Peer Reviewed

Gestational Diabetes

Intermittent Fasting May Improve Gestational Diabetes, Weight Loss

Intermittent energy restriction (IER) may be an alternative weight loss strategy for women with overweight and a history of gestational diabetes, according to the results of a recent randomized control trial.

The researchers compared the effects of 2 days per week of IER to daily continuous energy restriction (CER) on weight loss and diabetes risk markers. Included were 121 women aged 18 years or older who previously had gestational diabetes.

Over the 12-month study period, the participants were randomly assigned to either limit their caloric intake to 500 kcal twice per week for IER or 1500 kcal per day for CER. A total of 62 women with a mean age of 39.6 years and a mean body mass index of 32.6 kg/m2 completed the study.

The results indicated that while the mean standard deviation of weight loss was significant over time, it was not significant by diet group. The mean difference between the groups was -1.6 kg. Changes in hemoglobin A1c, fasting plasma glucose, fasting serum insulin, Homeostatic Model Assessment for Insulin Resistance, or 2-hour oral glucose tolerance at 12 months showed no significant differences between the diet groups.

“IER produces comparable weight loss to CER over 12 months in overweight women with previous [gestational diabetes],” the researchers concluded. “The high dropout rate in this study is a limitation in the interpretation of these results. Larger studies are needed to confirm noninferiority of IER compared to CER.”


—Leigh Precopio



Gray KL, Clifton PM, Keogh JB. The effect of intermittent energy restriction on weight loss and diabetes risk markers in women with a history of diabetes: a 12-month randomized control trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2021;114(2):794-803. doi:/10.1093/ajcn/nqab058