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Is Fasting Good For Diabetics

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Drawbacks To Consider Before Starting Intermittent Fasting

What to Know for Diabetics in Intermittent Fasting (7 Important Tips!)

Although IF/TRF may carry health benefits and is generally safe for people with diabetes, there are some drawbacks:

  • It is difficult to start a new eating routine! Transitioning from a round-the-clock eating schedule to one with planned feeding and fasting times can be stressful, and it might not align well with your daily life. For example, if you exercise in the morning or are an athlete, it might not be possible to participate on an empty stomach.

  • Any style of fasting will affect your blood glucose levels and insulin requirements. Especially when starting a fasting regimen, you will need to closely monitor these indicators to make sure that your glucose levels stay in range. If you have type 1 diabetes or are dependent on insulin, you should also test your ketone levels consistently to avoid the risk of ketoacidosis .

  • IF/TRF can have side-effects, such as shakiness, hypoglycemia, irritability, hunger, increased heart rate, sweating, chills, and dizziness.

  • Know that IF/TRF can lead to unhealthy eating habits, including disordered eating. If you are concerned that you or someone else with diabetes may be experiencing disordered eating, contact the Diabulimia Helpline or We Are Diabetes the National Eating Disorders Alliance is a resource for anyone with or without diabetes.

The Potential Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting For Diabetes

In previous years, dietitians and scientists thought of IF as a negative practice, so there isnt a wealth of high-quality clinical research on how it may affect people with diabetes, says Jason Fung, MD, a nephrologist in Toronto and the co-author of The Complete Guide to Fasting: Heal Your Body Through Intermittent, Alternate-Day, and Extended Fasting. But attitudes have begun to change, and some preliminary studies suggest the approach may have benefits, including for people with diabetes.

For example, an Autophagy found that IF helped preserve beta cells in mice that were manipulated to have obesity-induced diabetes. The combination of beta cell loss and insulin resistance lead to the high blood sugar that marks type 2 diabetes, according to an article published in March 2013 in Frontiers in Endocrinology.

While research on IF for diabetes prevention is also in its early stages, one study published in May 2011 in the International Journal of Obesity found that women who followed an IF diet two days per week and those who followed a more traditional consistent calorie reduction seven days per week lost weight. Those in the two-day group saw the greatest weight loss, yet they had only a modest reduction in fasting insulin, a measure of the insulin level over time, and insulin resistance.

Can You Participate In Intermittent Fasting

Researchers arent sure which intermittent fasting method is best for you if youre pre-diabetic or diabetic. You should talk with your doctor before beginning an intermittent fasting protocol especially if your diabetes treatment includes medication. Your doctor will help you understand how to check your blood sugar more frequently, and can recommend adjustments to medications as needed.

If your doctor thinks the 16:8 method would be appropriate for you, or maybe even a less strict method, ease into it by fasting for one or two days per week. Be mindful of how you feel and remain aware of the early signs of hypoglycemia, such as lightheadedness. If you do feel hypoglycemic, dont hesitate to break your fasting window your health is a priority.

Use caution when you exercise or participate in activities that can potentially reduce your blood sugar, and be sure to stay hydrated by drinking water regularly throughout the day.

Doctors and scientists recognize the potential use of intermittent fasting as a therapeutic treatment for diabetes. These benefits arise as a secondary benefit of weight loss, and from the unique changes to metabolic pathways that occur as a result of fasting.

After more randomized tests are done, its likely IF will become a standard in diabetes care. Until then, fasting is safe for you under the supervision of your healthcare provider and with increased glucose monitoring.

Recommended Reading: What Is 14 10 Intermittent Fasting

Is Fasting Safe For Type 2 Diabetics

Intermittent fasting, calorie-restriction fasting, and even long-term fasts lasting 3-5 days have become popular dieting practices in recent years for weight loss and anti-aging efforts. In fact, fasting comes with many benefits and has a rich history in cultures and religions throughout the world. Fasting comes in all shapes and sizes. Some people refrain from eating for 16 hours others eat only 600-800 calories for 1-3 days per week, while others sip on water or green juices for a few days to give their bodies a break from digestions.

