Intermittent fasting may improve Blood Sugar without effecting weight loss
New research suggests that intermittent fasting—cycling through periods of normal eating and fasting—may regulate blood sugar levels even when accompanied by little-to-no weight loss. The study is published in the American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology.
The study points towards regulating and improving blood sugar in spite of the fact that it may not improve metabolic parameters of obesity for which it is primarily exercised. But improving blood sugar is also a reason for which fasting can be incorporated as a lifestyle measure in anybody's life.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than one-third of adults in the U.S. have obesity, which greatly increases the risk of metabolic diseases such as coronary heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, and that obesity is most prevalent among non-Hispanic black individuals and middle-aged adults.
In people with mild obesity, intermittent fasting has been found effective for weight loss and an associated reduction of high blood pressure and cholesterol. However, less is known about its effects on people who are extremely obese and whose obesity is caused more by genetics than by lifestyle.
Researchers examined mice with genetic obesity and high insulin and blood sugar levels. These mice do not produce the appetite-regulating hormone leptin. Previous research suggests that impaired leptin signalling can be a primary cause of obesity in humans. The obese mice followed an alternate day feeding schedule for two and a half weeks, with unlimited access to food on feeding days.
Neither a control group of lean mice following the same alternate day eating pattern nor the obese mice lost weight throughout the trial. However, on non-feeding days, “improvement [of glucose control] in both control and [obese] mice occurred in the absence of weight loss,” the researchers wrote. The fact that blood glucose regulation improved only on non-feeding days, but occurred without significant weight loss, suggests that the benefits of intermittent fasting “likely vary considerably on a day-to-day basis,” the researchers said.