Eating within a certain window may not be easy, especially when you are starving or wake up in the middle of the night craving a snack, but if you could hold out, it will have a positive impact on your health. Intermittent fasting might help people with type 2 diabetes better control their blood sugar levels, a new study has found.
How intermittent fasting helps
People with diabetes who restricted their eating to within a daily 10-hour window wound up with blood sugar levels in the normal range for about three hours longer than when they ate whenever they pleased, according to researchers.
These patients also experienced lower 24-hour blood sugar levels and consistently lower morning fasting glucose when they participated in a time-restricted eating pattern.
“Time-restricted eating may be an effective approach to improving metabolic health in adults with type 2 diabetes, but more studies are needed to confirm this finding,” says lead researcher Charlotte Andriessen, a doctoral student in the department of nutrition and movement sciences at Maastricht University in the Netherlands.
This study answers a question that’s on the minds of many people trying to manage their diabetes, says Dr. Reshmi Srinath, director of the Mount Sinai weight and metabolism management program in New York City.
“There is a lot of interest in intermittent fasting, both in our patients with diabetes and with obesity, looking to help their metabolic health and to help them lose weight,” Srinath adds. “So this is actually a really key study that’s relevant to us in real time.”
For this study, 14 adults with type 2 diabetes were asked to limit their food intake to a 10-hour window each day, with the window closing no later than 6 p.m. They were fitted with continuous glucose monitoring devices that measured their blood sugar levels every 15 minutes.
The people were told to eat as they would usually do during their food intake window, with no special dietary restrictions. Outside that time, they were allowed to drink water, plain tea, black coffee and zero-calorie soft drinks.
The participants spent three weeks on this intermittent fasting diet, and then another three weeks eating