As many as 30.3 million Americans currently have diabetes, with another 84.1 battling prediabetes –– a condition which, if left untreated, often leads to the development of Type 2 diabetes within two years. Those who have just been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes can find it challenging to come to terms with the many lifestyle changes they need to make to keep blood glucose levels at the right level. They may wonder if there is a way to reverse this disease without bariatric surgery plus a very low-cal nutritional regimen. A new study published in the British Medical Journal indicates that one promising way to reverse Type 2 diabetes is planned intermittent fasting.
New Findings on Diabetes and Diet
The study, published in October, 2018, sought to test the effects of intermittent fasting on Type 2 diabetes. Two of three participants fasted on alternate days for 24 hours, while a third participant fasted for three days a week. On fast days, the participants were instructed to consume ultra low-calorie beverages such as water, broth, and tea, and to have only one very low calorie meal for dinner. The men stuck to this nutritional regime for a full 10 months, and measurements were taken of their blood glucose levels and waist circumference. The results showed that all three men were able to cease insulin injections within just 30 days of starting their respective regimes. Two of the three stopped having to take any medication for diabetes, while the third stopped taking all but one of four medications. They all lost a considerable amount of weight and their blood sugar levels were lower. One of the most motivating aspects of fasting, note health professionals, is that glucose levels can be measured quickly by diabetics themselves, so that changes achieved in days and weeks can motivate them to continue on their path to diabetes reversal.
Taking Notice of Worldwide Efforts to Reverse Diabetes
The high rate of Type 2 diabetes and obesity in the U.S. warrants measures such as one revealed this month in the UK. The National Health System in England has announced that thousands of people will be offered a very low calorie diet by their general practitioners, with a view to reducing the Type 2 diabetes rate. It involves the consumption of no more than 800 calories a day, comprising soups and and cold drinks. This type of diet has been shown to successfully reduce the build-up of fat around vital organs, including the pancreas - which can lead to Type 2 diabetes. The measure was put to the test recently by the charity Diabetes, with a low calorie diet causing remission of Type 2 diabetes in almost half of all people who who went on the supervised diet. Those who lost the most weight had the most positive results, with 86% of those who had lost 33 pounds or more doing away with the need for insulin in just one year’s time.
Fasting and Very Low Calorie Diets Should be Supervised
It is important to see your doctor first about the suitability of a restrictive regimen. Severe calorie restriction isn’t always the best solution, particularly for those who may binge on carb-heavy foods due to hunger. Bingeing can cause blood glucose levels to spike and become erratic during the day. Fasting can also be hard to stick to in the long term so it is important to be realistic about the effort involved and about expected results.
Deciding on whether or not intermittent fasting or very low calorie diets are for you depends on weighing up many factors. While studies indicate positive results from eating less and giving the body a break through fasting, very restrictive regimens can also make a plan harder to stick to and decrease the energy you have to work out daily (which is also key to weight loss and blood sugar stabilization). Discuss the alternatives with your doctor; through careful monitoring and a commitment to a more restrictive dietary plan, your quality of life could potentially improve in significant ways.