Fasting can bring many benefits to the disciplined!

Are There Any Reasons Why Someone With Type 2 Diabetes Should Not Try If

Intermittent Fasting and Safe Fasting for Diabetes ...

IF may worsen symptoms in people with hard-to-control blood sugar levels and those with brittle diabetes.

There is minimal research on the effects of IF in certain populations, such as people who are pregnant or lactating.

People at higher risk of developing side effects such as hypoglycemia, dehydration, and hypotension should also avoid IF. These individuals include older adults, those with immunodeficiencies, and those with a history of traumatic brain injury or dementia.

Deliberately engaging in fasting can also exacerbate the challenges that people with eating disorders face.

Also Check: Do I Have To Fast For An A1c Test

Intermittent Fasting For Diabetes Explained

Are you hungry or insulin resistant? This is a question that I pose with type 2 diabetes. When your cells are resistant to insulin, you will feel hungry more often, which leads to incresaed food intake. The reason for this is because sugar isnt getting into your cells because insulin isnt doing its job effectively.

Intermittent fasting can improve insulin sensitivity as a result of weight loss and some of the other benefits associated with it.

Another important factor in improving insulin sensitivy is eating whole foods, staying away from processed carbs, while increasing your fiber intake. One way to accomplish this is by adding more green leafy vegetables to your diet, such as one of my favorites kale. And a tried and true way of controlling your blood sugar is keeping an eye on the carbohydrates you eat.

One of the biggest concerns with intermittent fasting and type 2 diabetes is the possibility of hypoglycemia and your medicines. Ive said this many times in the past and its worth repeating. Any diet can work in the short term, but it can only work in the long-term if its sustainable. A part of your lifestyle.

While the sample size in some of these studies that I looked at were relatively small 3 patients in one study, 41 in another I did come across some promising data. But over the long-term, I did observe where patients gained more weight and werent able to make intermittent fasting a part of their lifestyle. So its important to keep this in mind.

Intermittent Fasting And Diabetes: The Bottom Line

Although IF may help you lose weight, which can help you better control diabetes, its important to consult your medical team. Together you can decide whats most sustainable and safe for you as an individual. Due to the risk of potential blood sugar swings, full-blown IF may not be for you, especially if you aren’t controlling the diabetes well. Instead, decreasing your portion sizes, increasing your physical activity between meals, and making healthy food swaps all of which align with IF may be a better approach.

Also Check: What Is 14 10 Intermittent Fasting

Is Intermittent Fasting Safe For Diabetes

Intermittent fasting may present some risks for people with diabetes.

If you use insulin or medications and suddenly eat much less than normal, blood sugar can drop too low. This is called hypoglycemia.

According to the American Diabetes Association , hypoglycemia can lead to symptoms such as:

  • shakiness
  • stroke
  • high blood pressure

Before starting any diet or weight loss plan, consider meeting with a member of your diabetes care team, such as a physician or dietitian, to make sure its safe for you.

Some early research on animals shows that intermittent fasting may impact the pancreas and insulin resistance, but more studies are needed to determine its impact on diabetes in humans.

A 2020 study looked at what happened to rats when they fasted every other day for 12 weeks. It found that the rats had an increase in belly fat, damage to pancreas cells that release insulin, and signs of insulin resistance.

Its important to note that the findings may be different if humans took part in the same experiment. More research is needed to determine whether intermittent fasting can increase the risk of diabetes in people.

It may be possible for intermittent fasting to put diabetes into remission for some people, perhaps due to weight loss.

A 2018 case report evaluated three people with type 2 diabetes who used insulin and fasted at least three times a week. Within a month, they no longer needed to use insulin.

Other weight loss strategies may also help reverse diabetes, however.

