith and denial. It is his way to 'self-actualize' and 'rebel'.

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90 · June 24, 2011 at 2:53 AM

Wow, that's a sad yet fascinating comment. It must be very distressing on all the other family members to see that happening. How does he explain it to people, or is he beyond that? You have my sympathies.

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11557 · April 19, 2012 at 2:12 PM

One of my aunts practiced this behavior, but she ended up with diagnoses for schizophrenia (runs in our family) b/c she actually had a grandiose idea that she was a queen of the peasants, but she didn't tell anyone that for years. It's super hard to get most people in for a diagnoses, but sometimes this behavior may be the result of another mental disorder the person is trying to cover up. Best of luck!

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222 · April 19, 2012 at 7:59 PM

This sounds like a psychological problem to me, not directly related to nutrition. Yes, living in an anorexic state for a long period of time will destroy one's body. However, intermittent fasting (and yes, for some obese and metabolically broken people, 8 weeks consecutively is 'intermittent') has many proven benefits. It should not be discounted simply because it can be abused.

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24271 · June 24, 2011 at 2:26 AM

I have done it more times than I care to admit to. Optifast, Medifast, etc. I will never, ever do one of these starvation diets again. They reset nothing for me. And yes, the backlash is horrendous.

A lot of people can do it but who actually keeps the weight off? No one. Effectively no one anyway. Ideas like this offer up nothing but false hope IMO. Getting rid of your fat and your diabetes for a few months only to get it all back? Ridiculous. If these people knew how to lose weight and then keep it off they'd have done it already. Starving them for a few months then release them back into the wild to fend for themselves accomplishes a big fat nothing other than to make people feel worse about themselves in the end.

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222 · April 19, 2012 at 9:32 PM

Actually, there are documented cases of severely obese people fasting for more than 6 months with great improvements in health. Of course, this should be done under the supervision of a good doctor and is definitely not a good idea for most people. The topic at hand is an 8-week semi-fast. Based on my review of the available literature, the documented benefits of such a regime on someone who is overweight or obese are too clear to reasonably dispute.

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24271 · April 19, 2012 at 9:22 PM

Have you ever been fat Jackson? 8 weeks will get you may 10-20 lbs? What about the person who needs to lose 100 or more. Just stick with it for what, 6 months? A year? Should be so simple right? It just doesn't work like that. It doesn't. I think you are discounting how badly a body wants to stay fat. This is not about being in ketosis or whatever. It is asking someone to declare war on their body. A war they will very likely lose and then some.

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24271 · April 20, 2012 at 1:01 AM

Congratulations Jackson! It's great that you found something that worked for you but it's a miracle that it did. The stats for successful weight loss and the ability to sustain it over time are abbysmal for a diet with such few calories. The cure for obesity will not be found in a math equation. If this worked it would have worked by now. I'm glad it helped to kickstart your weight loss but that simply is not the case for most. It usually ends in complete disaster. I just get crazy when I see this sort of thing promoted. Dieting as you suggest got me to 325 lbs so I am not a fan.

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222 · April 19, 2012 at 8:05 PM

I understand what you're saying here, but it seems like you're entirely discounting the benefits of fasting. The key would be to teach these people about the impact of sugar and insulin on the body, then get them into a ketogenic state. Once in ketosis, it would be relatively easy to maintain a 600 calorie diet for 8 weeks, assuming the person has lots of stored fat. After the 8 weeks, the person could increase calories while continuing to limit carbohydrates to a reasonable level. The seems like a perfectly reasonable way to rehab a broken metabolism.

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222 · April 19, 2012 at 9:36 PM

And to answer your question: yes. I was well within the "obese" category for 6+ years before I found keto and paleo. To kick start my weight loss, I ate ~800cal/day for a month. I lost ~20#. This period of time was not unpleasant (I felt better than I ever had on a SAD diet), nor did I gain back the weight I lost during that time. I continued a low-ish carb paleo diet after that and continue to lose weight. I'm currently 185 down from 235 with a little more fat to lose.

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14877 · May 22, 2012 at 12:30 AM

"Dieting as you suggest got me to 325 lbs." To be fair, NOT dieting how Jackson suggests got you to 325.

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14877 · May 22, 2012 at 12:05 AM

"The cure for obesity will not be found in a math equation." Haha. And yet, you're the one who lets statistics and graphs determine your willingness to try something.

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14877 · May 22, 2012 at 12:06 AM

"Dieting as you suggest got me 325 lbs so I am not a fan." Also funny because actually, not dieting how he suggests is how you got to 325.

