New Study Suggests Fasting Can Help With Type 2 Diabetes

The study showed promising results

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A new study could be useful to people living with Type 2 Diabetes.
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There are plenty of ways that one can fast. Even within the category of intermittent fasting, there are several distinct ways that one can go about reducing one’s food and drink intake over a given period of time. One of them — what the Cleveland Clinic and others have called the “twice-a-week method” — has shown promise as a way to benefit people living with Type 2 Diabetes.

That’s among the conclusions reached by the authors of “A 5:2 Intermittent Fasting Meal Replacement Diet and Glycemic Control for Adults With Diabetes,” a paper published earlier this month in JAMA Network Open. The study focused on 405 people with diabetes living in China, and monitored “the changes in hemoglobin A1c level” over the course of 16 weeks. The scientists believe that this method of fasting may reduce the need for drugs specifically designed to address diabetes.

Intermittent fasting of this type involves a reduced food intake for two nonconsecutive days out of each week and eating normally the other five. The study’s authors concluded that fasting in this way “could improve glycemic control and weight loss while also improving blood pressure, triglyceride levels, and HDL-C levels” for people recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

Of the participants in the study, one-third fasted, one-third were given the drug empagliflozin and one-third were given the drug metformin. Once the 16 weeks were over, the group that fasted saw the greatest drop in hemoglobin A1c levels.

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As The Washington Post‘s Anahad O’Connor observed, this study is notable for demonstrating that fasting had a comparable approach to drugs designed to reduce the impact of diabetes. “[H]ere they showed that a lifestyle approach was more effective for lowering blood sugar than putting people on drugs,” the University of Alabama’s Courtney Peterson told the Post. For people concerned about Type 2 diabetes, this could be a very significant finding.

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