Limited Evidence Supports Benefits of Commercial Weight Loss Programs in Diabetics

Article

More work is need to determine the impact of weight loss programs in lowering blood sugar concentrations in type 2 diabetes.

Few weight loss programs have been found to benefit patients with diabetes, a study published in Obesity Reviews found.

Researchers sought to determine whether these programs had a positive effect on blood sugar concentrations in type 2 diabetes. The study analyzed randomized clinical studies that evaluated the impact of different commercial weight loss programs on the blood sugar of overweight and obese people, with or without type 2 diabetes, that lasted a minimum of 12 weeks.

Only 18 studies met the criteria, and only a few focused primarily on patients with type 2 diabetes. There were 10 weight loss programs cited in the studies.

The results of the study found that across all the studies, which included a total of 764 type 2 diabetes patients, the Jenny Craig program reduced hemoglobin A1c after 12 months more than weight loss counseling alone. Additionally, Nutrisystem and Optifast reduced hemoglobin A1c after 6 months more than counseling alone.

Few studies were found to evaluate the effect of the commercial weight loss programs on blood sugar in 2428 people without type 2 diabetes. The 6 programs that did had no substantial reductions.

Authors noted that there may be other commercial programs that have a positive effect on blood sugar for patients with or without type 2 diabetes, but there are few studies that have rigorously evaluated the glycemic effects for physicians to recommend these programs as a whole.

“A few of these programs may be a viable option for improving blood sugar control in patients with type 2 diabetes and those at risk for the disease, but we need more gold-standard studies to make that claim,” said study lead Zoobia Chaudhry, MBBS, MD.

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