People with type 2 diabetes following the 5:2 diet will experience better health outcomes than those taking medication, latest evidence has revealed.

The diet, which was made famous by Dr Michael Mosley, consists of eating a balanced diet for five days and fasting for two.

Rishi Sunak and George Osborne are among the politicians to have tried fasting. Hollywood stars Chris Pratt, Jennifer Aniston and Kourtney Kardashian also follow the diet.

A new study led by researchers at Beijing Hospital has found that the 5:2 diet is better than medication for helping people with type 2 diabetes lose weight and improve their blood glucose levels.

Approximately 400 people took part in the study, and they were each assigned to one of three groups.

Participants in the first group were given metformin and those in group two received empagliflozin.

Meanwhile, those in the third group started following the 5:2 diet.

The results have revealed that the participants following the 5:2 diet had better blood glucose levels compared to those in the other two groups.

In addition, the participants in the 5:2 diet group lost on average 9.7kg in weight – roughly 4kg more than those in the metformin and empagliflozin groups.

“The 5:2 meal replacement approach may serve as an effective initial lifestyle intervention instead of antidiabetic drugs for patients with type 2 diabetes,” said the researchers.

Dr Mosely, who died last month at the resort of Agia Marina in Symi, was a big champion of the 5:2 diet after reversing his type 2 diabetes by adopting the fasting approach.

Naveed Sattar, Professor of Cardiometabolic Medicine at the University of Glasgow, commented: “This trial is relatively simple and shows what we already know – that weight excess is the key driver for diabetes and thus weight loss improves glucose levels meaningfully.

“The issue is whether such changes and the 5:2 diets are sustainable, especially as the trial was rather short term, with greater than expected weight losses in all three arms.”

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