/5should People Diagnosed With Diabetes Fast
Intermittent fasting is the current rage in the world of weight loss. People are adopting this modified version of the traditional fasting method to shed kilos and improve their health. The eating pattern that alternates between fasting and eating window is generally safe to practise for most. Only when it comes to people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, one cannot help but wonder how effective and safe this new eating habit is.
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.
Can If Reverse Type 2 Diabetes
In one small case series, three men were able to reverse their insulin resistance due to IF, allowing them to maintain control of their blood sugar levels even after ceasing insulin therapy. In addition, they experienced weight loss, a reduction in waist circumference, and a decrease in hemoglobin A1c levels.
However, as relapse of diabetes is a possibility, it is more accurate to say that these individuals are in remission.
In another study, the , the researchers randomized the participants to one of two groups: weight management or pharmacological therapy. They found that 46% of the participants in the weight management group achieved diabetes remission.
Still, the research to date remains limited, and further studies are necessary.
Recommended Reading: Best Weight Loss Plan For Type 2 Diabetes
So What Do I Need To Know
Maybe it’s more accurate to say that people with type 2 diabetes who take certain types of medication are more at risk for lows. We’re getting closer! But to get to the truth, we should take a look at someone without diabetes. Is it possible for them to have lows, too?
Theoretically yes, especially if doing long-lasting physical activities without proper food intake. Additionally, extreme stress and binge drinking are also common causes of low blood sugar for people without diabetes.
However, it’s pretty rare because as soon as BG’s drop, the body’s natural counterregulatory system kicks in, raising blood sugar back to normal levels. It stops the production of insulin and activates its stress system.
I’ve never experienced hypoglycemia , even though I am very active and eat a rather low carb diet.
Engage In Physical Activity
Another common sense suggestion, but one that can make a major difference! According to the American Diabetes Association , exercise is a fundamental part of diabetes treatment, and were big believers that its a fun and fulfilling part of our routine.
Not to mention the many, many, many other health benefits of exercise.
Recommended Reading: Is Atkins Diet Good For Diabetics
What Happens To Your Body During Fasting
The changes that occur in the body during fasting depend on the length of the continuous fast. Usually your body enters into a fasting state eight or so hours after the last meal. Your body will initially use stored sources of glucose and then later in the fast it will break down body fat to use as the next source of energy. Using your bodys fat stores as an energy source can, in the long run, lead to weight loss. Losing weight, particularly if you are overweight, can also lead to better control of blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. However, fasting should not be used as a way of losing weight in the long term.
Staying Well While Fasting
If you decide to fast, it is important to test your blood glucose levels more often as your blood sugar levels after fasting eight hours may drop too low . This is more likely to happen if you are unwell, treat your diabetes with insulin or some diabetes medications, or both. Speak to your diabetes team about this.
If you experience the symptoms of a hypo, such as feeling shaky, sweaty and disorientated, you must break the fast immediately and treat it with your usual hypo treatment, like glucose tablets, a sugary drink or GlucoGel, followed by a snack such as a sandwich or a bowl of cereal.
If you have to break your fast for any reason, continue your meals as normal for that day. You may be able to make up the fast at a later date or provide meals to the needy.
If you have type 1 diabetes, there is also a danger that your blood glucose levels may run too high and result in a build-up of ‘ketones’. This could potentially result in a serious condition known as ketoacidosis. The symptoms of high blood glucose levels might include feeling very thirsty, passing a lot of urine or extreme tiredness. If your blood glucose levels stay high and you experience these symptoms, speak to your healthcare team.
Read Also: Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy Icd 10
The Risks Of Fasting With Diabetes
As well as not eating food , fasting is also usually a time of prayer, reflection and purification. If you treat your diabetes with certain medications such as insulin, there is also the danger of the blood sugar levels after fasting becoming too low. This can lead to a hypo, or having your blood sugar levels too high which can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis , which would require hospital treatment. The symptoms of DKA include feeling very thirsty and passing a lot of urine.
If someone is fasting and does not take in fluids to reduce their thirst, this will accelerate dehydration and they will require urgent admission to hospital.
If you’re worried about fasting with diabetes, check with your GP or diabetes team, particularly if you’re not sure what to do with your diabetes treatment during fasting. If you can’t get hold of them, it’s best not to fast. And if you require urgent medical help you can use the NHS 111 online service.
Potential Drawback Of Intermittent Fasting: It May Harm Blood Sugar Control
On the other hand, some experts say that IF carries risks, especially for people who need to keep their blood sugar levels stable. For starters, skipping whole meals can result in poorer blood glucose control, not to mention issues such as fatigue and reduced energyand, thus, an increased risk of injury.
