Rockville, MD—Intermittent fasting can regulate blood sugar, regardless of weight loss, according to a new study published in theAmerican Journal of Physiology—Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology.

Intermittent fasting, the practice of cycling through periods of normal eating and fasting, has been found effective for weight loss and the reduction of high blood pressure and cholesterol in people with mild obesity.

In the study in question, researchers examined mice with genetic obesity and high insulin and glucose levels. The mice did not produce leptin, the hormone that regulates appetite, which previous research suggests may cause obesity in humans.
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The obese mice, and a control group of lean mice, followed an alternate day feeding schedule for 19 days, while a comparison group of obese and lean mice were allowed to eat daily. They had unlimited access to food on feeding days.

Neither group of mice lost a significant amount of weight, but on non-feeding days, glucose control improved in both groups. Moreover, the obese mice on an alternate day fasting schedule ate 37% less food than the obese mice who ate daily, while the lean mice ate the same amount of food regardless.