TORONTO — Three men with Type 2 diabetes used “intermittent fasting” to reverse their dependence on insulin, according to a report published Tuesday — but you shouldn’t try it without medical supervision, experts say.
The new case report says the three patients also lost weight, and their HbA1Cs, a measure of blood sugar levels, improved.
“People are focused on giving drugs to Type 2 diabetes, but it’s a dietary disease,” said study author Dr. Jason Fung, medical director of the Intensive Dietary Management Program in Toronto.
Experts say this clashes with the widely held belief that diabetes is strictly a chronic, irreversible disease — though Fung said that’s been changing in recent years.
“In general, the concept of reversing or curing diabetes … is not well-accepted in the medical field,” said Dr. Abhinav Diwan, associate professor of medicine, cell biology and physiology at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. “It is not even a therapeutic goal when people start to treat diabetics.”
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 9.4% of Americans — about 30.3 million people — have diabetes, and nearly a quarter of those are undiagnosed. Ninety to 95% of those cases are Type 2 diabetes. An additional 33.9% of the population, or 84.1 million people, have prediabetes, the agency says.
“Diabetes is the No. 1 cause of kidney failure, lower-limb amputations, and adult-onset blindness,” the CDC says.