Intermittent Fasting Can Improve Blood Sugar in Diabetics: Study

Intermittent Fasting Can Improve Blood Sugar in Diabetics: Study
Intermittent fasting gives the body a rest from digesting food, a metabolic break with benefits. A study finds it could help diabetics manage blood sugar. (Montri Thipsorn/Shutterstock)
New research has found that intermittent fasting, a popular eating style, may help people with Type 2 diabetes to better control their blood sugar.

The study found that people with diabetes who restricted their eating to a daily 10-hour window had blood sugar levels in the normal range for about three hours longer than when they ate whenever they pleased.

The patients also experienced lower 24-hour blood sugar levels and consistently lower morning fasting glucose levels when they participated in a time-restricted eating pattern.

For the small study, 14 adults with Type 2 diabetes were asked to limit their food intake to a 10-hour window each day, with 6 p.m. being the cutoff point. They wore a continuous glucose monitoring device that measured their blood sugar every 15 minutes.

People were told to eat how they usually would during their intake window, with no food restrictions. They spent three weeks on the intermittent fasting diet and another three weeks eating without any time limitations.

During the time-restricted eating, the participants had normal blood sugars for an average of 15 hours per day, compared to 12 hours when they ate whenever they wanted.

The 10-hour window was also safe for the participants, who didn't experience any significant increase in hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or any other serious side effects.

When you fast, your body breaks down glycogen stores, which is sugar stored in the body. When they're gone, your body turns to using fat. In essence, it optimizes sugar metabolism to limit excess sugar in the bloodstream. It can also contribute to some fat loss.

A 10-hour eating window is also relatively generous, as other types of intermittent fasting set a six- to eight-hour eating window.

What’s also interesting about this study is that there were no dietary limitations. Had the participants been instructed, for example, to eat more fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats, while limiting processed foods, the results may have been even better.

Mat Lecompte is a health and wellness reporter for Bel Marra Health, which first published this article.
Starting as a journalist over 10 years ago, Mat has not only honed his belief system and approach with practical experience, but he has also worked closely with nutritionists, dieticians, athletes, and fitness professionals. He embraces natural healing methods and believes that diet, exercise and willpower are the foundation of a healthy, happy, and drug-free existence.