According to new research, intermittent or periodic fasting might be the slow and steady way to reduce your risk of both heart disease and type 2 diabetes.Â The research was presented at the annual scientific sessions at the American College of Cardiology conference in New Orleans recently.
The study itself was conducted in Salt Lake City, which has a predominately Mormon population.Â Two thirds of its residents are Mormons who fastÂ at least one per month for 24 hours for religious purposes.Â In total, the study included 200 residents from the State of Utah.
The same researchers previously had found that those who fasted at least once per month had a lower incidence of coronary heart disease in an earlier study.
[colored_box color=”eg. blue, green, grey, red, yellow”]The researchers were able to replicate these initial findings and also demonstrate that fasting is associated with a lower prevalence of diabetes. In fact, fasting appeared to nearly halve the odds of developing diabetes.[/colored_box]
Intermittent Fasting and Cardiovascular Risk:
In a companion study to these findings, the researchers also looked at the acute effects of fasting on blood markers for cardiovascular risk.Â For this part of the study, they used participants who did not routine fast.Â Participants did not eat or drink anything other than water for 24 hours.
During the fast, researchers found favorable effects such as an increase in HDL cholesterol and lowering of triglycerides.Â However, they also noted that both LDL and total cholesterol levels roseâ€”which may be a transient finding since cholesterol levels returned to normal after the fast was over.
â€œIt appears that the total cholesterol has gone up because the liver is not processing as much cholesterol and instead it is being dumped into the bloodstream to be used as fuel,â€ according to lead researcher, Benjamin Horne.
Intermittent Fasting and Human Growth Hormone:
In addition to the effects of fasting on cholesterol levels, it also caused a significant rise in human growth hormone (HGH) levels.Â Generally speaking, HGH is involved in fat loss.Â Levels rose by a factor of 13 in women and 20x in men during the fast.
Horne continued, â€œFasting is not a quick fix, itâ€™s a long-term lifestyle that you integrate into your normal life and do it for the durationâ€¦â€
Of course, fasting is NOT for everyone.Â â€œThere are some dangers for people that are at high risk for other conditions, women who are pregnant or lactating, and young childrenâ€ Horne added.