You have heard many people talk about fasting or cutting down on food in order to get better, help manage certain diseases or lose weight effectively. For people with diabetes, intermittent fasting to cure diseases is effective and what should be kept in mind when performing this method?.
Several studies show that fasting may provide a number of benefits for people with diabetes. However, experts warn people with diabetes should not see fasting as a mainstream treatment.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends that people with diabetes should not see fasting as part of diabetes management. Therefore, if you want to lose weight and control the disease well, you should change your lifestyle and physical activity more.
Intermittent fasting has been one of the most popular weight loss diets in recent years. However, is this diet effective for preventing diabetes progression?.
If you have diabetes and are planning to intermittent fasting, please refer to the article below to know the possible risks and how to avoid.
1. Learn about Intermittent Fasting
Fasting means you don’t eat any food for a certain amount of time. You can work on a fasting plan by not eating anything for a certain amount of time, then eating as usual and repeating it periodically in a structured way. You can implement the intermittent fasting model in the following 3 forms:
- Method 16/8: These are also known as Leangains. This approach involves skipping breakfast and limiting meal time to 8 hours such as 1pm to 9pm. After that, you will fast for 16 hours.
- The 5: 2 Diet: In this model of eating, you only consume 500-600 calories on 2 days a week (not 2 consecutive days), while the other 5 days eat as usual.
- Eat – Stop – Eat: This eating pattern involves fasting 24 hours, once or twice a week. For example, you will fast for dinner 1 day until evening the next day.
How should diabetics interrupt fasting?
Some of the following types of intermittent fasting have been initially shown to be safe and effective in diabetic patients:
Fasting 5: 2
This is one of the most common intermittent fasting rules. You are asked to eat within the recommended calorie limit for 5 days a week. For the remaining 2 days, you will need to cut calories only, not complete fasting. At the same time, you should not fast for 2 consecutive days.
Research shows that 5: 2 fasting has the potential to improve insulin resistance and support weight loss in patients with type 2 and pre-diabetes. To follow the 5: 2 diet, you should consult with your doctor about the menu and daily calorie limit.
Fasting during the day
Another popular form of fasting is fixed-time fasting and normal eating for the rest of the day. For example, with the 16: 8 fast, you can eat whatever they like for 8 hours and fast for the remaining 16 hours. Time-frame diet promises to improve circadian rhythms and metabolic processes, thereby helping to lose weight effectively. Research shows that 16: 8 intermittent fasting effectively reduces insulin resistance.
2. How does Intermittent Fasting Affect Blood Sugar?
The human body needs insulin, a hormone in the pancreas, to convert glucose into energy for cells. In people with diabetes (also known as diabetes), insulin resistance leads to an excess of glucose in the blood and causes hyperglycemia.
Intermittent fasting requires you to eat nothing, or eat very little for a certain amount of time. Normally, after only 8-12 hours from the last meal, the insulin level in the blood decreases, making it easier for the body to burn fat.
Several small-scale studies have shown that intermittent fasting has two main benefits for diabetics: weight loss aid and increased insulin sensitivity. Other effects such as reducing inflammation, detoxifying and stabilizing blood fat still need to be studied more before any conclusions can be drawn.
However, intermittent fasting can lead to lack of energy, hypoglycemia during fasting and hyperglycemia when the patient returns to eating and drinking. Therefore, people with diabetes should follow this diet carefully under the direction of their doctor.
3. Benefits from Fasting to Cure Diabetes
Much of the benefits of fasting have been studied in animals. Scientists are studying the effect in humans, including people with diabetes. While the initial results are promising, more studies are needed to show the benefits of this diet.
Fasting can provide a number of benefits such as: reducing inflammation, losing weight and lowering cholesterol, improving the way your body manages glucose (blood sugar) and reduces insulin resistance.
A small study conducted on 3 men with type 2 diabetes for 10–25 years under the supervision of a healthcare professional who fasted every day or 3 days / week showed:
Within 1 month: All 3 people were able to stop taking insulin. In less than a year: They were able to cut or stop using other diabetes medicines.
In another small study, 10 obese men with type 2 diabetes fasted in the form of eating only at a certain time frame. As a result, they improved their fasting glycemic index and lost weight after 6 weeks.
In fact, we need larger-scale studies to accurately evaluate the effects of fasting for healing and which fasting patterns are best and how often.
