More evidence has emerged about the benefits of Intermittent Fasting (IF). Intermittent Fasting is the process of restricting calorie intake, and only eating within a small window of the day.
A study published in the journal Cell, suggests that the pancreas can be regenerated through fasting.
One of the pancreas’ job is to produce insulin and balance blood sugar levels. When the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin to maintain a normal blood glucose level, diabetes may develop.
The research, from the University of Southern California used mice in a series of experiments.
The mice were put on a diet equivalent to humans being on 800 to 1,100 calories diet for five days, low in calories, protein and carbohydrates but with foods high in unsaturated-fats – such as nuts.
On the first day, the mice could only eat 50 percent of their normal calorie intake. For the remaining three days, the mice ate just 10 percent.
Then they could resume back to their normal eating habits, in which they put back on any lost weight, and then fasted again for four days.
This process was repeated three times.
Fasting regenerated the pancreas
The research revealed the diet regenerated a particular kind of cell found in the pancreas called a beta cell.
Beta cells regulate sugar in the blood by releasing the hormone insulin if it gets too high.
Dr Valter Longo, from the University of Southern California, commented:
"Medically, these findings have the potential to be very important because we've shown - at least in mouse models - that you can use diet to reverse the symptoms of diabetes.
"Scientifically, the findings are perhaps even more important because we've shown that you can use diet to reprogramme cells without having to make any genetic alterations."
More research is required before scientists know if these results can be replicated in humans, so anyone looking to cure themselves of diabetes should continue to follow their doctor’s advice.
However, many experts are fans of intermittent fasting as a way for the healthy to maintain wellbeing.
Miss Stephanie Moore, nutritionist and author of Why Eating Less and Exercising More Make You Fat (Health-in-Hand), is a long-time fan of Intermittent Fasting. She favours eating meals within an eight-hour window.
She says: “My personal preferred method is the 16/8 because this fits with my lifestyle, but there are many alternatives depending on how your life works.
“I am generally doing four or five days a week of 16 hour fasts, eating normally (of course healthily) from between 9am and 5pm.”
“This is a great way to rest the gut and re-set your fat burning.”
Miss Moore gives patients tailor-made plans for diet and nutrition designed to help them lose weight and sort out gut problems, and in some cases this may include Intermittent Fasting.
More you might like to read
- A Painless Test For Diabetes
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome: How Nutritional Therapy Can Help
- Orthorexia: The New Eating Disorder
An eating disorder characterised by extreme or excessive preoccupation with eating food believed to be healthy.Full medical glossary