(HealthDay News) — A 24-hour, water-only fast once weekly is being investigated as an intervention in patients who have prediabetes and metabolic syndrome, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the American Diabetes Association, held from June 13–17 in San Francisco.

Benjamin D. Horne, PhD, of the Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, UT, and colleagues examined the effects of six weeks of once-weekly, 24-hour, water-only fasting. Participants were aged 30–69 years and had prediabetes and ≥3 features of the metabolic syndrome.

The researchers found that, compared with baseline, glucose was unchanged after six weeks of once-weekly, 24-hour, water-only fasting (104.5 ± 18.8mg/dL vs. 104.9 ± 17.7mg/dL; P=0.82), but weight was significantly decreased (90.9 ± 11.1kg vs. 92.5 ± 11.3kg; P=0.008). Although low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) level increased from baseline after the initial 24-hour fast (post 24-hour fast: 101.6 ± 39.2mg/dL vs. post-prandial: 92.4 ± 33.8mg/dL; P=0.008), secondary analyses showed reductions in LDL-C after six weeks of the fasting program (100.9 ± 38.1mg/dL vs. 87.8 ± 27.4mg/dL; P=0.015).

“Together with our prior studies that showed decades of routine fasting was associated with a lower risk of diabetes and coronary artery disease, this led us to think that fasting is most impactful for reducing the risk of diabetes and related metabolic problems,” a coauthor said in a statement.

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