Intermittent Fasting With Diabetes: A Beginner’s Guide

Intermittent Fasting With Diabetes

Fasting is sometimes misunderstood as a weight-loss trend. Fasting, despite being seen as a product of diet culture, can have excellent health advantages. So, what exactly does fasting imply?

It is defined as a period of willing abstention from food, drink, or both. Because blood tests, surgery, and other medical procedures are frequently required, you must have fasted previously. However, not all fasting is the same. There are various types of fasting, one of which is intermittent fasting.

Intermittent fasting, abbreviated as IF, has been around for a long time. Some could say it’s as old as humanity. In previous years, IF has been chastised for its lack of safety. Intermittent fasting, on the other hand, is now used to manage chronic conditions like as diabetes.


A comprehensive study reveals that intermittent fasting promotes weight loss and decreases insulin needs in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. It is, however, only suggested in conjunction with adequate medication adjustments and continuous glucose level monitoring.

Because persons with diabetes are not typically healthy, they should do a thorough background check before embarking on an intermittent fasting regimen.

Read – If you have high blood pressure, plan a low-carb dinner.

What Is the Process of Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting is not a diet. Instead, it is a way of eating. When you fast intermittently, you eat within a specific time frame and fast the rest of the time. In other words, you’re fasting if you’re not eating anything right now.

Thus, intermittent fasting is a diet in which people go for long periods without eating. Don’t worry, it doesn’t force the body to go into hunger state.

Some of the many ways to practise Intermittent Fasting are listed here.

16:8 Intermittent Fasting

One of the most popular intermittent fasting plans is the 16:8 or 16/8. A 16/8 intermittent fasting schedule consists of not eating for 16 hours, most usually overnight, followed by 2-3 meals during the remaining eight hours.

For example, eat dinner at 6 p.m. and breakfast after 10 a.m. the following day. The 16:8 intermittent fasting strategy is simple to follow and may be readily incorporated into your everyday routine.


12:12 Intermittent Fasting

Fasting for 12 hours a day is part of the 12:12 protocol. So you’ll have 12 hours to eat as well. It is a well-balanced programme that is ideal for novices. Because it is less restrictive than other eating patterns, you can normally follow a 12:12 intermittent fasting schedule on a daily basis.

20:4 Intermittent Fasting

The 20:4 intermittent fasting strategy is ideal for those who do not feel hungry throughout the day or for those who are too busy during the day to eat. It’s a stringent dietary regimen with a four-hour eating window and a twenty-hour fasting time.

For example, you may have two meals between 1 and 5 p.m. and then fast for the next 20 hours. People can eat as much as they like during the four hours. However, it is difficult to take enough nutrients and calories in a short period of time.

5:2 Intermittent Fasting

The 5:2 plan, also known as the fast diet, advocates normal eating five days a week and fasting two days a week. During these two days, you can only ingest 500–600 calories each day. However, there are no dietary limitations for the next five days.

For example, you can fast on Tuesdays and Saturdays and eat normally on the other days. Remember that it is critical that you fast on non-consecutive days.

24 Hour Intermittent Fasting

A 24 hour intermittent fasting protocol, as the name implies, is based on fasting for 24 hours between each meal. For example, eat at 8 p.m. then fast until 8 p.m. the following day. The goal is to consume only one meal each day and fast for extended periods of time. Nutritionists generally do not suggest it.

36 Hours of Intermittent Fasting

The 36-hour fast is a more intense and prolonged variation of the 24-hour fast. To begin 36-hour intermittent fasting, eat dinner on day one, fast for the full day two, and eat breakfast on day three. However, keep in mind that you should not do it on a regular basis, especially if you have diabetes.


Alternate Day Fasting – Intermittent Fasting

You will fast every other day if you practise alternate day fasting. It entails eating regularly on day one and restricting yourself to one 500-calorie meal on day two. In the long run, it is a highly unsustainable kind of intermittent fasting.

What Is the Effect of Intermittent Fasting on Diabetes?

Intermittent fasting reduces insulin levels, causing the body to burn stored fat for energy. As a result, weight loss occurs. Diabetes can then be placed into remission as a result.

