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Is Intermittent Fasting Good for Diabetes?

Improving insulin sensitivity, losing weight, and gaining better control of your blood sugar levels could be helped by intermittent fasting if you have diabetes. 16/8,5:2 fasting and alternate-day fasting as the most popular forms of intermittent fasting for diabetes diets. 

A fantastic way to lose weight, improve brain and heart health, gain better control over blood sugar levels, and many more is through intermittent fasting. People have begun to wonder about intermittent fasting for diabetes and it is no surprise given the popularity of this diet. 

Choosing the right diet can make the difference, if you are at a high risk of developing diabetes or if you are currently managing diabetes.

You may be able to reduce the amount of medication you need to manage the condition if you are able to control your blood sugar levels through diet.

To learn more about intermittent fasting diabetes for diabetic patients like how these diets can help you manage your diabetes and the most popular intermittent fasting methods it is worth taking your time.

You can start living your best life with diabetes by taking charge of your diet and treatment plan. 

What Is Intermittent Fasting?

A series of diets such as alternating between times you may eat and times you may fast is known as intermittent fasting. Fasting restrictions may be set to specific days of the week or certain times of the day depending on the diet you choose.

The Different Types of Intermittent Fasting

diabetes fasting

 Dieters can choose from several fasting periods due to the flexibility provided by intermittent fasting diets. There are multiple forms of intermittent diets for diabetes and some of the most popular include:

  • The 16/8: It is considered the most sustainable hence making it the most popular intermittent fasting diabetes diet. Eating eight hours a day is restricted to this type of intermittent fasting. You can fast for the remaining 16 hours after choosing an eight-hour window that you would like to have meals within. Moreover, your fasting period must remain consistent throughout the week for the best results.
  • 5:2: You can eat at any time of the day; however, you will select two nonconsecutive days to restrict your caloric intake to around 500 to 600 in this form of intermittent fasting. 
  • Alternate day fasting: In this type of intermittent fasting, you can either fast or eat a meal containing less than 500 calories the following day after eating your regular diet one day. Of all the forms of intermittent fasting diets, this is considered the most difficult. 

When your caloric intake is restricted, you must eat a balanced diet during periods and choose healthier snack alternatives.

The Effects of Intermittent Fasting on Blood Sugar

Insulin sensitivity and reduced insulin levels can be improved through fasting and calorie restriction. While fasting and shortly after eating people with diabetes who intermittently fast can better control their blood sugar levels because of this. 

Can You Use Intermittent Fasting to Reverse Diabetes?

A link between intermittent fasting and type 2 diabetes remission has been suggested through some evidence. There was improved insulin resistance and ceasing diabetes treatment in insulin-dependent diabetics as per the results of a small study.

Additionally, there were reduced hemoglobin levels and significant weight loss in insulin-dependent diabetics as a result of the diet.

Additional Benefits of Intermittent Fasting for Diabetes

Apart from providing better blood control, you may also experience the following benefits from intermittent fasting for diabetes:

  • Your weight will reduce
  • The health of your brain will improve
  • The health of your heart will improve
  • Risk of obesity-related illnesses, including some forms of cancer and sleep apnea, will reduce
  • The risk of inflammation-associated conditions like arthritis, asthma, and stroke will reduce

Is Intermittent Fasting Better or Worse for Certain Types of Diabetes?

The benefits and risks of intermittent fasting in people with diabetes have been looked at in only a small number of studies.

People who have type 2 diabetes are always the main focus of most of these studies. And this is because, when fasting for long periods people with type 1 diabetes are at higher risk of having low blood sugar.

Insulin, which is what increases the risk of low blood sugar is always needed by people with type 1 diabetes because of this. Insulin increases the risk of low blood sugar and it is the reason people with type 1 diabetes use it.

food fasting

However, there is also a higher risk of low blood sugar in response to fasting in people with type 2 diabetes who are on insulin or certain oral medications. 

