A diet that has recently become popular among people that want to lose weight faster is called intermittent fasting. The diet contains ‘fast’ days when a person reduces the calorie intake to a quarter of a daily dose or less. Alternatively, there are ‘feast’ days, when a person eats whatever they want.
Intermittent fasting has increased in popularity in the last years. It was widely suggested that it could lower the risk of developing cancer or it can help people live longer. Some studies on mice showed that this diet can lower the risk of cancer. Other studies observed that religious people’s fasting can help them live longer.
However, there are some issues with this diet, according to a research led by Ana Cláudia Munhoz Bonassa (University of São Paulo in Brazil). Bonassa presented the research at the European Society of Endocrinology annual meeting, showing that this diet can affect a person’s metabolism.
The study shows that intermittent fasting can affect the normal activity of the pancreas and it can affect the production of insulin, raising the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Oxidative Stress and Increased Levels of Free Radicals
Previous studies on fasting showed that short times of fasting, increases the oxidative stress and it produces free radicals. They speed the aging process and damages the DNA, also increasing the risk of diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease, and even neurodegeneration.
Bonassa wanted to see if intermittent fasting also generates free radicals. So, she and her colleagues studied rats for three months. They took healthy adult rats and they started placing them on a diet.
They analyzed the insulin levels and function, the weight and the levels of free radicals. After the diet, the rats lost weight. Moreover, the body fat changed:
Fat tissue in the abdomen has increased after the diet, and belly fat is linked to type 2 diabetes.
Furthermore, the team saw that the insulin-secreting pancreatic cells were damaged. There were higher levels of free radicals and the mice also started to show signs of insulin resistance.
Fast Weight Loss – With Serious Damaging Effects
Bonassa commented on the findings:
“We should consider that overweight or obese people who opt for intermittent fasting diets may already have insulin resistance. 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.”
The study is a first proof to show the link between intermittent fasting diets and Type 2 Diabetes. Moreover, it damages the pancreas, “which could lead to diabetes and serious health issues,” added Bonassa.
Rex Austinwas born and raised in Thunder Bay Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior. Apart from running his own podcast (Ice Fishing And Other “Cool” Things), he spends his time canoeing and backpacking in Northern Ontario.. As a journalist Rex has published stories for Global News (Thunder Bay) we well as Buzz Feed and Joystiq. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Rex most covers science and health stories. Contact Rexhere