Intermittent Fasting May Improve Blood Sugar Without Weight Loss: Study


Intermittent fasting may help manage blood sugar levels even without weight loss[1], according to new animal research[2] in the American Journal of Physiology — Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology[3].

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Intermittent fasting involves skipping a meal or significantly restricting calories on certain days of the week. It has been linked with weight loss and the associated reductions in blood pressure[5] and cholesterol[6] in previous studies. To evaluate the potential effects of the eating style on blood sugar levels[7], researchers worked with mice bred to have genetic obesity and high insulin and blood sugar levels. The mice do not produce leptin, an appetite-regulating hormone that is thought to play a significant role in obesity in humans.

Both the obese mice and a control group of lean mice were placed on an alternate-day feeding pattern for two-and-a-half weeks, with unlimited access to food on feeding days. Although neither set of mice lost weight during the trial, both groups experienced improved blood sugar control on non-feeding days.

Because the improved blood sugar levels occurred only on non-feeding days, the benefits of intermittent fasting “likely vary considerably on a day-to-day basis,” the researchers note.

Want to learn more about intermittent fasting and diabetes? Read “Intermittent Fasting: Not So Fast.”[8]

Diane Fennell[9]

Diane Fennell

Senior Digital Editor for, Fennell has 16 years’ experience specializing in diabetes and related health conditions. Based in New York City, she has a degree from Columbia University.

  1. weight loss:
  2. new animal research:
  3. American Journal of Physiology — Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology:
  4. sign up for our free newsletter:
  5. blood pressure:
  6. cholesterol:
  7. blood sugar levels:
  8. “Intermittent Fasting: Not So Fast.”:
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Diane Fennell: Diane Fennell has been an editor at Diabetes Self-Management magazine since 2003. She is currently the Editorial Director. (Diane Fennell is not a medical professional.)

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