A new study has found that an intermittent fasting diet can help people who require type 2 diabetes medication.
Researchers found that an intermittent fasting diet helped patients achieve complete diabetes remission, defined as an HbA1c (average blood sugar) level of less than 6.5% at least one year after stopping diabetes medication. The new findings can be found in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
“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, PhD, of Hunan Agricultural University in Changsha, 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.”
What is an intermittent fasting diet?
The intermittent fasting diet has become popular as an effective weight loss method. Intermittent fasting is a diet that allows you to eat during a specific window of time, this is because fasting for a certain number of hours each day or eating just one meal a couple of days a week can help your body burn fat. Two popular versions are the 16:8 and 5:2 diets. The 16:8 diet focuses on fasting for 16 hours per day and eating within an eight-hour window, whereas, the 5:2 diet allows dieters to eat normally five days a week and then only eat one large meal on two of the other days.
Research has previously shown the positive effects of the intermittent fasting diet on diabetes and heart disease.
The effects of fasting on diabetic patients
The researchers conducted a three-month intermittent fasting diet interview in 36 people with diabetes and found almost 90% of participants, including those who took blood sugar-lowering agents and insulin, reduced their diabetes medication intake after fasting. Furthermore, 55% of the participants experienced diabetes remission, discontinued their diabetes medication and maintained it for at least one year.
The study challenged the conventional view that diabetes remission could only be achieved in those with a shorter diabetes duration (0-six years). For example, 65% of the participants achieved remission had diagnosed diabetes for over six years (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% in people with diabetes after intermittent fasting,” Liu said.