Skipping meals may also cause people to make poor diet choices, which can have the opposite effect on their waistline and blood sugar. If you havent eaten for hours, you may be more inclined to reach for a carb-heavy pastry or plate of pasta, for instance.
Blood sugar management can be a real concern with intermittent fasting for people with type 2 diabetes, Sheth says. Thats why its important to discuss intermittent fasting with your physician, monitor your blood sugar closely, and know that your medications may need to be adjusted as well. Your dietitian and diabetes care and education specialist can help guide and support you through this process.
A plan that severely restricts a persons calories or asks them to skip meals can be hard to stick with long term, too, says Ruth S. Pupo, CDCES, who practices at Adventist Health White Memorial in Los Angeles. While losing weight can be beneficial for people with diabetes, because it increases insulin sensitivity, putting weight back on can have the opposite effect, increasing the risk for diabetes complications.
Recommended Reading: What Is Diabetic Retinopathy Screening
How To Fast Safely With Diabetes
Fasting with type 2 diabetes is possible. However, there is no where in the literature that suggests a complete âdryâ fast. Also it was not recommended that a type 2 diabetic carry out a fast for more than 12 hours. The fast should be broken as soon as possible.
A safe fast when diagnosed with diabetes should be one that is under the supervision of a physician. It is important for someone to only consider fasting if he was not previously diagnosed with diabetic ketoacidosis. Diabetic ketoacidosis occurs when the sugar level within the body becomes so high because there is no insulin to allow the cells to use the glucose, the body will use fat instead and produce toxic byproducts.
Another way to fast safely would be to do so while you have not been diagnosed with heart disease or high blood pressure, along with your diabetes. Stop the fast if any lightheadedness or dizziness occurs and this should be reported to your physician as soon as possible.
A third way for diabetics to fast safely would be to constantly monitor their blood glucose level during the fast. If the level is abnormal compared to your previous readings, then it is suggested to stop the fast. When the person does break the fast every night, it is advised to split their meal into two portions. This will reduce the blood sugar level reaching a high level in a short period of time.
Potential Benefit Of Intermittent Fasting For Diabetes: It May Boost Weight Loss
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 coauthor of The Complete Guide to Fasting: Heal Your Body Through Intermittent, Alternate-Day, and Extended Fasting. But attitudes have begun to change, and some newer studies suggest the approach may have benefits, including for people with diabetes.
For example, a small study published in August 2021 in the journal Hormone and Metabolic Research found that IF lowered insulin resistance in 13 adults with type 2 diabetes. Insulin is a hormone that helps shuttle glucose out of the bloodstream people with type 2 diabetes are resistant to insulin, which results in higher blood sugar levels.
Its thought that losing weight through IF can lead to improvements in insulin sensitivity, too, says Michael Mosley, MD, a science journalist and coauthor of The FastDiet.
In addition, a review of existing research published in February 2021 in the journal Clinical Diabetes and Endocrinology included several studies that found IF reduced fasting glucose levels, weight, and post-meal blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Even with these studies, though, further research needs to be conducted to see whether IF is truly safe for people with type 2 diabetes as a whole, experts say.
Also Check: Insulin Plant For Type 1 Diabetes
Could Any Diet Takeaways From If Be Helpful For People With Type 2 Diabetes
There are a few diet takeaways from the science of IF. Insulin sensitivity changes with a circadian rhythm, decreasing throughout the day and into the night. Therefore, meals that a person consumes at night are associated with higher glucose and insulin levels.
Liming the hours of eating to a time earlier in the day for example, selecting an 8-hour window between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. or even 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. is effective in boosting metabolism and aiding in weight loss.
People should also try to avoid eating and snacking shortly before going to bed. Not snacking between meals will facilitate the metabolic switch from the use of glucose for energy to the use of fat.
A balanced diet is also important, so people should avoid sugars and processed carbohydrates, focusing instead on eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meat, and healthy fats.
Perhaps the most important factor, though, is that people choose an eating plan that they can sustain in the long term.
Dr. Kelly N. Wood, M.D., is an internal medicine physician who is board certified in Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism. She earned her medical degree from The University of the West Indies in Barbados before relocating to the United States in 2006. Dr. Kelly is currently in clinical practice in Atlanta, GA.
Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
A few small human studies have shown evidence that intermittent fasting can have health benefits for those with diabetes. These include:
- Weight loss
- Lowering insulin requirements
A long-term study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, revealed that a fasting state can support several benefits including:
- Lessening inflammation
- Sleepiness during the day
- Low energy levels
- A significantly increased risk of low blood sugar
- High blood sugar resulting from a surge of stored glucose from the liver when low blood sugar levels result from fasting
Its important to note that more research is needed to definitively back up the claims of side effects from intermittent fasting and to confirm the severity of such untoward reactions.
