Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) patients are just as likely to lose weight and control their blood glucose levels with intermittent semifasting for 2 days per week as with an ongoing daily calorie-restricted diet, according to the first long-term clinical trial comparing the different diets in T2DM.
The results suggest that intermittent fasting could be a solution for people with diabetes who find it difficult to stick to a diet 7 days a week.
“Conventional weight-loss diets with daily energy restrictions are difficult for people to adhere to so we must look for alternative solutions,” said co-author Peter M. Clifton, MD, PhD, professor of nutrition at the University of South Australia in Adelaide, Australia.
The researchers published their results on July 20, 2018, in JAMA Network Open.
A noninferiority trial randomized 137 patients with T2DM to either intermittent energy restriction (70 patients) or continuous energy restriction (67 patients). The intermittent energy restriction diet of 500 to 600 kcal per day was followed for 2 nonconsecutive days per week, and then the patients followed their usual diet for the other 5 days. The continuous energy restriction diet of 1200 to 1500 kcal per day was followed for 7 days per week. The regimens were followed for 12 months.
An intention-to-treat analysis showed similar reductions in mean hemoglobin A1c (A1c) level between the continuous and intermittent energy restriction groups (–0.5% vs –0.3%), which met the criteria for equivalence. Mean weight change was similar between the continuous and intermittent energy restriction groups (–5.0 kg vs –6.8 kg).
The criteria for equivalence in fat mass or fat-free mass were not met.
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