Intermittent fasting helps three men with type 2 diabetes come off insulin

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Three men with type 2 diabetes reversed their dependence on insulin after undergoing intermittent fasting, a Canadian study reports.
Intermittent fasting has shown to be an effective weight loss strategy in type 2 diabetes, and can also help lower blood glucose levels.
It is not a dietary strategy to adopt without first considering your doctor though, particularly if you take glucose-lowering medication such as insulin.
In this study led by Dr Jason Dung, medical director of the Intensive Dietary Management Program in Toronto, the three men underwent 24-hour fasts several times a week. They ate only dinner on fasting days, but were permitted to drink water, coffee and broth throughout.
All three men were middle-aged and had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes within the last 25 years. Before the study they were all taking insulin.
The men stuck to the routine for around 10 months. Within a month of beginning their fasting schedules they stopped taking insulin. Two of the men also stopped taking their other diabetes medication. All of them lost weight and reduced their fasting blood glucose levels.
The researchers stressed the benefits of intermittent fasting for reversing insulin resistance. They said: “It demonstrates the effectiveness of therapeutic fasting to reverse their insulin resistance, resulting in cessation of insulin therapy while maintaining control of their blood sugars. In addition, these patients were also able to lose significant amounts of body weight, reduce their waist circumference and also reduce their HbA1c.”
As the men came off insulin, none of them experienced any episodes of severe hypoglycemia. Dr Fung added though that other studies on fasting and diabetes have reported the risk of hypoglycemia, and that insulin management during fasting needs to be carefully considered.
However, Dr Fung is adamant that medication is a less superior treating technique for type 2 diabetes compared to diet and nutrition therapy.
“People are focused on giving drugs to type 2 diabetes, but it’s a dietary disease,” he said, adding that thousands of patients on his program have experienced benefits from fasting.
Future studies will need to build on the findings, with just three subjects featured in this new report. But more and more research is evidencing how changing our diet can improve our health, and for people with type 2 diabetes intermittent fasting could become a significant dietary treatment.
The results have been published in BMJ Case Reports.