Dr. Fung says he decided to experiment with intermittent fasting because he was frustrated seeing so many diabetic patients with kidney failure. “It occurred to me that fasting was an underutilized therapeutic option for losing weight,” he recalls. “I started doing this five years ago, and a lot of people got incredibly good results – it reversed their diabetes.”
According to the American Diabetes Association, islet transplantation can replace insulin injections and provide more physiological glucose control, but “there are not sufficient donor islets available for all the individuals who need them, and often it takes islets from several donors to transplant one recipient, exacerbating the donor shortage. A major reason for the need for multiple donors is that more than 80% of transplanted islets die within the first week after transplantation. The surviving islets may overwork and gradually die from exhaustion.”
During this 8-week study, β-cell function was tested by a gold standard method that used a stepped glucose infusion with subsequent arginine bolus (21). In type 2 diabetes, the glucose-induced initial rapid peak of insulin secretion (the first phase insulin response) typically is absent. This was confirmed at baseline in the study, but the first phase response increased gradually over 8 weeks of a very-low-calorie diet to become indistinguishable from that of age- and weight-matched nondiabetic control subjects. The maximum insulin response, as elicited by arginine bolus during hyperglycemia, also normalized. Pancreas fat content decreased gradually during the study period to become the same as that in the control group, a time course matching that of the increase in both first phase and total insulin secretion (Fig. 3). Fat content in the islets was not directly measured, although it is known that islets take up fat avidly (24) and that islet fat content closely reflects total pancreatic fat content in animal models (25). Although a cause-and-effect relationship between raised intraorgan fat levels and metabolic effect has not yet been proven, the time course data following the dietary intervention study are highly suggestive of a causal link (21).
This seems hard to do, but really it’s not if you know one secret: Replace snacking with something far more satisfying — fat. That’s right, the government is wrong to recommend a low fat diet. Fat is what makes you feel full until your next meal. Take away the fat, take away the full. Don’t go to an extreme, but do lean strongly toward a high-fat low-carb diet.