Intermittent fasting can help you lose weight, boost energy and improve overall health. A new study suggests that planned intermittent fasting can also help reverse type 2 diabetes, and cut out the need for insulin while controlling blood glucose.Occasional fasting may help control type 2 diabetes, a small Canadian study suggests.
"The use of a therapeutic fasting regimen for treatment of [type 2 diabetes] is virtually unheard of," said Dr. Jason Fung, of Scarborough Hospital, in Ontario, and colleagues.
But this trial showed that 24-hour fasting regimens can significantly reverse or eliminate the need for diabetic medication, the study authors said.
About the study
Three men, aged 40 to 67, were taking various drugs and daily insulin injections to control their diabetes. They also had high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
After a six-hour training seminar, two of the men fasted on alternate days for a full 24 hours, while the third fasted three days a week.
On fast days, they were allowed to drink very low calorie drinks (tea/coffee, water or broth) and to eat one very low calorie meal in the evening.
All three were able to stop their insulin injections within a month of starting their fasting schedule. For one man, this took only five days.
Two were able to stop taking all their other diabetes drugs, while the third stopped three of four diabetes drugs, the study authors reported.
The trio lost between 10 percent and 18 percent of their body weight and reduced their blood sugar levels, which may help lower the risk of future diabetes complications, according to the study.
The findings were published Oct. 9 in the journal BMJ Case Reports.
Intermittent fasting is not a diet, but rather a way of scheduling meals. An intermittent fasting period is most easily determined as the time from the last meal at night until the first meal the next day. The fasting period usually varies from 12-16 hours. Research supports that fasting can increase fat oxidation, reduce body weight, and accelerate fat loss.
Marie is a 40-year-old mother of four who lost 50 pounds. Click the banner to learn more about Marie's program that included carb cycling and intermittent fasting.
Because this was an observational study that included just three patients, it's impossible to draw firm conclusions about the use of fasting to treat type 2 diabetes, the researchers noted.
Still, the results are noteworthy, given that one in 10 Americans and Canadians have type 2 diabetes, the investigators said in a journal news release. The disease is associated with other serious health problems and premature death.
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The American Diabetes Association has more on type 2 diabetes.
SOURCE: BMJ Case Reports, news release, Oct. 9, 2018
Last Updated: Oct. 10, 2018
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