Ways To Use This Information For Better Health

Is Intermittent Fasting SAFE For Diabetics??
  • Avoid sugars and refined grains. Instead, eat fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats .
  • Let your body burn fat between meals. Dont snack. Be active throughout your day. Build muscle tone.
  • Consider a simple form of intermittent fasting. Limit the hours of the day when you eat, and for best effect, make it earlier in the day .
  • Avoid snacking or eating at nighttime, all the time.
  • Read Also: Is Fasting Necessary For A1c Test

    Summary: Is Fasting Good Or Bad For Diabetes

    Scientists really don’t know what fasting might do long term for a Diabetic because there is isn’t any research to say one way or another!

    But there are also numerous downsides, side effects and risks that are already known.

    Bottom Line: Fasting is a fad diet. Yes, the hype is great and the promise of magical results are sexy and alluring. But when you step away from the hype and come back to reality, fasting is just a really hard way to cut calories.

    And fasting is also a possible gateway to serious issues like an eating disorder AND this risk should NOT be dismissed or ignored.

    Disordered eating is a very common issue in women with Type 2 Diabetes.

    Is fasting just a socially acceptable eating disorder?

    It sure seems like it…especially since the fasters promote the exact same tips and mind-over-will philosophies that are used on websites and forums that promote eating-disorder behavior, such as:

    • Drink lots of water, chew gum, occupy your mind, drink tea, drink black coffee, drink diet soda, push back breakfast as long as you can, and brush your teeth
    • Fasting in “private” is encouraged to avoid having to explain yourself to family and friends.
    • Not eating is the sign of true will power and successSince fasters are promoting the same behaviors as pro-eating disorder people, doesn’t that seem like a warning sign about fasting?

    Food Fitness And Prevention Of Diabetes

    Bottom Line: There is much we can do with a healthy lifestyle alone, no medications needed, to prevent diabetes, states Dr. James Barnard, Distinguished Professor Emeritus at UCLA and author of more than 200 studies on the relationship between lifestyle habits and chronic diseases like diabetes.

    In fact, a healthy lifestyle has proven more effective than medication in staving off diabetes.

    Lifestyle changes, like those taught at the Pritikin Center, are nearly twice as effective as medication in preventing pre-diabetes from turning into diabetes.

    In a landmark study, the NIH-sponsored Diabetes Prevention Program2, scientists followed 3,234 men and women with pre-diabetes for three years.

    One-third of them adopted lifestyle changes that were similar to the Pritikin Program: a daily eating plan of low-calorie-dense, high-fiber foods exercising for at least 30 minutes five days a week and a 7% weight loss.

    Another third of these pre-diabetics took a drug metformin .

    The remaining third, the control group, took a placebo.

    The results? Those on the lifestyle-change plan reduced the progression to full-blown type 2 diabetes by 58% compared to the control group. The reduction was even greater 71% among those aged 60 years or older.

    Treatment with the drug metformin reduced the progression to type 2 diabetes by just 31%.

    Put simply, lifestyle changes were nearly twice as effective as medication in preventing pre-diabetes from turning into diabetes.

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    Is Intermittent Fasting Safe For People With Prediabetes And Type 2 Diabetes

    While studies on intermittent fasting have demonstrated positive improvements in several key measurements of diabetes , it is important to know that fasting might have negative side effects for someone with diabetes. In a clinical study on intermittent fasting among 137 people with type 2 diabetes, dizziness, headaches, hunger, and hypoglycemia were the side effects most often reported. This study was conducted using the 5:2 IF approach.

    When it comes to blood sugar, Both IF and TRF will drop a persons glucose levels, meaning that medication adjustments are necessary to avoid hypoglycemia during the period of calorie restriction, said Dr. Robert Ratner, a long-time scientific and medical leader in diabetes. Changes in eating patterns on a daily basis will also require medication adjustments to keep glucose levels in range.

    There is currently no evidence to suggest that TRF would be less safe than IF, in particular because the fasting windows for TRF are shorter. IF and TRF appear to be most safe for people who do not take glucose-lowering medications that could cause hypoglycemia.

    Should We Pick Up Plows And Return To The 19th Century

    Is Intermittent Fasting Good For Type 2 Diabetes ...

