Intermittent fasting and type 2 diabetes

by - April 13, 2019

This has been said countless times already, intermittent fasting has several other health benefits that go beyond just weight loss.

We shall be exploring one of those other benefits in this article.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes. It usually develops later in life and it’s often associated with being overweight. The condition affects the body’s ability to produce insulin which regulates blood sugar levels.

Diabetes is often treated with medications to make the body more responsive to insulin. Some patients also take additional insulin to top up the amount produced by their own bodies.

Can type 2 diabetes patients engage in intermittent fasting?

Angela Fitch, MD, FACP, associate professor of internal medicine and pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine/UC Health, says that while intermittent fasting can be an option, patients who choose this approach must work closely with their doctors to figure out how best to lower their hypoglycemic medications on fasting days.

Overall, however, Dr. Fitch says, "the most consistent way to lose weight and keep it off when you have type 2 diabetes is limiting the carbohydrates in your diet.

Dr. Jason Fung carried out an experiment with 3 diabetic men between the ages of 40 and 67 who tried intermittent fasting for 10 months. All of the men were able to stop insulin treatment within a month after starting the intermittent fasting. One of the men was able to stop insulin treatment after only five days of the fasting technique.

In his opinion, dietary intervention (therapeutic fasting) has the potential to completely reverse type 2 diabetes, even when somebody has suffered with the disease for 25 years.

“The thing that surprised me most was how quickly patients got better,” Fung added. “Even after 25 years of diabetes, the maximum time it took to get off insulin was 18 days. All three patients improved their diabetes to the point that they no longer required insulin, and it only took from 5 to 18 days in this study,” he said. He however agrees that his study is small and more research is needed.

Dr. Raquel Pereira, on the other hand, says fasting for a person with diabetes can be potentially dangerous and requires medical supervision.

In speaking with Healthline, an online health magazine, she said “The research in fasting is minimal, and we definitely need more well-controlled research trials to determine if there are any benefits, and especially who might benefit”.

“Disordered eating patterns are quite common in diabetes, and I would be very concerned about the long-term consequences of fasting. Many people may feel low energy, low mental concentration, low reflexes, headaches, lower immunity, and as a result have their quality of life and productivity suffer,” she added.

Other experts say more research is needed, and people should not undertake such fasting without consulting with their healthcare provider.

Lifestyle changes are crucial to managing type 2 diabetes, and eating habits play a key role. Doctors normally recommend that people with diabetes follow specific diets and as has already been said, anyone with the condition who decides to choose intermittent fasting as that option should speak, extensively, with their doctor about it.

In conclusion, although the research carried out by Dr. Fung was a small one, it showed undeniable success, which spells good fortune for the future (we are optimistic people, and so choose to look up *wink).

Hopefully, the good doctors come together soon and do more research as further success in this would go a long way to improve health care and provide better health solutions for people living with the condition.

Intermittent fasting also helps curb heart diseases among other benefits.

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