Intermittent fasting diets – when you can only eat during a specific window of time each day – have become increasingly popular over the past years as effective weight loss methods. Fasting for several hours per day or eating just one meal a couple of days a week can help the body burn fat and lower the risk of developing diabetes or cardiovascular disease.
Now, a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism has found that, after an intermittent fasting intervention, patients can achieve complete diabetes remission – defined as an HbA1c (average blood sugar) level of less than 6.5 percent at least one year 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 Dongbo Liu, a researcher at the Hunan Agricultural University in China. “Our research shows an intermittent fasting, Chinese Medical Nutrition Therapy (CMNT), can lead to diabetes remission in people with type 2 diabetes, and these findings could have a major impact on the over 537 million adults worldwide who suffer from the disease.”
The scientists conducted a three-month intermittent fasting diet intervention among 36 participants with diabetes and discovered that nearly 90 percent of them – including those taking blood sugar-lowering medication and insulin – reduced their diabetes medication after intermittent fasting. Moreover, 55 percent of the participants experienced diabetes remission and discontinued for at least one year their diabetes medication.
These findings challenge the conventional view that diabetes remission is only possible in patients with a shorter diabetes duration (zero to six years). In fact, 65 percent of the participants who achieved diabetes remission had a diabetes duration of six to 11 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 percent in people with diabetes after intermittent fasting,” Liu concluded.
By Andrei Ionescu, Earth.com Staff Writer
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