Study: Intermittent Fasting, Energy-Restrictive Diet Equally Effective for Weight Loss Following Gestational Diabetes

The 5:2 diet, or intermittent fasting diet, is equally effective as the conventional energy-restricting diet for patients attempting to lose weight following gestational diabetes, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. This weight loss can prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes for new mothers.

Globally, 1 in 5 pregnancies are affected by gestational diabetes, which leads to a 10-fold increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. The 5:2 diet allows patients to maintain 5 days of normal eating each week while substantially restricting calories 2 days per week, in contrast to a continuous energy-restricting diet, which requires daily calorie management.

“Healthy eating and regular physical activity are recommended to manage gestational diabetes, with continuous energy restriction diets—or diets that cut calories by 25%-30%—being the most common strategy for weight loss and diabetes prevention,” said Kristy Gray, PhD, in a press release. “The trouble is, however, that new mums often put themselves last – they’re struggling with fatigue and juggling family responsibilities—so when it comes to weight loss, many find it hard to stick to a low-calorie diet. The 5:2 diet may provide a less overwhelming option. As it only cuts calories over 2 days, some women may find it easier to adopt and adhere to, as opposed to a consistently low-calorie diet requiring constant management.”

The investigators compared the effects on weight loss and diabetes risk markers of both the 5:2 diet—specifically, 5 days of normal eating and 2 days of 500 calories—and a continuous energy-restricted diet allowing 1500 calories per day in patients with a previous diagnosis of gestational diabetes. According to the results of the study, both diets restricted energy by approximately 25% per week.

“Our research shows that the 5:2 diet is just as effective at achieving weight loss as a continuous energy-restricted diet in women who have had gestational diabetes, which is great, because it provides women with greater choice and control,” Gray said in the release. “Of course, women should seek advice from a health professional before commencing this type of diet, to make sure that it is suitable for them.”

REFERENCE

The 5:2 diet - a good choice for gestational diabetes [news release]. EurekAlert; October 31, 2021. Accessed November 3, 2021. https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/933309