Fasting may have a future role in treating diabetes

US researchers have found that the pancreas may be triggered to regenerate via fasting, which reversed diabetes symptoms in mice.

As reported by BBC News,  and published in the journal Cell, scientists from the University of Southern California put mice on a fasting diet.  This is comparable to a specialised human diet of 800 to 1,100 calories a day for five days.  This is followed by 25 days of eating normally, which therefore causes the body to react to a ‘feast and famine’ approach.  This experiment appeared to cause the regeneration of specific cells within the pancreas that detect sugar in the body and control insulin release in response.  In short, the research showed that diet could be used to reverse diabetes symptoms in mice.

BBC News quoted Diabetes UK saying the findings were “potentially very exciting”, but Dr Valter Longo, lead researcher for this study, made clear that people should “not try this at home [as] this is so much more sophisticated than people realise”.  Further research is needed to test whether this approach could be effective in humans.

For more information on diabetes signs, symptoms and treatment, see our information pages, or sources such as Diabetes UK and NHS Choices If you have diabetes, do not make significant changes to your diet without consulting your doctor.