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Diabetes Complications, Diabetes Diet

Study: Healthy Fasting Reduces Risk of Heart Disease, Diabetes

Regular readers may remember that I reported here on earlier studies about some benefits from intermittent fasting. But a study reported yesterday shows that fasting also lowers the risk of heart disease and diabetes and increases the good HDL cholesterol and reduces triglycerides, weight, and blood glucose levels. It also increases the bad LDL cholesterol.

Research cardiologists at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Murray, Utah, reported these finds at the annual scientific sessions of the American College of Cardiology in New Orleans. Tomorrow’s issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology will print the results of this study led by Dr. Benjamin D. Horne, Intermountain’s director of cardiovascular and genetic epidemiology.

LDL went up by 14 percent and HDL by 6 percent. But the increase in cholesterol from fasting is probably not a bad thing, as Dr. Horne explains.

“Fasting causes hunger or stress,” he pointed out. “In response, the body releases more cholesterol, allowing it to utilize fat as a source of fuel, instead of glucose. This decreases the number of fat cells in the body. This is important because the fewer fat cells a body has, the less likely it will experience insulin resistance or diabetes.”

Dr. Horne’s team conducted two fasting studies. One included more than 200 people. Another included 30 people who only had water for 24 hours and then studied for another day. During this additional 24-hour period the researchers subjected the subjects to blood tests and other physical measurements.

Now I have the incentive to get back to intermittent fasting. Just as soon as I finish the fish in my fridge.

This article is based on an earlier version of my article published by HealthCentral.

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  • Lynn Turner at

    I thought that fasting was a no-no for diabetics. I am supposed to fast the first Sunday of each month in Religious observance. If I can fast as directed that would be great. I am allowed to drink water but no solid foods for two meals. Let me know what you think. I was diagnosed on Friday the 24th of September, 2011. But I have no information on diabetes except what I have been able to find on the web. Dazed and confused. The doctor did not give me any numbers from the blood test a1c. She just told me I had 3 months to get it under control. So I am trying my best to find out what I need to do. Thanks for your help.

    • David Mendosa at

      Dear Lynn,

      Fasting is great for people with diabetes! Eating a lot of food isn’t!


  • Susan Butler at

    Hi David,

    I guesss that they are waiting on the test results of my A1C test, but it was 114 yesterday, and I did fast for about 11 hours and I am down to a good weight, at 135 so the weight is great, and I have cut all my sugar and salt completely, but if my sugar is 114 at a fsting, I do not understand why it is so high because I always take care of my self, excersise and watch my carb intake, this really does not make alot of sense to me. I do not hink I am a diabetic, except for I am tired alot, and sometimes fatigue too, and get dizzy often if I do not eat on my regular times. I eat 5-6 small meals a day. And when I check my sugar usually it is about 80-95, and after eating about two hours later it is often 115-124 and then back down after 3 hours, so according to the information I have read up I don’t seem to have too many syptoms of the disease. I appreciate your feedback, thank you so much for your response. I am in great hopes that I am a pre-diabetic, but I did all the important steps the doctors told me to take, and made the important changes to loose the weight so I believe that God has a hand on this part of the healing. I enjoyed talking with you.

  • Susan Butler at

    I was disgonosed with pre-diabetes 13 years ago, my sugars were high then,about 200 but I had managed to loose 165 lbs, and my numbers are good, I usually get resluts in the morning in the numbers of 98-110, this morning I fasted and it was 10 hours without eating or drinking, and my sugar was 114, and to me that was high, but A1C level is at 6% and I do not know if I am diabetic or not, the doctor did not tell me anything that either I was or not. During the day my sugar runs in the low 80’s or 90’s sometimes when I am sick it will get to 126 but only when I am sick, so am I diabetic or not? I do not know, because my sugars are never above 120 unless I am sick and then sometimes it is 100-120, but usually I have great numbers, I do not understand what the problem is that I am experiencing, my numbers are good shape, i do not eat sugar or much salt so is this ok or not? Please let me know.

    Thank you in advance,

    • David Mendosa at

      Dear Susan,

      Your doctor could tell you if you have diabetes or pre-diabetes on the basis of one or another test. That’s the only way to know. But it doesn’t matter much in terms of what you do. Get your weight down to normal — or better, to low normal, eat very little starch and sugar, and exercise a lot, like walking. That should do it, whether or not you have already become a person with diabetes.