Intermittent fasting may reverse type 2 diabetes

January 3, 2023 in Diabetes & Diabetes Prevention, Nutrition Topics in the News, Weight Management

Intermittent fasting may reverse type 2 diabetes

After an intermittent fasting diet intervention, people with type 2 diabetes achieved complete diabetes remission, defined as an HbA1c (an average fasting blood sugar level) of less than 6.5% at least three months after stopping diabetes medication.

“Type 2 diabetes is not necessarily a permanent, lifelong disease. Diabetes remission is possible if patients lose weight by changing their diet and exercise habits,” said the lead researcher.

What is intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting, an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating, has become a popular way to lose weight.

Three types of intermittent fasting have been studied the most: alternate day fasting (ADF), the 5:2 diet and time-restricted eating (TRE).

ADF involves fasting one day, which can mean drinking water only or consuming roughly 500 calories, and then eating without restrictions the next day. The 5:2 diet entails fasting for two days per week (500 to 1,000 calories) and eating freely for five days.

TRE requires fasting for at least 12 hours each day. A person’s eating window is confined to a specific number of hours in the day, usually four to eight.

About the study

The researchers conducted a 3-month calorie-controlled intermittent fasting diet intervention among 36 people with type 2 diabetes.

After three months, the researchers found that 47 per cent of participants in the intermittent fasting group, including those who took oral blood sugar-lowering medications and insulin, discontinued their diabetes medication and met the criteria for diabetes remission compared to 2.8 per cent in the control group.

After 12 months, 44 per cent of participants achieved sustained remission.

The findings from this small study challenge the conventional view that diabetes remission can only be achieved in those with a shorter diabetes duration (six years or less). Sixty-five per cent of the study participants who achieved diabetes remission had a diabetes duration of more than 6 years.

“Diabetes medications are costly and a barrier for many patients who are trying to effectively manage their diabetes. Our study saw medication costs decrease by 77 per cent of people with type 2 diabetes after intermittent fasting,” the lead researcher said.

Source: The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, December 14, 2022.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.