Fasting for even just 24 hours every so often could stop someone who is prediabetic from developing full-blown type 2 diabetes.
When the body goes without food for 12 hours, it starts scavenges for other sources of energy, including LDL cholesterol, the 'bad' cholesterol, from fat cells and uses it as energy.
Fasting one day a week for six weeks starts changing the prediabetic profile, such as high blood sugar and low levels of HDL cholesterol, say researchers from the Intermountain Medical Centre in Utah.
Fasting for just one time and then stopping actually increases cholesterol levels, and benefits aren't seen until it is repeated once a week for at least six weeks.
Researchers say that people who have regularly fasted for many years have much lower incidence of diabetes and coronary artery disease.
One unexpected further benefit was weight loss; on average, the participants lost around three pounds over the six weeks.
(Source: Proceedings of the 2014 American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions, San Francisco, June 14, 2014)