The practice of intermittent or interval fasting (TRE-time-restricted eating) – a diet that limits food intake to certain hours-attracts the attention of those who seek to reduce and control their weight, so most TRE studies focus on assessing weight loss.
Scientists from the Salk Institute for Biological Research in California decided to test how the TRE regime affects other body functions in experiments on mice. Their results show that interval fasting helps with type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, liver cancer, and even infectious diseases such as COVID-19.
“The main result of many clinical studies of TRE is weight loss, but we found that interval fasting is useful not only for metabolic diseases but also for increasing insulin resistance and resistance to infectious diseases,” the words of the head of the study, professor of biology Satchidananda Panda, are quoted in a press release from the Salk Institute.
Today, more than 40 percent of Americans already suffer from diabetes or prediabetes, with the American Diabetes Association predicting 1.5 million new cases annually. According to the scientist, glucose intolerance is the first step to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and liver cancer — one of the few types of cancer, the incidence and mortality from which have increased and not decreased over the past 25-30 years. This trend searches for simple methods to combat glucose intolerance, one of the main priorities of scientific research.
The authors fed laboratory animals with foods high in fat and sugar but limited their food intake to nine hours a day. At the same time, the scientists coordinated the feeding time with the circadian clock of mice that sleep during the day and go out to search for food at night.
During the experiment, the researchers conducted tests of the chemical composition of the liver, blood glucose levels, an assessment of total muscle mass, and tests for performance, endurance, and survival in sepsis — a life-threatening reaction to infection.
Scientists have found that the TRE regime reliably protects against fatty liver disease, regardless of age and gender. Also, glucose tolerance tests performed on mice after 16 hours of fasting showed that interval fasting allows you to maintain a lower blood sugar level and provides a faster return to normal sugar levels after deviations. According to the authors, TRE can be an almost free and convenient way to prevent or treat diabetes and metabolic syndrome. The researchers also found that the TRE regimen can protect against death caused by sepsis, for example, in intensive care units, which is especially important during a pandemic.