Mobile health, ketogenic diet reverse type 2 diabetes after one year

Researchers from Purdue University, IU Health Arnett and Virta Health have found the combination of nutritional ketosis with a mobile health application could safely reverse type 2 diabetes. Findings were published in Diabetes Therapy.

As Americans continue facing the obesity epidemic, rates of type 2 diabetes are on the rise. In this study, researchers examined the effects of remote mobile health patient monitoring paired with a high-fat, low-carb, moderate protein diet in preventing or reversing type 2 diabetes.

“We feel that it is really important to support a patient in many different ways,” said the study’s principal investigator, Dr. Sarah Hallberg. “Due to the unique structure of the trial and use of telemedicine, we helped prevent any significant hypoglycemic events. Instead of patients scheduling an office visit, they could log their blood sugar and ketone levels in the app. Then, both the patient and I could track their levels and make adjustments accordingly.”

A total of 349 patients were enrolled in the five-year study—87 of whom were put in the control group and received usual care while 262 followed the ketogenic diet and were provided connection to a health coach and physician through a mobile app.

In the first year of the study, 83 percent of the original enrollees remained in the study. First-year outcomes showed an average decrease of 1.3 percent in three-month hemoglobin levels and a 12 percent weight loss in the intervention group. Additionally, 94 percent of patients using insulin decreased or eliminated their need for the medication and 60 percent showed three-month hemoglobin levels below the diabetes threshold without the need for medication.

“Our results push against the accepted norm that A1C cannot be improved while taking patients off of medication,” Hallberg said. “Our trial shows we did both—sometimes in a matter of weeks—and sustained and even improved results at one year. Establishing the right intervention and remote support resources is critical for our treatment approach.”