A new study suggests that people with type 2 diabetes can enter remission following an intermittent fasting diet intervention.

‘Entering remission’ is defined by the study as having a HbA1c (average blood sugar) level lower than 6.5 per cent at least one year after stopping taking diabetes medication (including metformin).

Intermittent fasting diets, where you only eat between particular times, are becoming increasingly common as a weight loss method. Fasting for periods of time or eating only one meal per day for a few days can help burn fat and decrease your risk of diabetes and heart disease, according to research.

Dr Dongbo Liu, from Hunan Agricultural University in Changsha, China, said: “Type 2 diabetes is not necessarily a permanent, lifelong disease. Diabetes remission is possible if patients lose weight by changing their diet and exercise habits.

“Our research shows an intermittent fasting, Chinese Medical Nutrition Therapy (CMNT), can lead to diabetes remission in people with type 2 diabetes, and these findings could have a major impact on the over 537 million adults worldwide who suffer from the disease.”

The study involved 36 individuals with diabetes undergoing intermittent fasting diet intervention for three months. The results showed that approximately 90 per cent of participants lowered their need for diabetes medication following intermittent fasting.

55 per cent of participants entered diabetes remission and stopped taking diabetes medication for at least one year.

Results from the study challenge the common belief that diabetes remission can only be reached by those who have had diabetes for a small amount of time (zero to six years), as sixty five percent of the study participants who reached remission had had diabetes for more than six years.

Prior research has shown that the NHS certified Low Carb Program supports 1 in 4 participants to achieve type 2 diabetes remission after 52 weeks. On average, 60% of participants who start the program taking a diabetes medication reduce or eliminate medications.

“Diabetes medications are costly and a barrier for many patients who are trying to effectively manage their diabetes. Our study saw medication costs decrease by 77% in people with diabetes after intermittent fasting,” added Liu.

The study received funding from the National Natural Science Foundation of China and was published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

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