According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), if you are overweight or obese, losing weight can help lower HbA1c levels (blood sugar control tests for 2–3 months) and lower your risk of heart disease.
Fasting can also affect how much insulin you need. In one study, people with type 1 diabetes followed a fasting plan that could help lower insulin doses.
Certain organs in the body that play a role in diabetes may also benefit from fasting. Your body stores more glucose as glycogen in the liver and takes about 12 hours to use that glycogen. If you don’t eat, for energy to work, your body will burn fat instead of glycogen in the liver, thereby helping to lose weight. This is also good for the liver and pancreas.
4. Side Effects of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is a diet with many benefits, including weight loss, diabetes prevention, and cancer risk reduction. Many people report that this diet helps them enjoy foods better and understands the difference between hunger and cravings, as well as helps them lose weight.
However, as with other diets, not everyone is suitable for intermittent fasting, especially those with eating disorders and pregnant women. It is also important to understand the side effects of this diet.
You may undergo hypoglycemia in the early stages of an intermittent fast, which is when blood sugar gets very low. This can cause headaches, increased heart rate, dizziness, nausea and possibly fainting. When you don’t eat, your body will start burning glycogen (stored sugar) in the liver and muscle for energy, which will then come to burn fat. However, once your body has adapted to burning fat instead of glucose to increase your intake, you should feel better.
If you are constantly feeling dizzy and unwell, you can eat a little. Losing weight is never a reason to allow yourself to faint.
During intermittent fasting, you will also need to add healthy foods to your diet. Lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats like avocados, nuts, and extra virgin olive oil will help keep blood sugar levels stable during the time you fast as well as provide enough nutrients for the body to use.
Less cravings for carbs and processed foods
Intermittent fasting provides better blood sugar control because it forces you to fast at a certain time and then add foods that can keep you full for a long time. This helps you control the amount of carbohydrates you eat, and over time you not only eat less and eat less of the harmful things.
Intermittent fasting also promotes feelings of fullness through the production of hormones that reduce appetite. One study has shown that intermittent fasting reduces the amount of the hormone ghrelin (the hormone that stimulates hunger) in overweight people and improves the ability to switch from burning carbs to burning fat into energy.
Improved insulin sensitivity
When you eat it, the body produces insulin, which sends sugar molecules into your cells for energy. But pre-diabetics do not respond well to insulin, causing high blood sugar levels. Therefore, increasing the interval between meals may improve this as the body produces less insulin.
However, people who are taking insulin-dependent drugs should talk to their doctor before starting an intermittent fast that may interfere with the medication’s effects. People with type 1 and 2 diabetes often need to take these medications to lower their glucose levels, so they need to eat often to avoid spikes in blood sugar.
Affect exercise regime
Exercise during intermittent fasting is completely safe. However, you need to change your training regime a bit so that you do not lose energy during exercise. For example, when you are doing 5: 2 intermittent fasting, do low-intensity exercises instead of intense exercise like weight lifting, jogging, HIIT on the days you fast. for the body to adapt to the new metabolism. Once the body has adapted, the intensity of the exercises is no longer a problem.
In addition, you can set a workout timer at the beginning or the end of the fast so you can eat before or after your workout. Good pre-workout foods include easy-to-digest foods like smoothies, low-fat yogurts, and peanut butter spreads. After exercising, add foods with a high starch: protein ratio such as oats.
For this reason, experts often recommend people who exercise heavily to do the 16: 8 intermittent fast instead of the 5: 2 or other intermittent fasting methods.
5. How to Safe Intermittent Fasting?
- Consult a healthcare professional about diet options appropriate for your medical condition. If you notice high blood sugar or unusual symptoms, stop fasting and consult a doctor.
- Maintain a menu with a moderate portion of the diet while not fasting, to avoid exceeding the calorie limit. Eat foods that are high in fiber and have a low glycemic index (GI).
- Drink enough water during the fasting process to limit dehydration, and abstain from beverages containing a lot of sugar. Having diabetes puts you at risk of dehydration, which can make your blood sugar harder to control. Drink plenty of water and non-caloric drinks when you fast
- Check your blood sugar regularly to detect hypoglycemia.
- Be careful about what you eat after the fast. Because eating too much carbohydrate after a fast can cause blood sugar to become too high. Choose healthy, balanced meals and snacks.
It can be seen that nutrition plays a very important role for diabetics, so when starting any diet, the patient should consult a doctor for appropriate indications.
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