Posts tagged with "type 2 diabetes"

Can intermittent fasting improve your health?

November 23, 2018

According to research by the Calorie Control Council, a typical Thanksgiving dinner can carry a load of 3,000 calories. That’s about 500 more calories than most Americans eat in a whole day—and also about 500 more than it takes to gain one pound.

And that’s also why, on the day after the holiday, many of us might be wondering about the pros and cons of intermittent fasting—one of the buzziest diets out there right now. After all, why diet diligently all week when you can drop the excess weight by skipping food entirely just two or three days out of seven?

Fans of this form of dieting say they have lost as much as 8% of their body weight within eight weeks by cutting calories by 20% every other day. They also say they are healthier and have less inflammation.

WebMD theorizes that the possible secret behind the diet’s health benefits is that fasting puts mild stress on your body’s cells. Scientists think that the process of responding to this stress can strengthen the cells’ ability to fight off some diseases—even disorders as serious as heart disease and cancer.

But are these claims legit? Honestly, researchers say, not enough is known yet to confirm whether fasting is advisable or not.

As Liz Weinandy, a staff dietitian at the Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center, admitted to Men’s Health magazine in a recent interview, ““I don’t think anybody knows.This is all preliminary.”

In fact, the magazine says, most of the press coverage of intermittent fasting and its purported immune system benefits has focused on just one study: In 2014, Valter Longo— a professor of Gerontology and the director of the USC Longevity Institute—found that cycles of a four-day low-calorie diet that mimicked fasting (FMD) cut visceral belly fat and elevated the number of progenitor and stem cells in several organs of older mice—including the brain, where it boosted neural regeneration and improved learning and memory.

The test was part of a three-tiered study on periodic fasting’s effects—involving yeast, mice, and humans— o be published by the journal Cell Metabolism in June 2015.

Longo and his team had both mice and human cancer patients fast for four days. During the fast, both the mice and the cancer patients discarded old blood cells; once the fast was broken, their bodies produced shiny, new cells to take the place of discarded ones, thus effectively regenerating their immune systems.

In fact, Longo found, in the pilot human trial, three cycles of a similar diet given to 19 subjects once a month for five days decreased risk factors and biomarkers for aging, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer with no major adverse side effects.

Results of of the study led the USC team to conclude that prolonged periods of fasting could reduce the harsh side effects of chemotherapy for cancer patients—in fact, some patients are already trying this on their own, based on a story posted this year by U.S. News & World Report)—or even boost immunity for healthy people.

A 2015 study by Yale Medical School went one further, finding that hat a compound produced by the body when dieting or fasting can block a part of the immune system involved in several inflammatory disorders such as Type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Convinced and ready to start? First, read a few cautions from Men’s Health.

First, most intermittent fasting plans recommend not eating between 16 to 24 hours— a much shorter period of time than the four-day fast in Longo’s study. For this reason, Longo says it’s unlikely that his study has any long-term implications about the health benefits of intermittent fasting.

Your body won’t eliminate old cells “until two, three, or four days into the fasting,” he told the magazine. “It takes even longer for the system to start really breaking down muscle, breaking down immune cells, breaking down different tissues.”

Indeed, the report says, future studies will require a broader sample size than Longo’s, so we can determine how fasting affects different groups of people —for instance, the elderly, or diabetes patients, or those with low-functioning immune systems.

What’s more, if you have an active lifestyle, cut back on exercising because fasting could potentially drain your stores of sodium and potassium—two electrolytes that are essential for kidney, heart, and muscle function.

And finally, don’t forget to drink. Water is always a great choice, all day, every day. Sparkling water is fine—but don’t use artificial sweeteners. They will wreak havoc on your insulin levels and defeat your end purposes entirely.

Research contact: melissa.matthews@hearst.com

Have another helping of whipped cream: Dairy fat may protect against diabetes

October 16, 2018

How sweet it is! As the holidays approach, most of know we will take guilty joy in having a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream with our portion of pie. But maybe it’s time to cut back—on the contrition, Medscape reports.

In a recent epidemiologic study, researchers found that adults with higher blood and fat tissue levels of three fatty acids—which correlate with intake of high-fat dairy foods—were less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

The study, led by Fumiaki Imamura, Ph.D., an epidemiologist at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, was published online on October 10 in the journal, PLOS Medicine.

Dr. Imamura and his co-authors analyzed data from 16 pooled international cohorts with more than 60,000 people from the Fatty Acids and Outcomes Research Consortium (FORCE) project, based at Tufts University in Massachusets.

At the beginning of the study, the participants had baseline measurements of three fatty acids—pentadecanoic acid, heptadecanoic acid. and trans-palmitoleic acid—that reflected consumption of fat from dairy products such as milk and cheese.

During up to 20 years of follow-up, 23.8% of the participants developed type 2 diabetes. The people with the highest levels of all three fatty acids (highest quintile) had a 35% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes during follow-up than people in the lowest quintile. 

“Our results provide the most comprehensive global evidence to date about dairy fat biomarkers and their relationship with lower risk of type 2 diabetes,” Imamura said in a statement by the UK Medical Research Council.

“We’re aware that our biomarker work has limitations and requires further research on underlying mechanisms,” he conceded, “but at the very least, the available evidence about dairy fat does not indicate any increased risk for the development of type 2 diabetes.”

Senior author Dariush Mozaffarian, M.D., Tufts University, added: “While dairy foods are recommended as part of a healthy diet, U.S. and international guidelines generally recommend low-fat or non-fat dairy, due to concerns about adverse effects of higher calories or saturated fat.” However, he said, these latest results “suggest a need to re-examine the potential metabolic benefits of dairy fat or foods rich in dairy fat, such as cheese.”

What do these findings mean for clinicians and patients?Medscape Medical News asked Robert H. Eckel, M.D., of the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes, and Cardiology, and Director of the Lipid Clinic, at the University of ColoradoAurora.

Should people switch to high-fat instead of low-fat dairy and eat more dairy?

“Epidemiology is epidemiology,” he stressed in an email. “No changes in a heart-diabetes-cancer-healthy lifestyle are recommended until more science affirms this relationship” between high-fat dairy foods and lower risk of type 2 diabetes.”

According to Eckel, “It’s not ‘good foods’ or ‘bad foods’, it’s the overall diet.”

Nevertheless, the study’s “novel findings,” Imamura and colleagues conclude, “support the need for additional clinical and molecular research to elucidate the potential effects of these fatty acids on glucose-insulin metabolism, and the potential role of selected dairy products for the prevention of type 2 diabetes.”

Research contact:  fumiaki.imamura@mrc-epid.cam.ac.uk