In a new study, researchers found that intermittent fasting may regulate blood sugar (glucose) levels even when there is little-to-no weight loss.
Intermittent fasting is cycling through periods of normal eating and fasting.
The research was conducted by a team from Williams College in the U.S.
Intermittent fasting is not a diet, but rather a dieting pattern.
By fasting and then feasting on purpose, it generally means that people consume their calories during a specific window of the day, and choose not to eat food for a larger window of time.
Previous research has shown that in people with mild obesity, intermittent fasting is effective for weight loss and lower 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.
In the new study, the team examined mice with genetic obesity and high insulin and glucose levels.
These mice do not produce the appetite-regulating hormone leptin. Impaired leptin signaling can be a primary cause of obesity in humans.
The researchers applied intermittent fasting to the mice for two and a half weeks, with unlimited access to food on feeding days.
They found that there was little weight loss caused by intermittent fasting. However, on non-feeding days, there was an improvement in glucose control.
The fact that blood sugar regulation improved only on non-feeding days, but occurred without weight loss shows that the benefits of intermittent fasting can be reliable on a day-to-day basis.
The lead author of the study is Steven J. Swoap from Williams College.
The study is published in the American Journal of Physiology—Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology.
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