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10919 · June 24, 2011 at 2:07 AM

Probably went away because they were on a lower carb high fat diet... Their own body fat.

Oh, and the answer to your question is, if I had type 2 diabetes and this was the only option I knew... Sure, but I'd go vlc first before I tied something so drastic. It'd turn me in to a starved raving b%*\$

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7540 · June 24, 2011 at 2:02 AM

Sounds like a great way to trigger some wicked rebound bingeing as soon as the 8 weeks is over. Our "ancestors" might have done it (though who knows or cares- this isn't reenactment) but they didn't have unlimited access to food after, and so couldn't have gorged in the way we can. For that reason I would say it seems like a risky thing for most of us. Edit: to actually answer the question, I've eaten 800-1000 calories a day consistently for about 4 months in the past, and it wasn't miserable, though not exactly fun- and I missed being able to exercise strenuously. 600, though...I think that would be pushing it. Getting lightheaded walking up the stairs or getting out of bed sucks.

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7540 · June 24, 2011 at 2:14 AM

That's true. Not risky, but for some individuals it might not be a good idea. Some people don't respond to dieting/calorie restriction by bingeing or overeating, but a quick perusal of any dieting forum will tell you that some people do. I suppose it's an individual thing.

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24271 · June 24, 2011 at 2:17 AM

Only a very, very few can keep weight off when they come by it via starvation diets so I just don't see the point in any of this. This study has not done any follow-up. Gee, I wonder what they will find a year from now? That's a real head scratcher.

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606 · June 24, 2011 at 2:10 AM

As for who knows or cares what our ancestors might have done, that would be me and some other members on PALEOhacks!

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606 · June 24, 2011 at 2:08 AM

But how much would you really gorge? You might have a few hearty meals at the end of the 8-week period but I doubt you'd want to undo the health gains you achieved. I agree that most people could end up gradually gaining the weight back again. But I wouldn't say such a program would be risky.

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11111 · June 24, 2011 at 3:49 AM

At the end of an 8 week cycle your would not be capable of gorging, food is introduced slowly and with easily digestible foods first. I have fasted for Spiritual reasons many times in my life for up to 4 weeks at a time.

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222 · April 19, 2012 at 8:07 PM

@Shari: Is it a starvation diet if you're easily meeting your caloric needs using stored bodyfat?

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18701 · June 24, 2011 at 2:06 AM

I could manage, I'm sure. But you wouldn't want to have to talk to me!

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1196 · June 24, 2011 at 3:35 AM

Yeah, I was thinking that. I could do it, but I'd be divorced by hubby AND kids before I was done.

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40 · April 19, 2012 at 1:50 PM

Hey people, i just want to say that i have anorexia, and i only eat about 500-600 calories per day. it makes you really weak. don't do it. i'm really sick, and i'm soon going to the hospital. i just wanted to let you all know.

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222 · April 19, 2012 at 8:12 PM

Good luck on your recovery, dear. I have friends who have struggled with this and it's painful to watch.

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3049 · April 19, 2012 at 4:37 PM

Christine, you are so right. I ate like this for over a year and hurt my body. I now eat 2000 cal a day and am as thin now- though muscular, healthy and strong. Good luck to you: this IS something you can recover from.

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19220 · June 24, 2011 at 2:59 PM

The full text of the study is available here.

It is very interesting, though still small in scale and short term in nature.

During the study the participants consumed 510 calories of Optifast diet drinks supplemented with three portions of non-starchy vegetables each day.

The participants had diabetes for less than 4 years and were not being treated with any medication. The authors accept that it may not work for people who have had diabetes for a longer time.

The average weight lost during the 8 weeks was 15 kg of which 61% was fat loss. They must have stuck to the diet plan.

At 12 weeks after the study ended the average weight regained was 3.1 kg. This does not seem to be much considering how much they lost.

From the conclusions:

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 [11]. This provides a unified hypothesis to explain a common disease that previously appeared to require separate disease processes affecting the pancreas and insulin-sensitive tissues.

I don't think I could easliy manage 8 weeks on a slimming drink and some vegetables but then I am not overweight and diabetic. Curing your diabetes would be a good incentive to stick to it.

What needs to be shown is how long the effects of the study lasted for, as they only seem to have tested at 12 weeks after it ended. It would be interesting to see how the patients are a year later.

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6235 · June 24, 2011 at 3:37 PM

Thank you for the link to the study. I am not diabetic, but I think I would be happy to do this if I became diabetic.

