Fasting may not be a regular occurrence for you, but it is something that many individuals must do on occasion. Fasting requires extra consideration if you have diabetes. That’s because you don’t want to risk dangerously low blood sugar levels, which can harm your health. Fasting guidelines for diabetic individuals are common among health professionals who care for them.
Fasting and the risks
Fasting is frequently a time of prayer, introspection, and cleansing in addition to abstaining from food (and sometimes alcohol). Diabetes and fasting aren’t exactly best friends. If you use certain diabetic medications, such as insulin, you run the risk of your blood glucose levels dropping too low after fasting. This can cause a hypo, or a spike in blood sugar, which can progress to diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), which necessitates hospitalization. Feeling extremely thirsty and passing a lot of urine are two signs of DKA.
If a person is fasting and does not drink enough fluids to quench their thirst, dehydration will set in quickly, and they will need to be sent to the hospital right away.
Fasting can last anywhere from a few hours to many days, depending on the faith. Individual days of fasting are common in Christianity, Hinduism, and Judaism. The Islamic month of Ramadan, on the other hand, is one of the longest, with all fit Muslims required to fast between sunrise and sunset.
What happens to your body when you go without food for a period of time?
The transformations that take place in the body during a continuous fast are determined by the length of the fast. Eight hours or so after your last meal, your body usually enters a fasting condition. Your body will first consume glucose stored in your body, then start breaking down excess weight as the next source of energy later in the fast. Utilizing your body’s fat storage as a source of energy can help you lose weight in the long run. Weight loss, especially if you’re overweight, can help you keep your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels under control. Fasting, on the other hand, should not be employed as a long-term weight-loss strategy.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a form of diet that includes restricting your meals to a specific time frame and then fasting for a set length of time. Fasting can last anywhere from a few hours and several days.
Intermittent fasting has been demonstrated in several studies to provide health advantages for patients with diabetes, including weight reduction. Major changes in eating habits, on the other hand, may cause severe fluctuations in blood sugar levels.
Diabetes and Intermittent Fasting: Is it okay to fast intermittently if you have diabetes?
People with diabetes may be at risk from intermittent fasting. Blood sugar levels might dip dangerously low if you take insulin or medicines and suddenly consume considerably less than usual.
Hypoglycemia can cause symptoms such as:
- rapid heartbeat
- feeling nervous
- low energy
- blurred vision
High blood sugar is another risk of intermittent fasting for diabetics. Hyperglycemia is the medical term for this condition. Hyperglycemia can develop if you consume more than you usually do, which is more common after a period of fasting.
High blood glucose levels can lead to an increased risk for complications from diabetes, such as:
- nerve damage (neuropathy)
- eye conditions and blindness
- kidney disease
- heart disease
- high blood pressure
Consider speaking with a member of your diabetes care team, such as a physician or nutritionist, before implementing any diet or weight-reduction plan to ensure it is healthy for you.
Is intermittent fasting linked to the development of diabetes?
Intermittent fasting and diabetes aren’t exactly linked. However, it appears to affect the pancreas and insulin resistance in animals, but more study is needed to evaluate its influence on diabetes in people.
It’s worth noting that if people participated in the same experiment, the results may be different. Intermittent fasting should be studied further to see if it increases the risk of diabetes in adults.
What are the benefits of intermittent fasting for Diabetic?
Intermittent fasting, when done properly, may have some benefits for diabetics. Individuals may be able to lower the amount of diabetic medication they use if the diet plan leads to weight reduction.
According to the short research on three persons described previously, some people have been able to quit needing insulin after fasting sporadically for a month or more.
Intermittent fasting has to be studied further to see if it can assist most diabetics to quit taking insulin.
Other possible advantages include:
- improved insulin sensitivity
- lower blood pressure
- lower oxidative stress
- reduced appetite
- increased fat oxidation
Here are some suggestions if you have diabetes and want to attempt intermittent fasting:
Adjusting medicine or insulin doses should be discussed with your healthcare professional. When considering a diet that may alter your blood sugar levels, you may need to adjust your diabetes medication.
What are the Risks and Benefits of Fasting?
Fasting is an age-old practice that is generally done for religious purposes, however, fasting for weight loss is gaining popularity. There are hundreds of do-it-yourself fasting programs available, with claims ranging from eliminating “poisons” from the body to losing 30 pounds in 30 days. Fasting, or eating very little to no food, does, in fact, cause weight reduction, at least in the short term.
Risks of Fasting
You’ll obviously be hungry if you fast (at least at first). You may also experience drowsiness and irritability. You could get a headache if you don’t eat. If you fast for more than a day or two, your body may not receive sufficient nutrients without supplementation.
