Time-restricted eating, or intermittent fasting, is a popular strategy for helping type 2 diabetics manage their blood sugar levels and reduce weight.
According to University of Illinois Chicago researchers, individuals who restricted their daily eating to the hours of noon to eight o'clock without counting calories lost more weight over six months than those who were told to cut back on their caloric consumption by 25%.
Researchers took measurements of the subjects' blood sugar, weight, waist circumference, and other health parameters during a six month period.
The study included 75 participants were divided into three groups: Those who reduced their calorie intake, those who adhered to time-restricted eating guidelines, and a control group.
According to the study author Krista Varady, those in the group with time constraints found it simpler to stick to the program than those in the group with calorie restriction.
However, hemoglobin A1C testing, which indicates blood sugar levels during the preceding months, showed decreases in both groups' long-term blood sugar levels.
Fasting and type 2 diabetes
Researchers believe the partial reason behind this result is, because, as a first line of treatment for type 2 diabetes, physicians typically advise patients to reduce their calorie intake.
Many of the participants had probably already attempted that type of dieting and struggled with it, according to the team.
Even though they weren't told to cut calories, participants in the time-restricted group nonetheless did so by eating within a set window.
Varady continues by saying that measuring time is a simpler weight-loss strategy for many people than tracking calories.
During the six-month study, no one reported any major adverse health effects. Additionally, there was no difference in the frequency of hypo- and hyperglycemia events between the groups.
One in three Americans suffer from diabetes and prediabetes, and the researchers stressed the need for additional choices for managing weight.
Although the evidence suggests that time-restricted eating is safe for individuals with type 2 diabetes, Varady advised those who have the illness to speak with their doctors before beginning any program.
- Nutrition, Obesity, and Exercise. Effect of Time-Restricted Eating on Weight Loss in Adults With Type 2 Diabetes.
- Johns Hopkins Medicine. Intermittent Fasting: What is it, and how does it work?