A research, for example, found that persons with type 2 diabetes obtained remission following weight loss and intensive weight management. Intermittent fasting, when done safely and under medical supervision, has been shown to lessen reliance on diabetes medication.

Diabetes causes an increase in hunger, which leads to binge eating in one sitting. It causes the pancreas to overwork in order to release the necessary levels of insulin. Furthermore, any excess glucose from overeating will be stored as fat.

It causes weight gain and insulin resistance over time, eventually exacerbating diabetes. That’s when intermittent fasting comes into play. Intermittent fasting allows your body to rest and regenerate.

Because intermittent fasting allows you to take a rest between meals, your insulin levels fall while your glucose levels remain consistent. Furthermore, it aids in detoxifying.

All of these things can contribute to better diabetes management. However, the consequences of intermittent fasting differ between type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

According to one study, patients with type 2 diabetes or borderline diabetes who followed the 5:2 intermittent fasting protocol lost weight and had lower blood glucose levels. However, it is not a viable option for those with type 1 diabetes. It may complicate diabetes control and increase the risk of hypoglycemia.

Diabetes and the Potential Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Loss of Weight

The notion of calorie restriction underpins intermittent fasting. It restricts the amount of food you eat and encourages a reduction in overall calorie intake.

A calorie deficit occurs when you consume fewer calories while burning more. As a result, your body begins to use all of the fat it has stored. As a result, boosting weight loss. Furthermore, keeping a healthy weight is critical for diabetics.


Cellular Regeneration

Cellular damage is a significant concern among diabetics since it raises the likelihood of cell death and tissue damage. Intermittent fasting, on the other hand, stimulates detoxification and allows the body to cleanse itself. As a result, it eliminates the garbage and waste components that cause decreased cell function and harm.

Insulin resistance is low.

In obese diabetics, implementing intermittent fasting helps lower fasting insulin and insulin resistance. Furthermore, it can reduce insulin resistance by 3–6% in persons with prediabetes.

This is because fasting every other day is the most effective strategy to enhance insulin sensitivity. Furthermore, it has the potential to enhance healthy insulin levels.

Cardiovascular Health

People with type 2 diabetes are at a higher risk of developing heart disease. Intermittent fasting, on the other hand, stabilises blood sugar and detoxifies the body, removing damaging free radicals.

As a result, heart health improves. Furthermore, alternate-day fasting lowered triglyceride levels by 32%, decreasing harmful cholesterol in the body. People who want to normalise their blood pressure should try it.

Consequences of Intermittent Fasting for Diabetes

Imbalance in Hormones

Intermittent fasting can cause hormonal imbalance in diabetic women who are at risk of polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS. It also applies to women who are approaching or have attained menopause. Fasting can cause hormonal imbalances, which might interfere with fertility.


One of the most common faults with intermittent fasting is failing to stay hydrated. People frequently avoid drinking water along with their meals, resulting in dehydration.

Staying hydrated is important for everyone, regardless of whether they have diabetes or not. Make a concerted effort to consume water during your fasting period.


Irritability and fatigue

It takes a few trials and errors to get used to intermittent fasting habits. It may take several weeks for a diabetic to feel better. You may feel tired or run down until then. Furthermore, some people may become irritated as a result of abrupt changes in eating schedules.

Binge Consumption

During the non-fasting phase, people tend to overeat on unhealthy snacks and eat carelessly. In a 20:4 diet, for example, it’s easy to succumb to the temptation and overeat during the four hours. As a result, the goal is defeated and becomes counterproductive.


The stomach secretes acidic gastric juice to aid digestion, whether you’re fasting or not. This is due to the acidic gastric fluid attacking and deteriorating the stomach lining when there is no food to break down. As a result, acidity and stomach ulcers are caused.

What Am I Allowed to Drink While Fasting?

It’s common to feel dehydrated after a period of intermittent fasting. Hydration is essential, yet most people skip a drink throughout their fasting cycle. You should stay hydrated at all times, especially if you have diabetes or other medical issues.

