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Researchers to discuss benefits of intermittent fasting in diabetes


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Over the years, many people have praised the effects of time-restricted eating—also known as intermittent fasting—on weight management. This topic will be further explored during the symposium Intermittent Fasting in Various Forms of Diabetes Care.

Lisa S. Chow, MD, MS
Lisa S. Chow, MD, MS

The session will take place on Saturday, June 22, at 3:15 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. ET in Room W414 of the Orange County Convention Center. It also will be livestreamed on the virtual meeting platform for registered meeting participants and be available on-demand following the 84th Scientific Sessions.

Lisa S. Chow, MD, MS, Director of the Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism, Professor of Medicine, and Program Director for the T32 Research Training Program, Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism at the University of Minnesota, will focus on the role of time-restricted eating in diabetes treatment.

Unlike caloric restrictions, intermittent fasting focuses on when you eat, as opposed to what you eat. While research on intermittent fasting and type 1 diabetes has been limited, there is emerging data on type 2 diabetes and whether intermittent fasting can be beneficial for glycemic control and weight loss.

With time-restricted eating, you set a daily eating window, generally eight hours.

“During that time, you typically eat what you want. Outside of that time, you take water and medications,” Dr. Chow said. “Time-restricted eating can be quite simple. You don’t have to count calories. You don’t have to fuss, you just say, ‘OK, this is my eating window. This is when I eat.’”

Time-restricted eating has been shown to help people lose weight. One of the ways this works is that there is less of an opportunity to eat with the shortened eating window, she said. And the less of an opportunity there is to eat, the less the caloric intake and the greater the weight loss.

“The question is, is time-restricted eating better than caloric restriction? Are there added advantages?” Dr. Chow said. “When you have an eight-hour eating window, you have a 16-hour fasting window. Does the fact that you have prolonged fasting make you, maybe, burn more fat and have a preferential benefit on body composition? This is under active investigation.”

Sofia Cienfuegos Muzard, PhD, MS
Sofia Cienfuegos Muzard, PhD, MS

Sofia Cienfuegos Muzard, PhD, MS, Clinical Assistant Professor, Kinesiology and Nutrition at the University of Illinois at Chicago, will address how intermittent fasting could be incorporated into the treatment of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).

“We’ve been running a clinical trial now for the last year and a half trying to see how time-restricted eating could work for treating PCOS, especially restoring ovulation, reducing insulin resistance, weight management, all of those outcomes,” Dr. Cienfuegos Muzard said.

PCOS is often linked with insulin resistance and obesity, and lifestyle changes and medications are often the first- and second-line therapies recommended by physicians.  

“What we’re trying to do is simplify that first-line therapy with like lifestyle interventions,” Dr. Cienfuegos Muzard said. “And our strategy is to use fasting instead because fasting is a straightforward approach that you can use for achieving very similar, and maybe even potentially better, results than your traditional calorie restriction.”

PCOS can have a significant impact on the quality of life of women affected with this condition, including infertility, insulin resistance, oily skin, and acne. Dr. Cienfuegos Muzard will discuss the study’s data and possibilities for finding a clear-cut solution to treat PCOS.

“What we want to achieve is a better quality of life. We want people to live better, to feel better, to be happier. That’s our ultimate goal,” Dr. Cienfuegos Muzard said.

Courtney M. Peterson, PhD, MSc, MA, MS, Associate Professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, will discuss whether time-restricted eating can inhibit the progression of prediabetes.

Register Today for the 84th Scientific Sessions

Join us in Orlando for the 84th Scientific Sessions, June 21-24. Full in-person registration includes access to all of the valuable onsite content during the meeting and on-demand access to the virtual program June 25-Aug. 26. For those unable to join us in-person, we are planning a virtual program to allow as many people as possible to participate and learn about the latest advances in diabetes research, prevention, and care.