July 24, 2023 | 12:36
Intermittent fasting, the fad diet technique favored by celebs like Jennifer Aniston, Kourtney Kardashian and Gwyneth Paltrow, might actually be unhealthy.
That’s what a recent study revealed after looking at the effects of the popular diet, in which people limit their consumption to a limited time window during the day.
The research, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, monitored the eating habits of more than 103,300 adults (79% of whom were women) for an average of seven years.
There were 963 new cases of type 2 diabetes among participants during the study. And people who regularly ate breakfast after 9 a.m. had a 59 percent higher rate of type 2 diabetes than those who ate breakfast before 8 a.m.
Biologically, this makes sense, as skipping breakfast is known to affect glucose and lipid control, as well as insulin levels, Anna Palomar-Cros, lead author of the study, said in a news release.
This is consistent with two meta-analyses concluding that skipping breakfast increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, Palomar-Cros added.
Another behavior that appeared to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes was eating dinner regularly (after 10pm). Conversely, eating more often throughout the day about five times a day reduced the risk of disease.
Prolonged fasting appeared to be beneficial only when done with breakfast before 8 am and an early dinner.
We know that meal timing plays a key role in regulating circadian rhythms and controlling glucose and lipids, but few studies have investigated the relationship between meal timing or fasting and type 2 diabetes, Palomar-Cros said.
This latest study adds to a growing body of evidence calling the intermittent fasting craze little more than a fad diet.
A 2022 study, published in the journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, found that skipping breakfast was associated with a higher risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
Other studies have found that intermittent fasting is almost the same as counting calories when it comes to losing weight.
For example, a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that people who participated in intermittent fasting and ate all their calories within an eight-hour window lost the same amount of weight as those who ate when they wanted but counted calories.
However, the intermittent fasting diet has its fans, and some research supports its effectiveness.
A recent study of people with type 2 diabetes found that those on a food-restricted diet lost 3.55 percent of their body weight in six months, while a calorie-restricted group lost nothing.
Many people find sticking to calorie counts very difficult in the long run, but our study shows that watching the clock can offer an easy way to cut calories and lose weight, said Vicky Pavlou, a doctoral student at the University of Illinois at Chicago, in a news release, as reported by US News.
There are different types of medications for type 2 diabetes sufferers, some of which can cause low blood sugar and others that must be taken with food, Pavlou added. Therefore, it’s important to work closely with a dietitian or physician when implementing this dietary approach.
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