Intermittent Fasting for Diabetics: Safe or Unsafe?

Intermittent Fasting for Diabetics: Safe or Unsafe?

Intermittent fasting is a form of diet that involves restricting your meals to a specific time frame and fasting for a set length of time. Fasting can last anywhere from a few hours to several days.

People with diabetes may benefit from intermittent fasting, such as weight loss. Major changes in eating habits, on the other hand, may cause severe fluctuations in blood sugar levels.

So, is it safe for diabetics to follow this kind of diet? Let's find out.

Is intermittent fasting safe for diabetic individuals?

People with diabetes may be at risk from intermittent fasting. Blood sugar levels might dip dangerously low if you use insulin or medicine regularly and suddenly consume much less than usual. Hypoglycemia is the medical term for this condition. Certain side effects of hypoglycemia include:

  • Abnormal heart rate
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Reduces brain functions 
  • Perspiration 

High blood sugar is another risk of intermittent fasting for diabetics. Hyperglycemia is the medical term for this condition. Hyperglycemia can occur if you eat more than you usually do, which is more likely after a period of fasting. Certain side effects of hyperglycemia include:

  • Heart and kidney ailments
  • High blood pressure
  • Reduced eye function 
  • Nerve damage

Consider speaking with a member of your diabetes care team, such as a physician or nutritionist, before beginning any diet or weight loss plan to ensure it is healthy for you.

Potential benefits of intermittent fasting for diabetic people 

When done properly, this diet may have some benefits for diabetics. According to Dr Bret Scher, a low-carb cardiologist, time-restricted eating is an effective means of reducing daily calories. It allows insulin to remain low for longer, thereby, allowing for greater fat oxidation.

People may be able to reduce the diabetic medications they take if the diet plan leads to weight loss.

According to a short study, therapeutic fasting can help diabetic individuals end insulin therapy to maintain normal blood sugar levels, assist in weight loss, and also decrease glycated haemoglobin levels in the body. 

Suggested advantages of intermittent fasting for diabetics include:

  • Improved insulin sensitivity and reduction in insulin resistance
  • Controlled blood pressure levels 
  • Decreased oxidative stress
  • Decreased appetite
  • Higher oxidation of fat
  • Normalizes blood glucose 
  • Improves HbA1c levels 

Important tips to do intermittent fasting for diabetic individuals 

Here are some key points to remember if you have diabetes and want to attempt intermittent fasting:

  • Consult a medical professional: Adjusting medicine or insulin dosages 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.
  • Keep an eye on your blood sugar levels: If you are on glucose-lowering medications, long periods without food can cause blood sugar to drop. Hence, a more frequent blood glucose monitoring with medication adjustment can prevent low blood sugar events.
  • Check in with yourself to see how you're feeling: Many people discover that limiting their food consumption has a significant impact on their mood. Irritability, nervousness, and difficulties coping with stress are all symptoms to look out for.
  • Keep an eye on your energy levels: Fasting can make you feel tired, which is something to bear in mind if you're driving or operating heavy machinery, for instance.
  • Maintain a healthy carbohydrate balance: Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose by your body, causing blood sugar to increase. When you're not fasting, balance starchy carbohydrates with vegetables and protein in your meals to avoid blood sugar spikes and promote satiety. 


Back to blog