Fasting diet could prove the cure for type 2 diabetes
Tom Whipple, Science Editor
Gerry Gajadharsingh writes:
“Interesting research, but intermittent fasting is something that we have been dong with the Metabolic Balance Nutritional programme for at least 10 years. We encourage people to ONLY eat 3 times a day, leaving at least 5 hours between meals and importantly, not snacking between meals. For many people this is difficult in the beginning as so many people tend to graze so frequently these days. Essentially if you have a good breakfast you will not be hungry until lunch, if you have a good lunch you will not be hungry until dinner. What constitutes a good balanced meal is the essence of a bespoke individualised Metabolic Balance programme, which can vary from person to person, simply because we each have unique metabolisms. What is right for one person may not be right for another. However simple principles such as adequate good quality dietary protein and dietary fat and low glycaemic load carbohydrates (predominately vegetables) will go a long way to helping many metabolic problems in the individual.
Eating in this way does change the insulin response and we are seeing many people (including Type 11 Diabetics) responding to this change in their diet, without the extreme of gastric band surgery, extreme weight loss or the quite severe fasting that is suggested in this research.”
Periodic fasting could be used to reverse diabetes, scientists have said, after experiments showed that it “reset” pancreatic cells.
The research in mice is the latest evidence that type 2 diabetes may be reversible after another team from Newcastle reported curing it in a small number of patients in 2015 using gastric band surgery and extreme weight loss.
Three million people in the UK have type 2 diabetes. The number affected by the condition, which can be brought on by obesity, has soared in the past two decades but despite the cost to the NHS, it is still considered a chronic condition that can be managed but does not have a cure.
However, scientists said yesterday that their “fasting mimicking diet” could be a way to get people off drugs, and they called for larger trials to test the concept in humans.
The diet involves a cycle of five days in which people drop to a third of their normal calorie intake, followed by 25 days when they eat normally.
The latest research, reported in the journal Cell, tested out the regime in mice but with a shorter time frame adapted to their physiology. Scientists used mice that had been modified to have type 2 diabetes and now the less common type 1 diabetes. Both of them involve problems regulating blood sugar levels due to difficulties producing or responding to insulin, which is made in the pancreas.
In both cases, the fasting diet seemed to “reboot” the body, returning it to a healthy state. “Cycles of fasting mimicking diet and a normal diet essentially reprogrammed non-insulin producing cells into insulin-producing cells,” said Valter Longo, from the University of Southern California.
“By activating the regeneration of pancreatic cells, we were able to rescue mice from late stage type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Our conclusion is that by pushing the mice into an extreme state and then bringing them back — by starving them and then feeding them again — the cells in the pancreas are triggered to use some kind of developmental reprogramming that rebuilds the part of the organ that’s no longer functioning.”
When combined with other evidence that fasting may have similar effects in humans, he said that it was time to start systematic trials to combat the condition, an increasing burden on health services of much of the western world.