Why the 5:2 diet might not be good for you

Why the 5:2 diet might not be good for you: Fasting for a day may raise risk of diabetes say scientists

  • Experts revealed their findings at the European Society of Endocrinology’s annual meeting 
  • Over the past few years, intermittent fasting diets have attracted popularity from those trying to lose weight
  • However experts warn that those considering starting such programmes should consider this carefully

Fasting may increase the risk of diabetes and cause damaging side effects, according to scientists.  

Experts speaking at the European Society of Endocrinology’s annual meeting this weekend say that this could lead to increased risk of diabetes. 

They add that those considering starting such programmes should consider this carefully as it could have serious implications.

Fasting may increase the risk of diabetes and cause damaging side effects according to scientists.speaking at the European Society of Endocrinology’s annual meeting this weekend 

Ana Bonassa, who works with the team from the University of São Paulo in Brazil, carried out the study.

She told The Guardian: ‘This is the first study to show that, despite weight loss, intermittent fasting diets may actually damage the pancreas and affect insulin function in normal healthy individuals, which could lead to diabetes and serious health issues.’

Over the past few years, intermittent fasting diets have attracted a lot of popularity.

The concept sees dieters fast for two days out of seven, or on alternate days.

But evidence of their success has been controversial and is causing debate with doctors about their potential to cause harmful long-term effects.

Past research has also proved that short-term fasting can produce molecules called free radicals.

These are highly reactive chemicals that can cause damage to cells in the body, which may be associated with cancer risk, accelerated ageing and impaired organ function.

Researchers from São Paulo examined the effects of fasting every other day on the bodyweight, free radical levels and insulin function of normal adult rats over three months. 

While the rats’ body weight and food intake decreased as expected, the amount of fat tissue in their abdomen ending up increasing.

Cells of the pancreas that release insulin also showed damage, and increased levels of free radicals and markers of insulin resistance were also detected.

Experts speaking at the European Society of Endocrinology’s annual meeting this weekend say that this could lead to increased risk of diabetes

These results also show that in the long-term harm may be caused and that more investigation is needed to assess how people may be affected.

In particular, this would include those with existing metabolic issues.

Bonassa added: ‘We should consider that overweight or obese people who opt for intermittent fasting diets may already have insulin resistance, so although this diet may lead to early, rapid weight loss, in the long-term there could be potentially serious damaging effects to their health, such as the development of type 2 diabetes.’

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