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Intermittent Fasting Beneficial for Weight Loss and Glycemic Control



Intermittent fasting beneficial for weight loss: How is it that meal timing, regardless of calorie intake, can promote weight loss?

Diet trends continue to emerge and have phased in and out over the years from Atkins, Paleo to Ketogenic diet. These trendy diets seem to catch the attention of many people, including patients with diabetes. Clinicians constantly counsel patients with type 2 diabetes on the importance of a healthy lifestyle that often requires significant weight loss. Obesity is highly correlated with type 2 diabetes; Thus, patients with type 2 diabetes are often overwhelmed not only with a diabetes diagnosis, but with the task of weight loss. This is when patients are tempted to look for the latest fad diet for an easy fix. One of the most recent trending diet plans is intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting consists of several different styles, including the 16/8 method, where fasting occurs 16 hours per day, or the 5: 2 intermittent fast, where fasting occurs for two whole days per week. Food is not allowed during fasting periods; Only water, coffee, tea and other non-caloric beverages are available. Is intermittent fasting beneficial for patients with type 2 diabetes?

Many health benefits have been associated with intermittent fasting including weight loss, reductions in blood sugar and insulin levels, significant reduction of human growth hormone, and body fat loss. Some studies even suggest that intermittent fasting may reduce risk for heart disease, Alzheimer's disease and cancer. With the effects known on body weight, blood sugar and insulin levels, there is great interest in whether intermittent fasting may help prevent or treat diabetes.

A recent study examined the effects of different schedules on intermittent fasting on appetite, metabolism, and fat burning. A small cohort of 11 adult men and women with overweight or obesity (BMI 25 – 35 mg / m)2) Practiced two different meal timing strategies in random order: a control schedule of three meals during a 12 hour period with breakfast at 8 AM and dinner at 8 PM, and an early time-restricted feeding (ETRF) schedule of three meals over a six. hour period with breakfast at 8 AM and dinner at 2 PM. Each schedule provided the same amount and type of food as the other. On the fourth day of each diet, researchers measured the metabolism participants in a respiratory chamber, which measures calories, carbohydrates, fat, and protein burned. Participants' appetite levels were screened every 3 hours while awake, and their hunger hormone levels, ghrelin. Results showed that the eTRF schedule reduced levels of hunger hormone, ghrelin; reduced appetite; and increased fat-burning. This study had a significantly lower population size, but provides some objective measurements regarding the metabolic effects of intermittent fasting.

Previous studies have conflicted as to whether intermittent fasting weight loss was attributed to burning more calories or lowering appetite. With this recent study from the evidence, it appears the effect is not on the amount of calories burned, but more on the overall efficiency of the metabolism. By limiting the time during which one can eat, the amount of calories consumed will decrease intermittently in most people. Also, it is evident that a significant decrease in appetite occurs while practicing intermittent fasting. An observational study investigating the effect of intermittent fasting on diabetes for 24 hours for 2-3 hours per week. Three men with overweight, hypertension and hyperlipidemia were able to lose 10-18% of their body weight, reducing their fasting blood sugars and HbA.1c, and discontinue most if not all diabetes medications. Although this study was observational with only 3 patients, it is very important to hear patients eliminating diabetes medications from their treatment plan.

While diabetes patients are searching for a cure for obesity in order to maintain glycemic control, intermittent fasting may be a topic to discuss. It is important to discuss the risk of hypoglycemia during the fasting period. While educating patients on proper carbohydrate counting, intake of important nutrients, and proper exercise, intermittent fasting may be a good recommendation for patients with diabetes.

Practice Pearls:

  • Intermittent fasting is a diet that includes restricting caloric intake for periods of time such as 16/24 hours daily or for several days per week.
  • Intermittent fasting has been shown to reduce appetite and hunger hormone, and increase fat burning to induce weight loss, which may be effective for patients with diabetes and obesity.
  • Further research needs to be conducted to determine causation between intermittent fasting and glycemic control.

In this special interview, Dr. Mark Mattson discusses what resources are available for explaining the intermittent diet and how to get started. Dr. Mark Mattson is Chief of the Laboratory of Neurosciences at the National Institute on Aging Intramural Research Program at the NIH. Is also a professor of neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University. Part 1

References for "Intermittent Fasting Beneficial for Weight Loss and Glycemic Control":

"Meal-Timing Strategies Appear to Lower Appetite and Improve Fat Burning. " Minor Morning July25 & utm_term = Daily Update Minor Specialties With SailthruActivity.

"Planned Intermittent Fasting May Help Reverse Type 2 Diabetes, Suggest Doctors." BMJ, www.bmj.com/company/newsroom/planned-intermittent-fasting-may-help-reverse-type-2-diabetes-suggest-doctors/.

Amber Satz, PharmD Candidate, LECOM School of Pharmacy


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