Benefits, mechanisms, and risks of intermittent fasting in metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes

J Physiol Biochem. 2022 May;78(2):295-305. doi: 10.1007/s13105-021-00839-4. Epub 2022 Jan 5.


One of the emergent nutritional strategies for improving multiple features of cardiometabolic diseases is the practice of intermittent fasting (IF), which consists of alternating periods of eating and fasting. IF can reduce circulating glucose and insulin levels, fat mass, and the risk of developing age-related pathologies. IF appears to upregulate evolution-conserved adaptive cellular responses, such as stress-response pathways, autophagy, and mitochondrial function. IF was also observed to modulate the circadian rhythms of hormones like insulin or leptin, among others, which levels change in conditions of food abundance and deficit. However, some contradictory results regarding the duration of the interventions and the anterior metabolic status of the participants suggest that more and longer studies are needed in order to draw conclusions. This review summarizes the current knowledge regarding the role of IF in the modulation of mechanisms involved in type 2 diabetes, as well as the risks.

Keywords: Diabetes; Glucose; Insulin resistance; Intermittent fasting.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2*
  • Fasting / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Metabolic Syndrome*
  • Obesity / metabolism


  • Insulin