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Impact of intermittent fasting on glucose homeostasis

Varady, Krista A.

Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care: July 2016 - Volume 19 - Issue 4 - p 300–302
doi: 10.1097/MCO.0000000000000291
CARBOHYDRATES: Edited by Luc Tappy and Bettina Mittendorfer

Purpose of review This article provides an overview of the most recent human trials that have examined the impact of intermittent fasting on glucose homeostasis.

Recent findings Our literature search retrieved one human trial of alternate day fasting, and three trials of Ramadan fasting published in the past 12 months. Current evidence suggests that 8 weeks of alternate day fasting that produces mild weight loss (4% from baseline) has no effect on glucose homeostasis. As for Ramadan fasting, decreases in fasting glucose, insulin, and insulin resistance have been noted after 4 weeks in healthy normal weight individuals with mild weight loss (1–2% from baseline). However, Ramadan fasting may have little impact on glucoregulatory parameters in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome who failed to observe weight loss.

Summary Whether intermittent fasting is an effective means of regulating glucose homeostasis remains unclear because of the scarcity of studies in this area. Large-scale, longer-term randomized controlled trials will be required before the use of fasting can be recommended for the prevention and treatment of metabolic diseases.

Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Correspondence to Krista A. Varady, PhD, Associate Professor of Nutrition, Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1919 West Taylor Street, Room 506F, Chicago, IL 60612, USA. Tel: +1 312 996 7897; fax: +1 312 413 0319; e-mail:

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