Impact of intermittent fasting on glucose homeostasis

Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2016 Jul;19(4):300-2. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0000000000000291.


Purpose of review: This article provides an overview of the most recent human trials that have examined the impact of intermittent fasting on glucose homeostasis.

Recent findings: Our literature search retrieved one human trial of alternate day fasting, and three trials of Ramadan fasting published in the past 12 months. Current evidence suggests that 8 weeks of alternate day fasting that produces mild weight loss (4% from baseline) has no effect on glucose homeostasis. As for Ramadan fasting, decreases in fasting glucose, insulin, and insulin resistance have been noted after 4 weeks in healthy normal weight individuals with mild weight loss (1-2% from baseline). However, Ramadan fasting may have little impact on glucoregulatory parameters in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome who failed to observe weight loss.

Summary: Whether intermittent fasting is an effective means of regulating glucose homeostasis remains unclear because of the scarcity of studies in this area. Large-scale, longer-term randomized controlled trials will be required before the use of fasting can be recommended for the prevention and treatment of metabolic diseases.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Diet, Reducing*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine*
  • Fasting* / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Glucose Metabolism Disorders / diet therapy
  • Glucose Metabolism Disorders / metabolism
  • Glucose Metabolism Disorders / prevention & control
  • Homeostasis*
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Islam
  • Overweight / diet therapy
  • Overweight / metabolism
  • Overweight / prevention & control*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / diet therapy
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / metabolism
  • Weight Loss