Fasting raises cholesterol levels in the short term
‘When we observed the effects of fasting on cholesterol levels in healthy individuals, cholesterol levels increased within a 24-hour fasting period,’ Dr Horne tells us.
Based on the 2011 study results, Dr Horne is conducting another study to investigate the effects of fasting on prediabetes over a longer period of time. All study participants were prediabetics between the ages of 30 and 69. At least three of the following diabetes risk factors applied to the study participants:
- Overweight – especially in the abdomen (apple type)
- High blood lipid levels
- Low HDL cholesterol levels, which increase the risk of heart disease (HDL cholesterol is also called “good” cholesterol)
- High blood pressure
- Elevated fasting blood glucose – a slightly elevated blood glucose level in fasting status can be an early sign of diabetes
The study participants included people who were overweight and also people who were normal weight. Previous studies on this topic had only allowed overweight participants and had also only focused on possible weight loss during fasting.
Of course, the Intermountain Medical Center study also showed weight loss – three pounds in six weeks – but looked more at how fasting affected diabetes and its other risk factors.
Long-term fasting lowers cholesterol levels
During the fasting days, cholesterol levels rose slightly – as they had done in the earlier study in healthy people. This time, however, we observed the matter over a period of six weeks, during which the subjects continued to practise Intermittent Fasting. This showed that the cholesterol level could be reduced by 12 percent in the long term. Obesity was also reduced during this time, of course,” Dr Horne said.
When the LDL cholesterol is pulled out of the fat cells and burned for energy, this process not only helps to lower cholesterol levels, but also to remove insulin resistance, which in turn reduces the risk of diabetes.
Insulin resistance is a regular feature of type 2 diabetes. In this case, many of the body’s cells no longer respond sufficiently to insulin, so that a large proportion of the sugar remains in the blood, the pancreas has to secrete more and more insulin, and at some point it is exhausted – which would result in insulin-sensitive diabetes.
Regular fasting or intermittent fasting is therefore a very good idea if you want to eliminate the typical risk factors for diabetes or “just” lower your cholesterol level.
- You can find more studies on the helpful effects of fasting in diabetes here: Fasting for diabetes
- How fasting can protect you from breast cancer is explained here: How fasting prevents breast cancer
- we have described here, how fasting can kill cancer cells,: Intermittent fasting kills cancer cells
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