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606 · June 25, 2011 at 1:24 AM

Great response, thanks, Matthew. I am also very interested to see the state of their health a year from now and beyond. I hope they conduct further studies with more patients to see what effects different amounts of calories and durations have, and even include non-diabetics to see if it benefits the pancreas.

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222 · April 19, 2012 at 8:11 PM

It's a shame they used a highly processed, sugary drink for the 600 daily calories. I'm sure it would have been much easier for them if they had gotten the calories from fatty meat cuts.

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8879 · September 01, 2011 at 2:03 PM

I did two blog posts on this one.
The Diabetes "Crash" Cure & Pancreatic Fat
Diabetes "Crash" Cures: VLCal vs. VLCarb

If I had diabetes, I sure as heck would give it a go. Even with some regain 7 remained diabetes free as in being able to return to a "normal" diet. I would probably do a Lyle McD style PSMF with chix breast, white fish and tuna though, and IF to keep that low calorie level more manageable.

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18671 · June 24, 2011 at 5:00 PM

There's a thoughtful response from Blood Sugar 101. Excerpt:

It is yet another example of the tragically flawed pseudo-science that damages the health of people with diabetes.

There's no mystery here, nor is the effect reported a result of "reducing fat in the pancreas" as the doctor who came up with this "cure" suggests. All he has done is craft a "balanced" diet that has so few calories it is also low in carbohydrates.

More at the link.

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606 · June 25, 2011 at 1:39 AM

101 remarks make a lot of sense. It's an interesting read. However, I would not call the study pseudo-science. There's a big difference between pseudo-science and a poorly designed study. Ok, so I'm nitpicking, but just wanted to put that out there.

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18671 · June 25, 2011 at 5:25 PM

I'm a nitpicker myself, so I appreciate your comment. :-) I guess pseudo-science is a more appropriate label for the interpretation and application than for the study itself, as is often the case. After all, studies themselves aren't science, they are just observations that are more or less useful for scientific advancement.

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1002 · June 24, 2011 at 2:30 AM

I'd like to know what to eat on 600 Calories a day? I have type 2 and am currently curing myself eating Paleo, but am very interested in knowing what type of foods one consumes...I could eat a 600 calorie steak and be done for the day, but what are the calories consisting of?

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222 · April 19, 2012 at 8:18 PM

This can work for you, but you need to be smart about it! I recommend getting yourself into ketosis before you start the fast. Do this by limiting your carbohydrate intake to <20 grams per day. Once you're over the initial weakness/headaches (some people don't have these symptoms), you will feel great! That's when you should start the calorie restriction. Stick mostly to fatty meat and eggs, still limiting carb intake below ~20-50g/day. By the end of 8 weeks, you should feel great, look svelte, and hopefully have drastically improved insulin sensitivity! Please let us know how this goes!

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10255 · June 24, 2011 at 2:26 AM

a couple of years ago i did two weeks of 700 cals a day. i used a whey isolate that was 24g/90cals for protein and ate loads of celery/spinach. i had to forego my 5K lunch time runs after the first week and a half as it was just too much with weight training too.
i could have managed 8 weeks.

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15976 · June 24, 2011 at 2:30 AM

How'd you feel during it?

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10255 · June 24, 2011 at 2:50 AM

i felt okay. at that point in my evolution i had eliminated sugars, processed foods and all beverages with the exception of black coffee, green tea and water and ate only raw vegetables. the second day was tough, but i went into ketosis on the third day and all was well.

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6719 · January 19, 2012 at 5:05 PM

aaaand. how much fat did you lose in those 2 weeks?

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10255 · January 19, 2012 at 10:46 PM

i had no real way of measuring but i could see my ribs for the first time in my life.

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10 · March 15, 2012 at 2:33 AM

The paper was based on previous studies that showed gastric banding could put diabetes into remission in some patients despite them still being obese. The difference appears to be a reduction in fat surrounding the internal organs that contributes in some way to insulin resistance. All of the patients were still obese after the diet. It's not a matter of how much fat, but what kind of fat. This is a neat if brief experiment that suggests further testing would be beneficial.

It isn't a recommendation for crash dieting. It merely suggests that in the case of type two diabetics, it might be possible to induce remission through short term, drastic calorie reduction. Added to sensible approaches to diet and exercise, those in remission may dodge the diabetes gig for good. I'd do it if it would get me off insulin.

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1231 · August 03, 2011 at 3:43 AM

i have no desire to even try. so no.

