Experts Skeptical That Intermittent Fasting Can Reverse Type 2 Diabetes

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Experts Skeptical That Intermittent Fasting Can Reverse Type 2 Diabetes

A new study was release that proved three men with type 2 diabetes reversed the condition by occasional fasting.

A new study involving three men concluded that occasional fasting can help reverse type 2 diabetes.

One researcher says occasional fasting can reverse type 2 diabetes, but other experts aren’t so sure. Getty Images

Three men with type 2 diabetes were able to stop insulin treatment altogether after intermittent fasting, but experts are warning that people shouldn’t try such a practice on their own.

A small study published in BMJ Case Reports looked at three men between the ages of 40 and 67 who tried occasional fasting for approximately 10 months.

All of the men were able to stop insulin treatment within a month after starting the intermittent fasting. One of the men was able to stop insulin treatment after only five days of the fasting technique.

“This study shows that a dietary intervention — therapeutic fasting — has the potential to completely reverse type 2 diabetes, even when somebody has suffered with the disease for 25 years. It changes everything about how we should treat the disease,” Dr. Jason Fung, author of the study and director of the Intensive Dietary Management Program, told Healthline.

Fung’s assertions that type 2 diabetes can be reversed is contrary to the views of other diabetes experts who spoke with Healthline.

“It’s potentially dangerous to tell patients their diabetes has been reversed, because one is always at risk for progression, even if not being treated by medication,” Dr. Matthew Freeby, director of the Gonda Diabetes Center in Los Angeles and the associate director of diabetes clinical programs at the David Geffen UCLA School of Medicine, told Healthline.

Dr. Robert Gabbay, chief medical officer at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Massachusetts, agrees.

“We don’t think of reversing it, but more that it is in remission. Still need to screen for complications as far as we know,” he told Healthline.

What happens with diabetes

More than 30 million people in the United States have diabetes and, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 90 to 95 percent of them have type 2 diabetes.

In a person with type 2 diabetes, cells don’t respond normally to insulin, which helps control the amount of sugar in the blood.

“When we eat foods containing carbohydrates (breads, cereals, pasta, fruits, starchy vegetables, dairy), the body digests the carbohydrates into single sugars. The pancreas simultaneously receives a signal to release insulin. Insulin is released into the bloodstream and acts as a key to unlock the cells, allowing the single sugars to enter the cells and provide energy,” Lauri Wright, PhD, assistant professor of public health at the University of South Florida, told Healthline.

“Without enough functioning insulin as we see in type 2 diabetes, some of the single sugars build up in the cell and aren’t able to provide cells with energy,” she said.

High blood sugar levels can be damaging to the body and cause other health issues, such as kidney problems, vision loss, and heart disease.

Type 2 diabetes may be managed by healthy eating and exercise. Some people may get prescribed injectable insulin to help manage blood sugar levels.

Read on: Experts Skeptical That Intermittent Fasting Can Reverse Type 2 Diabetes

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