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Is Intermittent Fasting Really Safe for People With Type 2 Diabetes? Here’s What You Need to Know

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Intermittent Fasting: What Is Time-restricted Eating Actually Doing to Your Body, New Study Reveals

Time-Restricted Eating: Intermittent Fasting Proves Beneficial for Type 2 Diabetes Management, According to a New Study

A recent study conducted by the University of Illinois Chicago, published in JAMA Network Open, demonstrates the safety and efficacy of time-restricted eating, or intermittent fasting, for individuals with Type 2 diabetes.

This approach, which restricts food consumption to an eight-hour window from noon to 8 p.m., aided participants in shedding more pounds over a six-month period compared to those who reduced their daily caloric intake by 25%.

Both groups experienced comparable decreases in hemoglobin A1C levels, indicative of stable long-term blood sugar control.

The research, hosted at UIC, observed 75 participants, categorizing them into three distinct groups: those practicing time-limited eating, those trimming caloric consumption, and a neutral control group.

Over the span of six months, metrics such as weight, waist size, blood sugar values, and other health parameters were closely monitored.

The principal researcher, Krista Varady, pointed out the relative ease with which the time-limited eating group adhered to their regimen compared to the calorie-cutting group. This, she believes, might stem from the prevailing medical advice to diabetics to lower calorie intake, a method many have grappled with before. Even though no explicit instruction was given to the time-limited eaters to cut calories, their confined eating period naturally led to it.

Varady, who also lectures on kinesiology and nutrition, remarked, “Our study shows that time-restricted eating might be an effective alternative to traditional dieting for people who can’t do the traditional diet or are burned out on it. For many people trying to lose weight, counting time is easier than counting calories.”

No major health issues were reported during this half-year study. Furthermore, incidents of both extremely low and high blood sugar remained consistent across all participant groups.

Given the projection that by 2050, a staggering 1 in 3 Americans might be diabetic if the current trajectory persists, the importance of uncovering varied weight and blood sugar management techniques cannot be understated.

The research also underscored the participation of a majority of Black (just over 50%) and Hispanic (about 40%) individuals. This holds significance as these demographics often see higher rates of diabetes, emphasizing the value of such studies for these communities.

While the research provides an encouraging foundation, Varady, also affiliated with the University of Illinois Cancer Center, calls for more expansive studies to solidify the findings. She advises those with Type 2 diabetes to seek medical guidance before embracing such eating patterns.

Source: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.39337

Image Credit: iStock

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