for people ages 18 years and up (full criteria)
at San Francisco, California
study started
estimated completion
Rick Hecht



Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is the most expensive chronic disease in the U.S. Lifestyle modification is central to T2DM management, but long-term adherence to dietary recommendations is difficult. A key challenge is the difficulty of coping with cravings for high carbohydrate or sugar-laden foods in an environment where these foods are tempting and widely available. One mechanism by which mindfulness may increase long-term dietary adherence is by better equipping individuals with skills to experience food cravings and difficult emotions without eating in response. Such approaches seek to strengthen abilities to be non-judgmentally aware of, tolerate, and respond skillfully to food cravings and difficult emotions without reacting impulsively or maladaptively. The investigators hypothesize that improved ability to manage food cravings and emotional eating is a key mechanism through which mindfulness-enhancements can improve dietary adherence. The study will test a mindfulness-based intervention (MBI) for improving dietary adherence. Although the particular diet employed is not the focus of this study, the study will use a diet with about 10% of calories from carbohydrate as: (1) it induces a low level of ketone production, which will be used as a biomarker for dietary adherence; (2) prior studies suggest it improves metabolic parameters in T2DM, including glycemic control.

Official Title

Optimizing Lifestyle Interventions With Mindfulness-based Strategies in Type 2 Diabetes


The study will use ecological momentary assessment (EMA) methods to measure eating in response to difficult emotions and/or food cravings. In the R61 phase, the team will ensure this measure is appropriate for further testing and assess the impact of the MBI components on our hypothesized behavioral mechanisms in N=60 persons with T2DM. The study plans 3 waves of 20 persons each with 12 weekly sessions. All participants will attend an in-person group course providing education on basic behavioral strategies for diet and physical activity. Participants will be randomized to receive this education alone (Ed) or this same material with added MBI components (Ed+MBI). The team will also pilot test two levels of intensity of maintenance phase intervention (monthly group meetings alone or supplemented by individualized attention) to prepare them for R33 testing. the investigators plan an R33 phase trial in which 120 persons with T2DM will be randomized (using a 1:2 ratio) to Ed or Ed+MBI conditions and followed for 12 months, including a 9-month maintenance phase. The study will test the robustness of the effect of MBI components on our proposed behavioral mechanisms, and on dietary adherence, as well as preliminary effect sizes on weight and glycemic control. The study will use an innovative adaptive intervention design to optimize maintenance phase intensity, which the investigators believe may be key to augment the MBI effects.


Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2Diabetes MellitusCarbohydrate-restricted dietMindfulnessDiet EducationDiet Education + Mindfulness


You can join if…

Open to people ages 18 years and up

  1. History of T2DM mellitus. If taking insulin, screening labs will include C-Peptide to rule out T1DM.
  2. HbA1c > 6.5% and < 12.0% at screening.
  3. Experience food-related cravings most days of the week and eat in response to these cravings regularly.
  4. Aged 18 years old and older.
  5. Able to engage in light physical activity.
  6. Willing and able to participate in the interventions. Must be interested in following a carbohydrate- restricted diet, willing to learn about mindful eating and behavioral strategies for following prescribed diets, have sufficient control over their food intake so that they can follow either diet, and otherwise be able and willing to participate in the intervention. Intervention content must be practiced to evaluate whether it is effective.
  7. Have smartphone and are willing to use it on a regular basis for data collection.
  8. Ability to speak English.

You CAN'T join if...

  1. Unable to provide informed consent.
  2. A substance abuse, mental health, or medical condition that, in the opinion of investigators, will make it difficult for the potential participant to participate in the intervention or that may need immediate changes in medical management that will affect study outcome measures. Such conditions may include cancer, liver failure, renal failure, untreated hypo or hyperthyroidism, or history of serious bulimia. Some other serious medical conditions that may alter key study outcomes or require other important diet modifications, including untreated hypothyroidism, renal failure, cirrhosis, and conditions requiring oral or parenteral glucocorticoid treatment.
  3. Pregnant or planning to get pregnant in the next 6 months, breastfeeding or less than 6 months post-partum.
  4. Current use of weight loss medications, such as Alli or amphetamine-based drugs that may affect weight.
  5. Planned weight-loss (bariatric) surgery or bariatric surgery within the past 18 months.
  6. Currently enrolled in a weight loss program, such as Weight Watchers or a self-help group such as Overeaters Anonymous, or have unalterable plans to enroll in one of these programs in the next year.
  7. Vegan or vegetarian.
  8. Unwilling to do home ketone monitoring.


  • UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine accepting new patients
    San FranciscoCalifornia94143United States

Lead Scientist

  • Rick Hecht
    I am trained in Internal Medicine, with additional training in clinical research methods, biostatistics, and behavioral medicine. My research focus for many years was on HIV.


accepting new patients
Start Date
Completion Date
University of California, San Francisco
Study Type
Last Updated