New research finds intermittent fasting diets may actually damage the pancreas and affect insulin function in normal healthy individuals, which could lead to diabetes and serious health issues. The findings of the study are presented in Barcelona at the European Society of Endocrinology annual meeting, ECE 2018.
Fasting every other day to lose weight impairs the action of sugar-regulating hormone, insulin, which may increase diabetes risk, according to data presented in Barcelona at the European Society of Endocrinology annual meeting, ECE 2018. These findings suggest that fasting-based diets may be associated with long-term health risks and careful consideration should be made before starting such weight loss programmes. Type-2 diabetes is a growing global epidemic that is often attributed to poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle, so is closely linked to obesity. Blood sugar is partially regulated by the hormone insulin, which is produced by the pancreas, if insulin levels are too low, or the body becomes resistant to its effects, type-2 diabetes results and high blood sugar levels can cause serious health issues, including heart, kidney and eye damage. In addition to medical strategies used to treat type-2 diabetes, patients are also advised to make lifestyle and dietary changes to lose weight. Recently, intermittent fasting diets have gained general popularity for weight loss, however, evidence on their success has been contradictory and there is a lack of knowledge and some debate on their potentially harmful long-term health effects. Previous research has also shown that short-term fasting can produce molecules called free radicals, which are highly reactive chemicals that can cause damage to the body at a cellular and may be associated with impaired organ function, cancer risk and accelerated aging.
Ana cautions, "We should consider that overweight or obese people who opt for intermittent fasting diets may already have insulin resistance, so although this diet may lead to early, rapid weight loss, in the long-term there could be potentially serious damaging effects to their health, such as the development of type-2 diabetes."