Intermittent fasting , a very popular practice in recent years, could increase the risk of accumulation of belly fat and worsen blood sugar levels, up to the danger of insulin resistance type 2 diabetes. A study conducted on mice would throw a disturbing light on the benefits of intermittent fasting : as I have already written in the past, in fact, intermittent fasting does not make you lose weight per se, it makes you lose weight only if it is a way to eat less. And it is not effective for everyone:those who already tend to be stressed should not try a diet based on intermittent fasting. Researchers at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil, led by Dr. Ana Bonassa, would have a group of mice (30 adult female rats) do the intermittent fasting diet for three months in a row , and then evaluate the changes in their blood . blood tests, body composition (ie the distribution of fat), weight and some specific parameters, such as the composition of the cells of the pancreas.
Although the experiment was done on a sample of adult mice , the accuracy of the study is not to be underestimated: first of all because the researchers not only considered the change in body weight, but the change in the distribution of fat and size. stomach. Furthermore, because they analyzed what happens at the cellular level, studying the pancreas of mice after three months of intermittent fasting and providing hypotheses that had already been ventilated in previous studies to explain what they found. In fact, after three months of intermittent fasting, the mice would lose weight: the result of weight loss would be due to the fact that they would have eaten less, counting on fewer hours of feeding. However, the abdominal fat would have increased, the stomach would have “expanded” and more: the activity of the pancreas would have worsened, resulting in damage to the cells that produce insulin. At the same time, free radicals and oxidative stress would be increased, reducing lean mass.
So it can be thought that weight loss has been to the detriment of lean mass alone , and that those who follow intermittent fasting may have a slowed metabolism due to oxidative stress damage.
The hypothesis of the researchers in fact is that intermittent fasting is perceived by the body as a source of stress, and this would trigger an increase in free radicals, which in the long term would damage the respiration of cells, increasing the risk not only of insulin resistance and diabetes, but of other serious health problems. The study, presented at the European Society of Endocrinology annual meeting in Barcelona, can be read here .