After 10 to 12 hours of fasting, the body looks for other energy sources to sustain itself, so it removes LDL (bad) cholesterol from fat cells and converts it into energyaccording to researchers at the Intermountain Heart Institute at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Utah.
“Fasting has the potential to become an important diabetes intervention,” in addition to lifestyle changes and weight loss, said Benjamin Home, the lead researcher.
The study focused on prediabetics between the ages of 30 to 69 with at least three of the following metabolic risk factors: a large waistline, a high triglyceride (type of fat in the blood) level, a low HDL (good) cholesterol level, high blood pressure and high blood sugar after fasting.
“Over a six-week period cholesterol levels decreased by about 12 percent in addition to the weight loss,” Home said. “Because we expect that the cholesterol was used for energy during the fasting episodes and likely came from fat cells, this leads us to believe fasting may be an effective diabetes intervention.”
The removal of LDL cholesterol from the fat cells for energy use should help stop insulin resistance, which happens when the pancreas keeps producing more and more insulin until it can’t make enough for the body, and the blood sugar rises. “The fat cells themselves are a major contributor to insulin resistance, which can lead to diabetes,” he said. “Because fasting may help to eliminate and break down fat cells, insulin resistance may be frustrated by fasting.”
Home noted that although fasting might be effective for protecting against diabetes, the results were not immediate. “How long and how often people should fast for health benefits are additional questions we’re just beginning to examine.” (Read more)