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2028 · July 28, 2011 at 1:23 PM

I think the only way I could make it the full 8 weeks is if I had a compelling medical or health reason to do so. If I were convinced that a specific diet that added up to just 600 calories a day was the best way to cure whatever severe ailment or disease I had, that'd be motivation enough.

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10 · July 28, 2011 at 5:14 AM

i have type 2 diabetes since i heard about the study the 600 hundred calories per day for 60 days will reverse it. so in the morning a eat a 250 calories oatmeal then the rest of the day vegetables is been 27 days and i lost 12 pounds...27 days ago my weigth was 160 lbs and my weigth now is 148 lbs if i don't reverse it i have nothing lose but my weigth...

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222 · April 19, 2012 at 8:23 PM

Great going, Edgar! I'd recommend switching out those morning oats (aka sugar sludge) for some fish, eggs, or beef--you'll maintain more muscle mass that way and hopefully take some additional edge off your hunger.

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15415 · June 24, 2011 at 7:15 PM

Just my opinion, I've never tried it, but this doesn't sound tooo extreme to me. I have known people to go 7 days without solid food as a "cleanse". Generally I think most healthy people can go a few days without food without a big problem.

600 calories is 6 eggs, or 12 ounces of steak, or 22oz of sweet potatoes, or 80 grams of butter, or 85 cups of chard. I dunno, if you ate one small meal a day, you'd probably be hungry all the time but could probably do it.

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8757 · June 24, 2011 at 1:46 PM

sure! I find if I don't add any fats in my calorie intake is pretty low. Then again I'm 5'2 and 119lbs, 46!

BUT, why would you want to? It seems to me you might do more harm than good? perhaps send your body into starvation protection mode? burn muscle instead of fat?

What is your size, age and perhaps you can figure out a better number (double this?) to do an extended IF?

best of luck to you, stay healthy!!

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1724 · June 24, 2011 at 9:18 AM

I've done a 40-day water only fast and many week-long fasts, though I don't think I'd do that anymore. For me, I think water-only would be much easier than consuming 600 cals a day. There is a definite spiritual/zen-type thing that happens. And no, in my case at least, it did not result in a great binge at the end. I (obviously) lost quite a bit of weight on the 40-day fast and I kept about half of it off for quite awhile.

BTW, very few Muslims during Ramadan consume few calories. In fact, it's quite the norm to actually gain weight because there are a lot of special Ramadan foods and every evening, the breaking of the fast is often a big party.

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1724 · June 24, 2011 at 9:11 AM

I've done a 40-day water only fast and many week-long fasts, though I don't think I'd do that anymore. For me, I think water-only would be much easier than consuming 600 cals a day. There is a definite spiritual/zen-type thing that happens. And no, in my case at least, it did not result in a great binge at the end. I (obviously) lost quite a bit of weight on the 40-day fast and I kept about half of it off for quite awhile.

BTW, very few Muslims during Ramadan consume few calories. In fact, it's quite the norm to actually gain weight because there are a lot of special Ramadan foods and every evening, the breaking of the fast is often a big party.

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11557 · April 19, 2012 at 2:19 PM

Yeah, I feel like my Ramadan friends enjoy a lot of party food...

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170 · June 24, 2011 at 8:15 AM

600 calories a day could be a sustainable short-term diet IF you ate the right kind of calories. Vegetables are so low in calories but can fill you up quickly. I can't even eat a whole head of broccoli without feeling stuffed! And that equates to about 100 calories. The trick is to eat high fibre, high water content foods like fruit (in smaller quantities) and vegetables. You wouldn't be going hungry. Vegies like broccoli actually contain a good amount of protien too (about 14g in one broccoli) so eat enough and you'll still have energy for low intensity exercise (although I'd recommend keeping the exercise to a minimum while partially fasting)

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222 · April 19, 2012 at 8:20 PM

I disagree. I would avoid all fruit and sugar on a fast like this. Low carb veggies would be beneficial (as you said), but I don't think fruit would be helpful. I'd base my diet on fatty meats and eggs if I did this.

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35 · June 24, 2011 at 2:08 AM

There are people that go longer on water fasts. In a keto diet forum, the majority of people who were losing tons of weight were eating 800-1200kcal day. It's really up to you.

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7967 · September 07, 2013 at 12:44 AM

I might die. Of course I am underweight, lean, eat a lot every day just to maintain my weight, and feel like I want to kill myself (migraine, severe nausea, shaking, brain fog, muscle pain) if I have to fast for so much as a day, so that's just me. I have some blood sugar issues, my metabolism is 'fast', and I don't think my fat stores are sufficient to keep me going for long at all...

