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A fasting diet that emphasizes eating early in the day may lower the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, according to the University of Adelaide’s Professor Leonie Heilbronn. The authors published study findings in the Nature Medicine journal.

Intermittent fasting could help prevent Type II Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a widespread condition related to lifestyle factors, such as a poor diet and lack of exercise. It results from the body’s inability to properly respond to insulin, leading to difficulty maintaining the proper blood sugar balance. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that over 37 million Americans have diabetes, and nine in 10 have Type 2 diabetes.

Researchers from the University of Adelaide and the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) conducted an 18-month study to compare a time-restricted, intermittent fasting diet and a reduced-calorie diet to determine which was more beneficial for people at high risk of developing a condition.

Professor Heilbronn reports that individuals who fasted three days a week and only consumed meals between 8 am and 12 pm showed better glucose tolerance after six months than those following a daily low-calorie diet. Moreover, those on the intermittent fasting diet demonstrated better insulin sensitivity and more significant reductions in blood lipids than those on the low-calorie diet.

Glucose after a meal is an accurate indicator of diabetes

According to Ph.D. student Xiao Tong Teong from the University of Adelaide, this is the world’s most extensive study and the first to evaluate how the body handles glucose after a meal, which is a more accurate indicator of diabetes risk than a fasting test. The findings suggest that meal timing and fasting recommendations can enhance the health benefits of a calorie-restricted diet independent of weight loss, which may significantly impact clinical settings.

However, more research is necessary to confirm that intermittent fasting can be n effective long-term way of managing diabetes. The next step in research would be to investigate whether a longer eating window would make the diet more sustainable.