Nuthetal, Germany--Researchers from the German Institute of Human Nutrition (DIfE) reporting in the journalMetabolism are calling intermittent fasting (IF) a promising approach for the prevention of diabetes. According to apress releasefrom DIfE, the researchers discovered that that overweight mice prone to diabetes have a high accumulation of fat cells in the pancreas--and that mice on an IF regimen have lower pancreatic fat.

"Fat accumulations outside the fat tissue, e.g. in the liver, muscles or even bones, have a negative effect on these organs and the entire body. What impact fat cells have within the pancreas has not been clear until now," researcher Annette Schürmann, head of the Department of Experimental Diabetology at DIfE and speaker of the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD), explained in the release. The team's findings suggest that, in diabetes-prone animals, increased insulin secretion causes the Langerhans islets (island-like accumulations of hormone-producing cells in the pancreas) to deplete more quickly. After some time, Schürmann said, they cease functioning completely. "In this way, fat accumulation in the pancreas could contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes."

Researcher Tim J. Schulz, head of the Department of Adipocyte Development and Nutrition, added, "Under certain genetic conditions, the accumulation of fat in the pancreas may play a decisive role in the development of type 2 diabetes." Calling IF, "a promising therapeutic approach, the experts at DIfE, note that the dietary approach is "non-invasive, easy to integrate into everyday life and does not require drugs."

IF calls for not eating during certain time periods, though water, unsweetened tea and black coffee are allowed around the clock. Depending on the method, the experts at DIfE say, the fasting period lasts between 16 and 24 hours; alternatively, a maximum of 500 to 600 calories are consumed on two days within a week. The best known form of intermittent fasting is the 16:8 method--eating during an eight-hour window during the day.

For more on IF and diabetes, readWhy Do Low-Carbers and Keto Dieters Like Intermittent Fasting So Much? by Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., CNS aka The Nutrition Myth Buster™.

Related: Study: Intermittent Fasting Promotes Healthy Weight