Intermittent fasting — the best diet for type 2 diabetes?

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Type 2 diabetes was once thought to be a chronic disease that could never be cured. You can start medications to control it, but those medications will be with you for life.

Now we know better. As Dr. Jason Fung has said, “People are focused on giving drugs to type 2 diabetes, but it is a dietary disease.”

He and his team at Intensive Dietary Management Program set out to prove that they can do better than drugs. They recently published a case report of three men with type 2 diabetes who were able to completely stop their insulin and most of the oral drugs while still improving their diabetes control.

BMJ: Therapeutic use of intermittent fasting for people with type 2 diabetes as an alternative to insulin

How did they do it? Intermittent fasting.

The subjects fasted for 24 hours three to four days per week, going from dinner to dinner without food, while eating lunch and dinner on the other days. They lost between 10 and 18% body weight and between 10 and 22% from their waist circumferences.

But here is the amazing part.

Starting from a daily average of 70 units of insulin, they safely stopped their insulin as quickly as five days into the protocol, with the longest taking only 18 days. That is a dramatic result!

Importantly, they were very closely monitored by the team at IDM. Fasting while taking diabetes medications can increase the risk of hypoglycemia, a potentially life-threatening lowering of blood glucose. Thus the warning that people should not try this without being monitored by an experienced healthcare provider.

When done correctly, however, intermittent fasting combined with a low carb diet may be the best treatment of type 2 diabetes that we have ever seen.

Thanks for reading,
Bret Scher, MD FACC


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