‘Diabetes remission: research needs and translation into practice’ – Professor Shahrad Taheri

Posted On: 4th August 2020

Professor Shahrad Taheri

The prevalence of obesity and its complications such as type 2 diabetes (T2D) is increasing worldwide. In particular, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has one of the highest prevalence of obesity and T2D in the world with onset of both conditions at a younger age than observed in western populations.

The general view that T2D is an irreversible disease requiring lifelong medical treatment with an increasing array of medications has recently been challenged by the DiRECT study in the UK and by the DIADEM-I study conducted in Qatar. The DIADEM-I study recruited participants aged 18-50 years with shorter diabetes duration (≤ 3 years) and randomised them into usual best medical care or an intensive lifestyle intervention including diet, physical activity support, and behaviour change. The diet intervention included a total diet replacement phase using formula low-energy diet meal replacement products followed by gradual food introduction, and own diet thereafter.

Unlike previous studies, the participants were mainly male, originated from 13 different countries, and were younger. 147 participants (70 in the intervention group and 77 in the control group) were included in the final analysis. At 12 months, both groups achieved weight loss but the weight loss was about 4 times greater with the lifestyle intervention. The majority of those in the lifestyle intervention (61%) achieved diabetes remission and 33% achieved normoglycaemia. There were also significant cardiovascular benefits. Based on findings from DIADEM-I, the first diabetes reversal clinics in the MENA region have been established. The presentation will discuss findings from the DIADEM-I study, future research needs, and challenges in translating research findings into clinical services.

TDMR TaheriJuly2020

Dr. Shahrad Taheri joined Weill Cornell Medicine – Qatar (WCM-Q) in August 2013 as Professor of Medicine and Director of the Clinical Research Core. Dr. Taheri has extensive experience of leading the multi-professional care of patients with obesity and diabetes within the UK NHS. He has also led large multidisciplinary research teams aiming to develop, implement, and evaluate clinical services for patients with diabetes and obesity.

Dr. Taheri’s research experience extends from basic laboratory to human intervention, and population studies. His research interests are increasingly focused on the development, conduct, and implementation of a range of clinical trials into diabetes and obesity, and linking these trials to investigation of disease mechanisms through laboratory studies.  Dr. Taheri has a vibrant portfolio of research studies into diabetes, obesity, and sleep. His goal at WCMC-Q is to develop and lead an internationally recognized, dedicated, collaborative research group performing clinically relevant investigation into diabetes and obesity, and their complications. This approach aims to have a major impact on public health, patient care, and advancement of medical science, making a significant contribution to Qatar’s healthcare system and Qatar’s vision to develop as a center of excellence in medical research.

Total Diet & Meal Replacements Europe (TDMR Europe)’s webinar, ‘Reducing future risk: Obesity co-morbidities and nutritional status’, attracted over 100 academics, policymakers and medical specialists from all over the world.

The webinar, which had been awarded SCOPE World Obesity Federation accreditation, highlighted the use of total diet replacements to reduce future risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease and diminish severe outcomes in COVID-19 among at-risk subgroups within populations. The speakers discussed a range of diverse and challenging topics, including obesity, nutritional status and COVID-19, TDR to achieve diabetes remission and diabetes risk reduction, TDR and vitamin D status in elderly obese people with knee osteoarthritis, and research needs and translation into practice in the context of diabetes remission.

TDMR Europe represents the voice of European manufacturers and distributors of formula diet products, including Total Diet Replacements (TDRs) and Meal Replacement Products (MRPs), that provide weight loss and weight management programmes for overweight and obese individuals.

If you would like to contact TDMR Europe to discuss the webinar or any other matter, email secretariat@tdmr-europe.com.

  1. Lean ME, Leslie WS, Barnes AC, et al. Primary care-led weight management for remission of type 2 diabetes (DiRECT): an open-label, cluster-randomised trial. Lancet 2018;391(10120):541-51.
  2. Taheri S, Chagoury O, Zaghloul H, et al. Diabetes Intervention Accentuating Diet and Enhancing Metabolism (DIADEM-I): a randomised controlled trial to examine the impact of an intensive lifestyle intervention consisting of a low-energy diet and physical activity on body weight and metabolism in early type 2 diabetes mellitus: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials 2018;19(1):284.
  3. Taheri S, Zaghloul H, Chagoury O, et al. Effect of intensive lifestyle intervention on bodyweight and glycaemia in early type 2 diabetes (DIADEM-I): an open-label, parallel-group, randomised controlled trial. The lancet Diabetes & endocrinology 2020;8:477–89.