This Science-based Fasting Diet Can Restore Function of Diabetic Pancreas

This Science-based Fasting Diet Can Restore Function of Diabetic Pancreas

A group of U.S. researchers found that a type of fasting diet can reboot the body, regenerate the pancreas, and restore the lost function of the diabetic pancreas, i.e. to help control blood sugar levels.

Experts hailed the findings as “potentially very exciting” since they could provide a cure for diabetes. The results now must be confirmed by human trials as the diet proved its effectiveness only in animal experiments.

However, diabetes patients are advised not to try this diet without first seeking their doctor.

In the trial, experiments put mice on a “fasting-mimicking diet,” the human equivalent of a diet when people eat low-carbohydrate, low-protein, and low-calorie for five straight days.

The diet is very similar to a vegan eating regimen since it has soups and nuts, but the calorie intake stands at around 800 to 1,100 calories per day. After five days, mice could eat normally.

This diet which involves periods of starving with periods of feast can even slow down the aging processes. Moreover, the diet can regenerate the beta cells in the pancreas. These cells measure the amount of blood sugar and release insulin if levels are too high.

Dr Valter Longo explained that periods of starvation followed by periods of eating normally lead to a type of “developmental reprogramming” of the pancreas, which rebuilds those parts of the organ that lost their function.

The mouse trial showed that the method can benefit patients with both types of diabetes.

People develop type 1 diabetes when their immune system kills beta cells. Type 2 diabetes is often caused by poor lifestyle choices such as a diet rich in added sugar or sedentarism, and the body no longer reacts to insulin.

Prof Longo noted that the findings are very important since the diet could reverse diabetes in lab animals. What’s more, the experiment revealed that one can reprogram cells without making genetic modifications.

A person who followed the diet under Prof. Longo’s supervision said he lost between 4.4 and 8.8 lbs. However, he had to eat a quarter of an average person’s diet. After 25 days of eating normally, that person returned to his original weight.

Even though the weight loss didn’t last long, the diet normalized his blood sugar and blood pressure levels. The volunteer recalls that the very small portions of food he was given during those five days were far from being gourmet cooking, but he was happy he had something to eat.

The study was published Feb. 23 in the medical journal Cell.

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