Intermittent fasting could help reverse type 2 diabetes

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Scientists from Hunan Agricultural University and elsewhere found intermittent fasting may help reverse type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes remission in people with type 2 diabetes means that the blood sugar levels are below the diabetes range without needing to take any diabetes medication.

Intermittent fasting is any of various meal timing schedules that cycle between voluntary fasting and non-fasting over a given period.

Methods of intermittent fasting include alternate-day fasting, periodic fasting, and daily time-restricted feeding.

Although intermittent fasting diets are becoming very popular, no studies have investigated their benefit in type 2 diabetes remission.

In the current study, researchers aimed to examine the effectiveness of intermittent fasting in diabetes remission and how long the remission can last.

They examined people between ages 38 and 72 years with a duration of type 2 diabetes of 1 to 11 years, a body mass index (BMI) of 19.1 to 30.4, and 66.7% male.

These people were assigned to the Chinese Medical Nutrition Therapy (CMNT) or control group.

The primary outcome was diabetes remission, defined as a stable glycated hemoglobin A1c(HbA1c) level of less than 48 mmol/mol (< 6.5%) for at least 3 months after discontinuing all diabetes medications.

The secondary outcomes included HbA1c level, fasting blood glucose level, blood pressure, weight, quality of life, and medication costs.

The researchers conducted a 12-month follow-up to examine the duration of remission.

They found on completing the 3-month intervention plus 3-month follow-up, 47.2% (17/36) of people achieved diabetes remission in the CMNT group, whereas only 2.8% (1/36) of individuals achieved remission in the control group.

The mean body weight of people in the CMNT group was reduced by 5.93 kg compared to 0.27 kg in the control group.

After the 12-month follow-up, 44.4% (16/36) of the people achieved sustained remission, with an HbA1c level of 6.33%.

The medication costs of the CMNT group were 77.22% lower than those of the control group (60.4/month vs 265.1/month).

Based on the findings, the team concludes that intermittent fasting may help achieve type 2 diabetes remission for at least 1 year.

The research was published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism and conducted by Xiao Yang et al.

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