However, if you have diabetes and attempt fasting, the greatest risk is that your blood glucose levels will drop severely low (this is called hypoglycemia). This is especially true if you use diabetic medicine such as insulin. When you don’t eat, your blood sugar levels decrease, and medicine might make them drop, even more, resulting in hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia can make you feel wobbly, cause you to pass out, or even put you in a coma.
You may be more prone to develop too-high blood sugar levels if you “break” your fast by eating. This is referred to as hyperglycemia by doctors. This only happens if you consume an excessive amount of carbs. Fasting in diabetes may not be the best approach for you if it causes you to consume carbohydrate-rich meals.
Benefits of Fasting
Fasting and diabetes aren’t always harmful. It may offer some health advantages in general. It may, for instance, reduce inflammation, aid in weight reduction, and decrease cholesterol. Fasting may help your body better control glucose (blood sugar) and reduce insulin resistance.
Weight loss can assist in reducing your A1c level (a measure of blood sugar management over the previous 2-3 months) and lessen your risk of cardiovascular disease if you’re overweight or obese. Weight loss does not necessitate fasting.
Fasting in diabetes may have an impact on how much insulin you require. People with type 1 diabetes who followed a fasting schedule were able to reduce their insulin dose in one research.
Fasting may also assist organs that have a role in diabetes. Glycogen is a type of glucose that your body stores in your liver. It takes roughly 12 hours for your body to consume the glycogen. If you don’t eat, your body will start using fat for energy instead of glycogen. This aids with weight reduction. It also rests your liver and pancreas (which produce insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar).
How to Start Fasting
While fasting, keep checking your blood sugar. Continuous monitoring helps manage blood glucose levels and lowers the risk of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia [low blood sugar].
Some diabetics believe that testing their sugar levels during fasting hours breaks the fast, although this is not true. In fact, if you’re fasting, monitor your sugar levels more frequently than normal to make sure you’re staying within a safe diabetes fasting range. Fasting blood glucose levels should be monitored on a regular basis to avoid health problems. While fasting raises the risk of low blood sugar, it also raises the risk of high blood sugar.
People who use a continuous glucose monitoring device may test their sugar levels more often, which means they have a lower risk of having out-of-control readings.
For fasting, stick to whatever insulin or medicine schedule your doctor suggests. Some insulin users, for example, believe that they must cease taking medication during a fast. That may be true for some Type 2 diabetes patients, but for Type 1, your life is on the line, and you can’t go without basal insulin.
Making an exemption for little meals is a good idea.
If you exercise during a fast, bring a sweet drink (such as a juice box) or a tiny portion of candies with you. Because activity might reduce your blood sugar, even more, you’ll want to be prepared to treat it. Although most diabetics may exercise properly while fasting, you should avoid doing so excessively, especially in the evening. That’s when your chances of developing low blood sugar increase.
If you’re fasting for Ramadan, have a nutritious breakfast. Complex carbs and high fiber should be present in the meal. At such time, you should also consume enough fluids.
After a fast, eat a well-balanced meal. Make absolutely sure it’s not just carbs. A meal that includes protein, fiber, and nutritious carbohydrates will help you maintain a healthy body and blood sugar level at any time, but particularly after fasting.
When it’s time to break your fast, know when to do so. If your blood glucose level is less than 70 mg/dL, you should break your fast. This is a sign of hypoglycemia. In the event of hypoglycemia, it’s critical to break the fast and treat the low with carbohydrate-rich food or drink. The risk of hypoglycemia while fasting is 4.7 times higher in people with Type 1 diabetes and 7.5 times higher in people with Type 2 diabetes.
Consult your doctor
Consult your physician beforehand. If you have type 1 diabetes, other diabetes-related health concerns, or have had hypoglycemia, your doctor may advise you not to fast.If your doctor thinks it’s OK, find out if you need to monitor your blood sugar more frequently or alter your diabetes medication while fasting and afterward.
Observe your body. Dark urine, a headache, nausea, and vomiting are all indicators of acute dehydration. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should break your fast.Although physicians and other healthcare professionals play an important part in your diabetes care, whether you’re fasting or not, your health is ultimately in your hands.
Check for Low blood Sugar
Your blood sugar may be too low if you start to feel shaky, sweating, or disoriented. Stop fasting straight away and treat hypoglycemia as you normally would. When your blood sugar level is back to normal, for example, take a glucose gel or a sugary drink followed by a modest, balanced meal.
Food after fasting
When you eat too many carbs after fasting, your blood sugar levels might spike. Choose meals and snacks that are nutritious and well-balanced.
Be cautious. While fasting in diabetes, avoid strenuous exercises. Hard activity can cause blood glucose levels to drop, resulting in hypoglycemia. Ask your doctor what activities are safe for you to engage in, or simply take a break.
Keep yourself hydrated. Diabetes and fasting lead to an increased risk of dehydration, which can make controlling your blood sugar more difficult. When fasting, drink plenty of water and calorie-free drinks.