The findings are based on a year-long clinical study of 137 people with the condition, half of whom were instructed to eat 1200 to 1500 calories a day, while the others followed a 5:2 diet consuming 500-600 calories two days a week and eating normally for the remaining five.
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The study – published in JAMA – found that participants who intermittently fasted not only lost weight, but also improved blood glucose control.
Lead author Sharayah Carter says that this method of eating could be a successful solution for diabetes sufferers who struggle to stick to a low calorie diet seven days a week.
Peter Clifton, University of South Australia Professor of Nutrition, says that type 2 diabetes is the biggest health epidemic we face in the 21 century.
“Conventional weight-loss diets with daily energy restrictions are difficult for people to adhere to so we must look for alternative solutions,” Peter said in a statement.
However, the researchers warn that while fasting is safe for diet-controlled type 2 diabetes, those using insulin and other oral medications likely to cause hypoglycaemia need to monitor blood glucose levels and medication doses closely so should always speak to medical professional before making dietary changes.