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0 · September 07, 2013 at 12:44 AM

I'm on the 13th day of this diet and it is going very well.

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0 · November 16, 2012 at 4:59 PM

I have done a one week water fast and felt it was beneficial pre diabetes. I am going to try this using protein shakes and non starchy vegetables and vitamin supplements. I do not think 8 weeks is going to be determental and chances are that it will even be beneficial but I definately think it is worth a try.

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14877 · May 21, 2012 at 11:59 PM

Yes, I could and I have. It was unpleasant but would I do it again if I was obese and it could restore pancreas function and reverse my diabetes? For sure.

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0 · May 21, 2012 at 11:51 PM

Greetings everyone! Figure out your maintenance level of calories. The amount of calories consumed it takes, to maintain your body weight. From that amount, you deduct 10-20 % calories. Wait a week to 10 days and see if you begin to lose weight. If you do, maintain this amount of calories, after the 10-20 % deduction, until you hit a plateau. You then begin to deduct, another 10-20 % off of your current caloric intake. Set a goal of lets say 3-5 lbs, or so then, you reward yourself with your favorite dish, pastry, whatever. immediately, go back into your calorie counting days. So, as you wait to hit your goal, on your caloric deficit meal plan. Try not to eat more than 500 calories, when you reward yourself. So, if you are eating 2,000 calories daily, waiting on a 3-5 lb loss, once you hit your goal, do not consume more than 2,500 calories, on your higher calorie days. Hope this helps.

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14877 · April 19, 2012 at 5:32 PM

If I had type 2 diabetes, I most certainly would. ACUTE starvation has many health benefits. Long term starvation does not.

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1163 · April 19, 2012 at 2:14 PM

Its easier to i.f, I eat 1000 daily apart from wkends which is a freeforall

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0 · January 19, 2012 at 5:54 AM

i've been doing this for 2 weeks now, and have already lost 12 pounds.

typical day:

breakfast- 100 cal oatmeal pack with a little fruit, maybe a couple sliced strawerries (110 cals)

lunch- fruit salad, or homemade fruit smoothie in blender (strawberries, blue & blackberries, apple, pear, 1/2 banana, watermelon, etc. just add crushed ice if i'm blending it) (250 cals)

dinner- steamed pr grilled veggies with .5 cup of brown rice or 2oz baked or roasted chicken without skin, or maybe tuna with 1 slice of wheat toast and lettuce (150 cals)

snack- fruit again, or even a cookie if i want, a piece of chocolate, or prezels (50 cals)

that's only 560 calories right there, so i could even have another snack between lunch and dinner and be under 600. i feel energized eating this way, even have enough energy to go to the gym everynight :]

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0 · September 01, 2011 at 9:27 AM

My husband and I (I am the support) are on the diet we are on day 12 I have lost 4.6 kg but he has only lost 1. Very odd. Both feel okay so far, in fact I hanse been a bit hyper while he is sleepin far less than normal. Living on porridge, veg, salad and fish with a very low yoghurt or low fat jelly for dessert.

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0 · August 21, 2011 at 9:29 PM

I am on this diet now --for the last 40 days. It really isn't that hard. The first 4 days were bad but after that OK. As predicted, my blood sugars fell to normal in one week , I have lost 32 pounds so far. Of course I can't eat the way I used to after it is all over but my plan is to weigh every day and , if i gain a pound, go back on it till it goes away.

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7540 · August 21, 2011 at 10:17 PM

But of course you're going to regain weight after this, that's inescapable. Unless you plan on eating 600 calories or less a day for the rest of your life.

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10768 · July 28, 2011 at 3:01 PM

I could do it, but I suspect that the drive to hunt down any passing food animal would get a bit overwhelming in the third week.

I intermittent fast and just doing it for a day or two makes me eye many mammals I would with a hunters consideration.

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25467 · June 24, 2011 at 2:29 AM

I could do this easily.......but why?

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15593 · June 24, 2011 at 8:24 AM

To restore pancreas function...

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15976 · June 24, 2011 at 11:54 AM

again, Q, why do you post completely useless faux-answers? use the comments for comments or if you post something as an answer, why not say something that may help the OP?

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24523 · June 24, 2011 at 8:16 PM

Yes-- answering questions is not mandatory, and this reply would be more suitable for a comment. Or even waiting until you read other people's answers and seeing if the comment has already been addressed. What's that quote about patience again? "Patience is good, something something blah blah."

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15415 · June 25, 2011 at 2:28 PM

Why? To cure yourself of type 2 diabetes? Don't you think that is a good reason?

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