Intermittment Fasting: A Potential Alternative to Calorie Counting for Type 2 Diabetes Patients (Study)

In the ongoing quest for effective weight loss and blood sugar control strategies, a new study has shed light on the potential benefits of time-restricted eating for people with type 2 diabetes. The study, which was recently published in JAMA Network Open, suggests that time-restricted eating might offer a viable alternative to traditional calorie counting, especially for those tired of meticulously tracking their food intake.

Key Takeaways:

  • Time-restricted eating and calorie counting both showed significant improvements in blood sugar levels for type 2 diabetes patients.
  • Participants following a time-restricted diet lost belly fat and improved their blood sugar similarly to those counting calories.
  • The time-restricted eating group naturally reduced their daily calorie intake by about 300 calories.
  • Both groups achieved significant reductions in their A1C levels, a key indicator of blood sugar control.
  • Time-restricted eating may not be a one-size-fits-all solution, but it offers another tool in the weight loss arsenal.

A Closer Look at the Study

The randomized clinical trial followed 75 individuals over a span of six months. The results indicated that those who adhered to a time-restricted diet, limiting their eating window to 8 hours per day, naturally reduced their daily calorie intake by about 300 calories. In contrast, those who were asked to reduce their daily intake by 500 calories found the task of tracking their food consumption tedious, resulting in a reduction of only 200 calories per day.

Interestingly, despite the difference in weight loss between the two groups, both showed significant improvements in their A1C levels. This test provides an average of blood sugar levels over a three-month period. Both groups also experienced similar reductions in dangerous visceral belly fat, which is linked to various health complications, including diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

Debate Surrounds Time-Restricted Eating

While the study’s findings are promising, experts in the field have differing opinions on the efficacy of time-restricted eating. Dr. David Katz, a specialist in preventive and lifestyle medicine, emphasized that time-restricted eating is merely a tactic to reduce daily calorie intake. The benefits derived from this approach are primarily due to caloric reduction and subsequent weight loss.

Another perspective comes from preventive cardiologist Dr. Ethan Weiss, who personally followed time-restricted eating until his own clinical trial found no significant benefits for weight loss or cardiovascular health. Weiss’s study even found that participants lost lean muscle mass when they fasted from 8 p.m. until noon the next day.

Individualized Approaches to Weight Loss

The path to weight loss is highly individual, and what works for one person may not necessarily work for another. However, one consistent factor that aids in weight loss success is having support throughout the journey. The study emphasized the importance of accountability, with participants meeting regularly with researchers for check-ins.

For those considering time-restricted eating, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional, especially for individuals with type 2 diabetes. Certain medications can cause low blood sugar if not taken with food, making it crucial to ensure the safety of any new dietary approach.


The study underscores the potential of time-restricted eating as an alternative to traditional calorie counting for blood sugar control and weight loss in type 2 diabetes patients. While more research is needed, and individual results may vary, it’s clear that having multiple strategies available can empower individuals to find the approach that best suits their needs.