When selecting a beverage, avoid ones high in sugar or carbs, such as sweetened coffee, diet sodas, and flavoured drinks. Here are some diabetes-friendly beverages that do not trigger the insulin response while fasting:

Water and mineral water

Apple cider vinegar, herbal teas, oolong tea, black tea, and green tea

Tips for Diabetes-Friendly Intermittent Fasting

Before beginning an intermittent fasting diet, consult with your doctor to determine the best approach for you. Furthermore, medication dosages must be modified.

Be prepared for the consequences. It will take some time to acclimate to the fasting schedule.

When you break the fast, do not immediately take a large meal or high carbohydrate items. It will cause a quick rise in blood sugar levels. Instead, consume foods high in fibre and protein.

Eat healthily and you will live a long and healthy life. Choose the most nutritious selections even if you’re only eating for a short time. Avoid processed foods and stick to diabetes-friendly options.

Keep an eye on your blood sugar levels on a regular basis. Long durations of fasting are bound to affect it. So keep an eye on it and keep an eye out for any irregularities.

If you develop acute exhaustion, dizziness, nausea, or frequent urine, break the fast right away. Before resuming the fast, consult with your doctor.


Conclusion – Intermittent Fasting With Diabetes

Intermittent fasting is a type of eating that alters when you eat rather than what you consume. It means that individuals adhere to a schedule, eating only during certain times of the day and fasting the rest of the time.

Although intermittent fasting can be difficult, it has numerous mental and physical benefits. Nonetheless, the body requires appropriate rest and recovery time after fasting.

Whatever style of intermittent fasting a diabetic chooses, they should never overlook meal quality, nutritional profile, carbohydrate value, calories, and so on. Intermittent fasting can be beneficial to one’s health. Choose the fasting protocol that works best for you.

Before attempting intermittent fasting, always consult with your healthcare practitioner. This is due to the fact that it has both advantages and disadvantages. It may not be as effective in the long run and may even be harmful to your health. As a result, following it for a short period of time is usually the best option.


Questions and Answers (FAQs)

Q. Is intermittent fasting beneficial for diabetics?

A. Choosing the appropriate type of intermittent fasting plan can help with diabetes. It has the ability to stabilise blood sugar levels and minimise insulin resistance. It is also quite good for an obese diabetic who want to shed weight.

Q: Why shouldn’t diabetics do intermittent fasting?

A. Unless your healthcare provider instructs you otherwise, there is no specific restriction for diabetics to practise intermittent fasting. However, if you are diabetic and have other medical concerns, it may induce nausea, headache, and exhaustion. For example, diabetic women with PCOS should avoid fasting because it can create hormonal imbalance.

Q. How long does it take to reverse diabetes with intermittent fasting?

A. It takes about a month to notice positive results. Some people’s blood sugar levels will normalise within 2-4 weeks. Those who practise intermittent fasting and fast at least three times per week can achieve remission in less than a month.

Q. How long does intermittent fasting take to reduce blood sugar?

A. After 8-12 weeks of intermittent fasting, fasting blood sugar levels are lowered by 3-6 percent. However, after a month of intermittent fasting, blood sugar levels can significantly improve.

Q. Is it possible for a diabetic to fast for 16 hours?

A. Yes, a diabetic individual can fast for 16 hours. It is also known as the 16:8 intermittent fasting technique, in which people fast for 16 hours and eat for the remaining eight hours. Furthermore, fasting for 16 hours is compatible with the daily schedule of the majority of diabetics.

Q. How long should a diabetic fast?

A. There are various sorts of diabetes-friendly intermittent fasting strategies. Examples are 16:8, 12:12, and 20:4, where the fasting hours are 16, 12, and 20 respectively. A diabetic, on the other hand, should not fast for more than 24 hours.

Q. Can fasting cause blood sugar levels to rise?

A. Although it is uncommon, some persons may suffer an increase in blood sugar. It occurs when a fasting person is subjected to undue stress. Eating a heavy carbohydrate meal after fasting hours might also cause a significant spike in blood sugar.


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