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.