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.
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).
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.
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%*\$
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.
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 . 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.
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.
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.
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?
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.