Because of the likeliness of side effects from fasting when a person has diabetes, its important to consult with your healthcare provider before deciding to start any type of fasting diet.
Don’t Miss: How Does Diabetes Cause Depression
What Is An Intermittent Fast
We all fast. We fast while we sleep and break the fast with breakfast, hence the name, but going even longer periods without food can have a lot of positive outcomes. Traditional fasting is usually understood as going a full day or more without food, while intermittent fasting can be achieved in many different ways. Some people on an intermittent fast skip just breakfast and then dont eat anything after 7 or 8pm. Some people go an entire 24 hour period, twice a week on non-consecutive days, without food and then eat slightly larger portions the other five days. Some people skip dinner. Some greatly restrict calories for two separate days a week. There is no one way to fast intermittently. As long as we are deliberately not eating for a set period of time, we are fasting in some capacity.
Type 2 Diabetes Meal Plan
We know that one of the hardest parts of adjusting to a diabetes diet can be the feeling like youre giving up a lot of your favorite foods.
Thats why weve put together a database of recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, desserts, and snacks that will make you feel like youre not missing a beat! See how a week might look in our sample meal plan.
You can reach out to our coaches if youd like help putting together one of your own.
Also Check: What Is Diabetic Retinopathy With Macular Edema
Should You Consider Intermittent Fasting
If you have type 2 diabetesand especially if you have challenges managing your blood sugar, you require insulin therapy, or are taking numerous type 2 diabetes medicationsit is advised to consult with a health care provider before entering any intermittent fasting program that is not supervised by medical experts. If you follow an intermittent fasting program, its also important that your blood sugar levels are carefully monitored, as you may be able to lower or even stop your insulin therapy or type 2 diabetes medications.
Duration Since Diagnosis And He
The duration since diabetes diagnosis is another factor that contributes to differences in hypoglycemia and subsequent HE among people with diabetes fasting during Ramadan. Early reports by Khalifa et al. indicated that patients with a longer duration of diabetes had significantly higher frequencies of hypoglycemia during Ramadan . That study found that diabetes complications, including hypoglycemia, were significantly more represented among patients who had diabetes for more than 10 years compared with those that had diabetes for less than 10 years . This could be explained by reduced attention to the disease and its complications over time decreased effectiveness of medications used over a long time, or other social or socioeconomic factors affecting glycemic control among patients with diabetes.
Recommended Reading: Sex And Diabetes Type 2
Does Research Suggest That If Improves Markers Of Health In Humans
The majority of IF research has involved animals rather than human participants. The evidence to support health improvements in people is promising, but many of the clinical studies to date have been relatively short-term interventions over a period of months.
A 2018 review article showed that nearly all IF studies resulted in some degree of weight loss, ranging from , and associated fat mass loss. However, there is little research to prove that IF is superior to other diets and eating patterns in promoting weight loss.
The use of an IF diet may also have a beneficial effect on blood pressure. In one , researchers observed 1,422 people for 1 year while they followed a fasting program. The participants experienced a reduction in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
In another study , which involved adult males, researchers found that IF provided metabolic and cardiovascular benefits, such as a decrease in total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.
Scientists know that insulin resistance improves with calorie restriction. After a period of fasting, insulin sensitivity increases, and insulin levels decrease. These changes result in improved blood sugar levels both during fasting and shortly after eating.
IF can have various health benefits for people with diabetes. These include:
- promoting weight loss
- improving insulin sensitivity, leading to lower insulin requirements
- normalizing fasting blood glucose levels
- reducing hemoglobin A1c levels
Tips & Tricks For A Healthy Fasting Experience
Dr. Ratner said, The health benefits of IF and TRF are due to calorie reduction. If people overcompensate when they are eating, the impact is lost. If you decide you want to pursue some sort of intermittent fasting plan, heres what you should keep in mind:
Intermittent fasting and time-restricted feeding are two ways people reduce calorie consumption over time as an alternative to traditional dieting. While research on these forms of fasting is limited in populations with diabetes, some evidence suggests that IF and TRF may offer people with diabetes or prediabetes a means to lose weight, stabilize blood sugar levels, and increase sensitivity to insulin.
While IF and TRF appear safe for people with diabetes, fasting can increase the risk of hypoglycemic events, especially in individuals taking medicine to lower blood sugar levels. Everyone’s body is different, so before trying IF or TRF, consult your healthcare professional to help determine if this plan would be safe and helpful for your health and wellbeing.
Don’t Miss: Can Diabetics Eat Corn On The Cob