    Of course not. But we can learn a lesson from the Amish in the Lancaster area of Pennsylvania, notes Gomer.

    They shun all modern conveniences. Theyre physically active throughout the day, growing and producing their own foods in much the same way their ancestors did 150 years ago. While the Amish diet is a lot higher in fatty dairy products than the Pritikin Eating Plan or the U.S. Dietary Guidelines would recommend, only about 3% of the Amish are overweight, and almost none is obese.

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    What Are The Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting For Diabetes

    When done safely, intermittent fasting may provide some benefits for people with diabetes. If the eating plan leads to weight loss, people may be able to reduce the amount of diabetes medication they take.

    Some people have been able to stop using insulin after fasting intermittently for a month or so, according to the small study on three people mentioned earlier.

    More research is needed to determine if intermittent fasting can help most people with diabetes stop using insulin.

    Other potential benefits include:

    • reduced appetite
    • increased fat oxidation

    More research is needed to determine the long-term benefits of intermittent fasting on glucose control and diabetes complications, according to the ADA.

    Tips For Intermittent Fasting When You Have Diabetes

    According to Diabetes UK, there are some general tips that are important to follow if you have diabetes and you plan to start an intermittent fasting diet. These include:

    The safety of fasting for those with type 1 diabetes has not been fully established. You should never fast if you have type 1 diabetes without first consulting with your healthcare provider.

    Recommended Reading: Alcohol During Intermittent Fasting

    Does Intermittent Fasting Help With Diabetes

    Like a lot of questions in the nutrition world, the answer isn’t entirely clear. Currently, most of the studies on IF and diabetes have been done on animals. While this has given us some insight on how intermittent fasting might help treat diabetes, the research in humans is definitely mixed.

    Animal studies have shown that IF improves insulin sensitivity and prevents obesity in mice. In humans, one recent case report published inBMJ found that IF successfully treated insulin resistance and lowered hemoglobin A1C in participants with insulin-dependent type 2 diabetes. Another promising outcome: after following IF for several months, all of the participants in the study were able to discontinue their insulin medication entirely.

    A recent clinical trial randomized men with prediabetes in two groupsone group followed a 6-hour timed feeding IF protocol and the other followed a 12-hour feeding protocol for 5 weeks . Results from the study found that the men in the IF group had less insulin resistance compared to those in the 12-hour feeding group. The IF group had better results, regardless of weight lost over the study. IF also produced better glucose control in a similar study done on a group of 107 overweight and obese women.

    However, a comprehensive review of the current research on IF and diabetes shows that several studies have also found that IF has no additional benefit to insulin resistance and hemoglobin A1C compared to a typical calorie-controlled diet.

    Have You Been Wondering If In Reality Is Fasting Good For A Diabetic Learn More About How This Method Could Help Manage Diabetes

    Is Intermittent Fasting Good For A Diabetic? Dr.Berg on Fasting and Blood Sugar

    You have heard about the many benefits of fasting, and how it can help someone lose weight, readjust their bodys composition and even enhance their way of life. But, is fasting good for a diabetic? Is it a safe practice for someone that needs to manage their disease?

    Truth is, this popular method of dieting can be considered a positive change for those trying to control their glucose levels.

    Wondering if indeed is fasting good for diabetes 2 does not have to cause too much controversy, as the explanation can be simple: fasting may actually help patients lose weight and control their sugar blood levels.

    However, and as with many other things, fasting and diabetes dangers are still present and need to be considered before starting the diet.

    As no two bodies react the same way to this methodology, and no two people are looking for the same result, it is imperative that before starting fasting as a way of managing your diabetes, you have a thorough consultation with your Doctor and Specialist.

    This is why whether or not is fasting good for a diabetic, before engaging in any change of lifestyle that directly affects the way you eat, thus affecting your glucose levels, proper clearance must be obtained to make sure it will not have a negative impact on your health.

    This means that, if uncontrolled, it can actually result in poorer blood sugar management, and it could lead to multiple other problems such as extreme fatigue, low energy, and medication imbalance.

    Also Check: How Much Is The Do Fasting App

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