Intermittent Fasting for Pre and Type 2 Diabetes

August 8, 2023 5 mins to read
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When it comes to pre and type 2 diabetes, the name of the game is “Insulin Resistance” and Intermittent fasting is a powerful tool to improve insulin sensitivity, which can help put pre and Type 2 diabetes in check, potentially even reversing insulin resistance. Oh and did I mention it helps with weight-loss? I’ll explain the basics of Insulin and Glucose and then explain the popular fasting methods and which is my personal favorite and why.

Introduction

Now I get it, time is short and maybe you don’t want to read through this whole article, you just want the details on how to get started fasting for Type 2 diabetes, and I’ll get to that…but bear with me here because there are some important concepts to understand before you make a potentially life altering dietary change that could reverse your insulin sensitivity.

Insulin is The Bouncer of your Cells

So what’s going on with diabetes? Well simply put, Every time you eat, glucose enters your bloodstream, triggering your body to release insulin to handle the influx. Insulin is like the gatekeeper of your cells, who helps open the gates to allow glucose into cells, where it’s used for energy. However, in Pre and Type 2 diabetes, the receptor (binding) sites on your cells become resistant to insulin, causing glucose to build up in the blood, leading to high blood sugar.

If you think of your cells like a club, insulin is like the bouncer that lets people into the club, but when so many people (glucose) keep lining up and he can’t get a break, he gets tired and starts ignoring people (glucose) who ask to enter the club to party.

Intermittent fasting provides a solution. When you fast, you give your body a break from producing insulin (sort of like giving the club bouncer a break). This causes insulin levels to drop, promoting fat burning, and improving insulin sensitivity, effectively helping to reverse insulin resistance. Over time, your body adjusts, and learns to handle glucose more efficiently, which can help manage Pre and Type 2 diabetes symptoms.

Intermittent Fasting Techniques

Alright the part you have been waiting for (or may have just scrolled to – It’s ok I won’t judge you haha). Here are the 3 most common methods of Intermittent fasting. It can seem daunting, but really it’s as easy as skipping breakfast.

  1. *16/8 Method (My Fav): This involves fasting for 16 hours and eating within an 8-hour window each day. For example, you might only eat between 12pm and 8pm. This is my personal favorite, and the easiest way I find is to simply skip breakfast and have an early supper.
  2. 5:2 Diet: With this method, you eat normally for five days of the week, but on two non-consecutive days, you restrict your calorie intake to 500-600.
  3. Eat-Stop-Eat: This method involves a 24-hour fast, once or twice a week.

As a holistic nutritionist, I do recommend the 16/8 method, but that may not work for you and ultimately the key is to find what works best for your lifestyle and health goals. So try out all 3 if you must and find what works best for you!

The Truth about Breakfast

There was a man named Edward Bernays, known as the “Father of public relations” who was hired in the 1920s by Beech-Nut Packing Company to boost sales, be utilized psychology, physicians and the media to influence public opinion and thus the concept of “breakfast” was popularized in America as a healthy lifestyle choice, but nothing is further from the truth. Historically our ancestors did not have access to food the way we do today, and often had periods of forced fasting due to food accessibility…our human biology can see many benefits from intermittent fasting the way our ancestors did, and one of those are the ability to improve insulin sensitivity in pre and Type 2 diabetes.

The 16-8 fasting method helps mimic the diet of our ancestors, and in my opinion skipping breakfast is the easiest way to achieve this. The reason being that you already essentially fasted over night, which makes skipping breakfast an easy way to extend that fasting period to gain the benefits of intermittent fasting. However its important to follow whatever method works best for you.

Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

There is plenty of research and studies that prove the health benefits of intermittent fasting, beyond just improving insulin sensitivity and promoting weight loss. Some of these additional benefits include:

  • Reducing inflammation: Chronic inflammation has been linked to many diseases. Fasting helps reduce the levels of inflammatory markers in your body.
  • Improving heart health: Intermittent fasting may reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol, blood triglycerides, and inflammatory markers, all risk factors for heart disease.
  • May extend lifespan: Some research on rodents found an increased lifespan with intermittent fasting, though more research is needed in humans.

Always Consult with a Healthcare Professional

Before starting any new diet regimen, always consult with your doctor or a book an appointment with me as your Holistic Nutritionist. That way we can provide personalized advice and guide you on your journey to better health.

Conclusion

Intermittent fasting is one of the most powerful tools in your toolbox for improving symptoms associated with Type 2 diabetes primarily through it’s positive affect on insulin resistance. As always, remember making any dietary changes should be done carefully and under professional guidance.

References

  1. Longo VD, Mattson MP. Fasting: Molecular Mechanisms and Clinical Applications. Cell Metabolism. 2014;19(2):181-192.
  2. Patterson RE, Laughlin GA, Sears DD, et al. INTERMITTENT FASTING AND HUMAN METABOLIC HEALTH. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2015;115(8):1203-1212.
  3. Mattson MP, Longo VD, Harvie M. Impact of intermittent fasting on health and disease processes. Ageing Research Reviews. 2017;39:46-58.

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