While fasting for Ramadhan, people with type 1 diabetes were looked at in one study. Their risk of low blood sugar decreased with careful planning as was found by researchers.

There was strict monitoring of their blood sugars while participants decreased their doses of insulin medication. They were able to successfully fast without significant complications after taking these measures.

There was temporary fasting for participants in this study. For someone to undertake in the long term these measures are not practical for them. Therefore, for people with type 1 diabetes intermittent fasting may not be the safest or best option.

For those on insulin or other medications that increase the risk of low blood sugar intermittent fasting is also not ideal for them.

Intermittent Fasting Diabetes Risks and Precautions

Before starting a new diet, you must be aware of these risks since intermittent diabetes is not without risks. The following side effects may be brought about by intermittent fasting:

  • Fatigue
  • Mood changes
  • Persistent hunger
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia

These symptoms are more likely to be experienced by patients with diabetes. Furthermore, a sharp increase in blood sugar levels after fasting or low blood sugar levels when fasting is the most significant risk of fasting for patients with diabetes. 

Hyperglycemia or blood sugar levels that are too high can be resulted from eating foods that contain high levels of carbohydrates or sugars after breaking a fast.

People with diabetes especially patients with type 1 diabetes can also be at risk of developing hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar during fasting. 

It is essential to be aware of the signs of low and high blood sugar levels to avoid either of these conditions if you have diabetes and would like to try intermittent fasting.

Vigorous exercise can make your blood sugar levels fall further and therefore you also need to avoid intense workouts during fasting periods. 

Before you begin intermittent fasting, it is recommended that you speak with your primary healthcare provider about dietary changes if you are currently managing diabetes.

Necessary adjustments to your medication can be aided by your healthcare team to ensure you start intermittent fasting safely.

The Bottom Line

Improving insulin sensitivity, losing weight, and gaining better control of your blood sugar levels could be helped by intermittent fasting if you have diabetes.

fasting with diabetes

Intermittent fasting does come with its risks despite it being safe for most people. Therefore, you must speak with your healthcare provider and monitor any symptoms you experience should you choose to begin intermittent fasting for diabetes.


How long should a diabetic do intermittent fasting?

There are variations in intermittent fasting plans. Limiting eating to certain periods of the day or restricting calories two or three days a week are among the varying plans.

Fasting for up to 36 hours at a time for 7 or 14 days is part of the stricter plans. However, for people with type 2 diabetes, the latter isn’t typically recommended.

Can fasting worsen diabetes?

Insulin, a sugar-regulating hormone, action may be impaired hence increasing diabetes risk by fasting every other day to lose weight.

Before starting such weight loss programs careful considerations should be made since long-term health risks may be associated with fasting-based diets according to suggestions from findings.

Does intermittent fasting raise blood sugar?

There were significant reductions in fasting glucose levels (an average decrease of 4.16 mg/dL; p = 0.003) in individuals who practiced intermittent fasting as shown in eight studies in a 2021 literature review.

Does fasting lower a1c?

Scientists report, that in people with type 2 diabetes, intermittent fasting could be a beneficial option for lowering HbA1c.

Why is my blood sugar high after fasting for 16 hours?

intermittent fasting diabetes type 2

Even if you follow a strict diet, your fasting blood sugar reading can go up since your body does not respond to insulin the same as most. Your body’s way of making sure you have enough energy to get up and start the day is by a boost in sugar.

How long can a diabetic go without eating?

The absolute max people with diabetes should push is 5 to 6 hours between meals. During the day, you should try to minimize any long gaps without eating.

Does intermittent fasting cause insulin spikes?

Raised insulin levels, damaged pancreatic cells and increased amount of abdominal fat may be caused by intermittent fasting according to suggestions from new research.

Is it Ok to intermittent fast every day?

Depending on your preference, you can repeat this cycle as frequently as you would like i.e., from daily to just once or twice per week. Among those looking to lose weight and burn fat, this fasting method has grown widely in popularity.

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