I have noticed that more and more people are turning to intermittent fasting as a way to quickly shed all the stubborn body fat.
You might have heard about it. It's one of the hottest weight loss trends going around right now.
Many reviews say it’s all the rage but what about people with diabetes?
It has been a popular topic among our diabetes smarts community too.
So today we discussed it.
In this article, we’ve got the low-down on everything you should know when it comes to intermittent fasting and diabetes.
Keep reading as we reveal
And of course – THE BIG QUESTION…
So let’s dive into it…
Technically, intermittent fasting - also known simply as ‘I.F.’ - is an eating pattern where one cycles between periods of fasting and periods of eating.
It’s unlike a typical ‘diet’ since there are no restrictions on the TYPE of food you can eat.
Although if you’re diabetic… you’re going to likely WANT to be careful as always as to what you eat.
Some common types of intermittent fasting involve 2-24 fasts a week... or 16-hour fasts each day with an 8-hour eating window.
This 24-hour fasting method is known as the ‘EAT-STOP-EAT’ method.
In this method, you wouldn’t eat anything from dinner one day to your following dinner the next day.
AND it’s not for everyone! As you know I am not diabetic
I did try this pretty extreme fasting for a few days after a buddy roped me in to give it a go with him.
Truth be told it was torture. And I was miserable. I need my breakfast!
In hindsight, I should have tried the shorter method (we’ll get to in a sec) first…
Alright then… Next, there is the popular 16-8 method (not so extreme)
Usually, this involves fasting for 16 hours, including as you sleep (which makes it MUCH easier to follow).
Then, say between 10 am to 6 pm or 1 pm and 9 pm, If you’re a night owl you can eat.
There’s also another third fasting category. This is often referred to as the 5:2 diet.
The 5:2 diet involves consuming only 500-600 calories for 2 days a week. These 2 days are NEVER back to back. For example, you could do Sunday and then Thursday, but not Sunday and Monday.
Then… you eat normally the other 5 days of the week.
So, what happens to your body when you fast?
When you fast, the body usually runs out of glucose. When you eat, your body relies on glucose from these foods to create energy.
In the absence of glucose… the body begins using ketone bodies for fuel which requires the breaking down of stored fat.
Studies have shown that this can lead to:
In fact… It has also been shown... that intermittent fasting can improve insulin sensitivity... which can help balance blood sugar - something that is SO important for those with diabetes.
Intermittent fasting can also help you lose weight, That is why most people try it out.
(And of course, losing weight has been shown time and time again to help manage - and even reverse - type 2 diabetes) More about this in a bit)
So to answer the big question: Is it safe for diabetics?
The short answer is it can be as long as safety guidelines are followed.
Dr. Deborah Wexler, Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Diabetes Center and associate professor at Harvard Medical School stated in an interview…
So if you are looking at intermittent fasting as a way to reverse or manage your diabetes.
There are a few things you need to keep in mind.
The first is a must. Before beginning ANY fasting regime, seek out the advice of your doctor.
Like most things. There is always SOME risk.
Intermittent fasting is no different.
If you take insulin or other medications to help manage your diabetes. And you dive headfirst into eating MUCH less than normal… you’re blood glucose levels might drop TOO low.
This is known as ‘hypoglycemia.’ Which comes with a host of symptoms – The most common being shakiness, a rapid heartbeat, chills, drowsiness and nausea.
Then… there’s the danger of experiencing ‘hyperglycemia.’ This is when your blood sugar climbs TOO HIGH.
And this can happen when you eat a lot more in a small amount of time… such as during an 8-hour eating window in the 16-8 I.F. method.
And I am sure you’re aware of what high blood sugar can lead to if you’re diabetic…
SO… there are some risks.
This is WHY it’s SO important to talk with your doctor before beginning any new fasting method…
Your doctor knows you and your health situation the best and can offer guidance on how to safely go about it.
They can also supervise and give you support when you first begin. And provide ways for you to measure and determine how it’s going.
You’ll want to monitor your blood sugar levels, your mood, and energy levels throughout the day.
If you have diabetes... you’re probably already familiar with monitoring your blood sugar levels.
In fact… Many individuals with diabetes use a continuous glucose monitor to ensure their blood sugar levels remain stable.
This monitoring can help you make better decisions when it comes to eating times... and what you should be eating.
And this monitoring is ULTRA important when you’re trying out a new eating pattern… like intermittent fasting.
It can help you determine how your body is adjusting. And help you steer clear of any dangers like low or high blood sugar.
And a word of warning here: If your blood sugar drops below 70, end your fast immediately.
Grab something to eat. Remember you don’t need to go ‘ALL IN’ at the start, nor should you. The body needs time to adjust.
This monitoring is especially important when you’re fasting as well as when you first start your eating window.
A few other things you might want to track include your mood and your energy levels.
Life is MEANT to be enjoyed right?
And if you’re fasting is making you feel bad and sucking all your energy..
Then maybe it’s not worth it. Maybe it isn’t right for you. And that’s okay!
So there you have it – A quick rundown of how in how Intermittent Fasting works with diabetes and what you should do if you try it out.
There are also other ways to help fight and even reverse type 2 diabetes that may put less stress on you than fasting. I discuss a few of them on the next page
A lot of it has to do with the right combination of lifestyle eating and exercise. I’ll reveal the most effective (and unobtrusive way) to incorporate them into your life. Helping you to balance your blood sugar and live a healthier life)