Published on 16 November 2023

Study highlights benefits of diet plan to achieve weight loss and improve self-management of type 2 diabetes.

The results of a recently published study have shown that intermittent fasting could help people living with type 2 diabetes control blood glucose levels and lose weight.

Researchers in Austria gave study participants dietary instructions that corresponded to intermittent fasting, which usually involves eating every other day without restriction, while eating little or nothing on the days in between.

Participants were allowed to eat 500 calories, which corresponds to a normal breakfast, until midday on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. After that, there was no caloric intake at all until the morning of the following day.

At the same time, insulin therapy for participants with type 2 diabetes was adjusted to the dietary rhythm according to a simple regime.

Another group taking part in the study received only counselling on dietary recommendations for people living with type 2 diabetes.

The results of the study, recently published in Diabetes Care, suggested that intermittent fasting could provide a valid diet option that many people find easier to cope with than continuous calorie reduction. It is advisable, however, to seek medical assistance when engaging in the process. 


Harald Sourij, lead study author and Professor and Head of the Trials Unit for Interdisciplinary Metabolic Medicine and Deputy Head of the Clinical Division of Endocrinology and Diabetology at the Medical University of Graz, said: “The average sugar levels improved significantly in the fasting group. In addition, the subjects lost an average of just under five kilograms of body weight.

“In contrast, blood glucose and weight levels remained largely unchanged in the control group.”

“It was paramount for us that we were unable to detect severe hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose levels in any of the test subjects. We now know how to adjust insulin dosage and that it is safe.”

Professor Sourij added: “Weight reduction plays an essential role in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Very often, losing weight can lead to an improvement in the glucose metabolism.

“We were interested in knowing whether this type of dietary intervention works and is also safe for patients with diabetes who are already injecting insulin.

“Critics of this form of dieting often express the fear that people following the diet might develop a dangerous hypoglycaemia on fasting days.”

The researchers are now planning a follow-up study which will include exercise as a factor.

Professor Sourij said: “We want to investigate how weight loss from intermittent fasting can be fostered further by exercise – and how exercise affects not just sugar and insulin levels, but also the motivation of people with type 2 diabetes.”

Read the report in Diabetes Care

Read more about type 2 diabetes

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