Type 2 diabetes is fairly common in the US and Canada and on the rise – around 1 in 10 people currently have type 2 diabetes, and it costs the US alone $245 billion a year. This is a disease in which your body doesn’t properly use the insulin it makes. This causes glucose, or sugar, to build up in your blood instead of using it for energy.
The recommended treatment for type 2 diabetes is usually a combination of diet, exercise and medication, and the goal is to keep your blood sugar under control. However, new research suggests that there may be a way to reverse the disease with intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. It is not a diet, but an eating pattern. Common patterns include daily 16-hour fasts and fasting for 24 hours, twice per week. It one of the most popular health and fitness trends right now, used by celebrities, fitness gurus and others to lose weight and improve their health.
Published in BMJ Case Reports, a new study posits that planned intermittent fasting might work as an alternative to insulin medication in patients with type 2 diabetes. The very small case documents 3 male patients, aged 47-60, who tried this method.
Two men fasted every other day for 24 hours and the third fasted 3 days a week. On days where they were fasting, low calorie drinks such as tea/coffee, water or broth could be consumed, as well as one low calorie meal in the evening. They participated in this regime for 10 months.
The results show that this method was effective in reversing their insulin resistance and they stopped injecting themselves with insulin within a month of starting. Two of the three stopped taking their medication all together and the third was able to stop taking 3 out of the 4 drugs he was prescribed. Furthermore, these patients lost significant amounts of body weight and reduced their waist circumference.
This is an exciting new possible treatment for those suffering from type 2 diabetes and shows that this is an effective way to lose weight. Keep in mind though that this is an observational study and only had three male participants, so it is far from conclusive. It is something that you could try after consulting with your doctor or health care professional.