One major element for better health and vigorous physical condition is following active intermittent fasting. It is considered a kind of eating program that is often associated with diabetes. It is known to contribute to the body’s levels of blood sugar. Additionally, it can impact how the condition improves, or if not done properly, can cause the underlying condition to go worse.

Before delving into the precise association of intermittent fasting and diabetes, let us first determine the definition of fasting and its types. You will also know the benefits and medical functions of this eating plan and how is it connected with diabetes mellitus.

What is intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting refers to a type of eating pattern or plan that involves scheduled cycles or periods of food consumption and fasting. It is even considered the most common fitness craze and prominent health routine that millions of individuals follow.

Several studies have been conducted on the effectiveness of intermittent fasting in inducing weight loss, safeguarding against illnesses and diseases, and boosting an individual’s metabolic health. Furthermore, this eating plan is noted to be very efficient in managing diabetes.

The period of intermittent fasting can last for a few hours to several days. It is a kind of fasting that sets a scheduled time for eating where the consumption of calories is restrained, enough for the body’s blood glucose levels to be controlled and maintained on a normal level.

What are the types of intermittent fasting?

Aside from having different types of fasting, IF or intermittent fasting also comprises different variations. These variations observe distinct elements and guidelines that millions of individuals can apply to their diet and healthy lifestyle. Consider the following:

  1. Weekly 24-hour fasting – This type of intermittent fasting is the most common that individuals follow. Since it is weekly, an individual can set any time or day of the week to apply this type. During the scheduled day, food and drink consumption is restricted. This does not cause severe health concerns as the individual will still get the significant nutrients for the rest of the week. It is likely to yield headaches, but as you get used to it, your body will learn to adapt. Additionally, it is a good way to lose weight.
  2. Alternate day fasting – Compared to the weekly 24-hour fasting, this alternate kind of abstaining from food is done at irregular intervals. From the word alternate, an individual will eat normally for a specified day then will go fast the next day. After the fast day, an individual will again eat normally, then the cycle follows. While this type of intermittent fasting can be very challenging, it has great benefits, such as losing weight quickly and reducing the risk of developing heart disease.
  3. 16 hours fast – This variation of intermittent fasting can be done daily; however, the 16 hours fast can be lessened to 14 hours for women. The usual time that individuals conclude their fast is at exactly eight in the evening. This fast also observes skipping breakfast and only eating after noontime. What’s good about this variation is that it lessens episodes of inflammation and illnesses involving bodily organs, such as the liver. It also prevents them from becoming obese.
  4. Warrior diet – Talking about consuming a large quantity of food before bedtime? The warrior diet observes the type of fasting where an individual applies fasting for about 20 hours. While you can still eat small servings of food and snacks, it does not allow you to consume anything for breakfast. This is a heavy type of fasting as you can only devour a large meal during the night. Its main advantages are to reduce stress, lose weight, and boost mental health.
  5. Skipping meals – This is probably one of those types that diabetic individuals should note. If you are diagnosed with diabetes, your healthcare professional will likely advise you not to skip your meals or even miss one; however, this type of intermittent fasting is actually beneficial for those who are diagnosed. It’s only a matter of choosing which time of the day or mealtime are you going to skip. It can be explained simply by only skipping your meal when you are not hungry and eating when you are craving and hungry for a large meal.
  6. 12 hours fast – Aside from the availability of 16 hours fast, this variation is also included in the group. This type only observes two meals every single day. The most recommended is having breakfast at eight in the morning and dinner at eight in the evening. This is the type that beginners usually follow as it is simpler compared to the other mentioned intermittent fasting variations.
  7. 2-day fasting – One of the most complicated types of intermittent fasting is the 2-day fasting per week. It is comparable to alternate fasting, but only this type observes 2 days after can you eat normally or regularly. While this type can be very overwhelming to individuals, it helps in losing weight as the insulin levels are controlled and maintained to a lower degree. Proper self-discipline is necessary for this intermittent fasting variation.

Whatever the type of fasting you will be following, note that the action must be done properly and with self-control. While it can be difficult at first, as your body gets used to it, intermittent fasting will become a regular activity for you going forward. Just ensure you are also reporting your progress to your healthcare professional to keep him/her updated with your improvement, most especially during your treatment process.

What are the benefits of intermittent fasting?

Aside from knowing the different types of intermittent fasting, it is also necessary to know the benefits and medical advantages of this eating program. Note that these advantages are likely to be associated with diabetes, which will give further insight of this action’s purpose towards diabetic individuals. Read on.

There are a lot of benefits to doing intermittent fasting. Some of these benefits are as follows:

  • It will lessen episodes of inflammation or soreness, which includes the muscles and different parts of the body.
  • It lowers your intake of carbohydrates and calories, which are considered somewhat detrimental to the levels of blood glucose.
  • It promotes weight loss. Since obesity is the primary reason for having diabetes, fasting is believed to reduce the risk of acquiring the condition by preventing rapid weight gain.
  • Since insulin resistance is one of the main concerns in diabetes, intermittent fasting is known to increase the cell’s sensitivity to insulin.
  • It lessens the frequency of taking diabetes medications as the condition can be diminished in terms of its effects and hostile impact on the body.
  • It detoxifies the body.
  • It helps in preventing high blood pressure or hypertension.

Is it safe for diabetic individuals to carry out intermittent fasting?

Generally, anything that controls and maintains blood sugar levels is safe and good for diabetic individuals. However, doing it properly and taking in the instructions of the healthcare professional plays a vital role in this venture, such as doing intermittent fasting.

Because of the health benefits of intermittent fasting, it is generally safe for diabetic individuals to follow such an eating plan, whether it be for people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. However, before doing so, it is necessary to know the risks of this action plan to be able to fully understand how the said fasting works and how you will handle it without any worry of having to experience diabetes besiege.

Here are the risks of intermittent fasting:

  • It can cause hypoglycemia if the fasting is not followed properly.
  • It can lead to different side effects, such as sweating, nervousness, shakiness, irregular heartbeat, fatigue, dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, and vomiting.
  • Aside from hypoglycemia, it can also cause the opposite, which happens to be hyperglycemia. The condition happens if you accidentally eat more than what is needed or expected. As a result, your blood sugar levels will abnormally spike or increase.
  • It can open to different health complications, such as heart and kidney disease, hypertension, stroke, and eye problems.

Intermittent fasting may receive a bad light on some people, but it actually is helpful in managing diabetes. However, just because something is proven safe for the majority of people doesn’t mean you have to follow the trend without any regard to your condition and advice from your doctor. Here are some tips to follow before trying out intermittent fasting.

  • Discuss with your healthcare professional first – No one knows your condition better than your doctor. Speak up about your plans of trying intermittent fasting and accept whatever decision does your doctor arrives at.
  • Avoid being dehydrated – One of the rules that diabetic individuals must adhere to is to avoid dehydration. Drinking lots of water will help you remain hydrated.
  • Stay cautious of your health – If you receive a green light to try intermittent fasting, make sure you are still observing the rules under diabetes management. It includes eating only the safest food and drinking a harmless beverage.

Lastly, learn to listen to your body. If you feel that your body is not capable enough of doing intermittent fasting then, stop doing so. There are other ways to manage diabetes, and maybe through these ways, you can live healthily and stay functional.