Effects of intermittent fasting - stabilizing my morning blood sugars
Fasting has been around for a long time, especially when you consider its historical involvement in a variety of spiritual ceremonies. Intermittent fasting has lately been described as part of a healthy diet for weight loss, "detoxification," and other purposes. However, there has been a lot of debate about whether or not people with diabetes should do this time-restricted eating, and how does it affect blood sugar levels.
Specific forms of intermittent fasting diets may be advantageous for people with diabetes, according to a growing body of data. Furthermore, experts are beginning to believe that the timing of a fast is just as significant as the diet itself.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a sort of eating strategy in which calorie intake is reduced for a set period of time. This can range from complete fasting, meaning you won't eat at all for multiple days per week to just restricting the number of calories consumed throughout the fasting time.
There are several intermittent fasting diets available, ranging from those that restrict food intake after a given time of day, typically in the evening, to those that alternate between eating regularly and restricting a set number of calories during the day on fasting days. More extreme fasting diets prohibit all foods for a whole 24-hour period or longer.
A brief overview of intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting is an eating plan in which you alternate between eating and fasting intervals. Before beginning intermittent fasting, be sure to see your doctor. The actual technique is straightforward once you have permission from your healthcare practitioner. You might opt for a daily plan that restricts daily meals to a six to eight hours window. Another way is to eat 5 times a week, which is known as the 5:2 strategy. On the following two days, you consume meals with only 500–600 calories.
Fasting for longer lengths of time, such as 24, 36, 48, and 72 hours, is not always beneficial and can be bad for your health. Going too long without eating may cause your body to begin accumulating fat as a reaction to the lack of food. Numerous studies have shown that it can have significant health and cognitive advantages. Here are some health benefits of intermittent fasting that have been scientifically proven. This is why I decided to try it.
Let's remember what are the signs that indicate high blood sugar levels?
If you don't have a glucometer, certain physical symptoms indicate high blood glucose. Unfortunately, diabetes affects almost every part of the body, that is why the symptoms can vary greatly. The following are some of the most prevalent signs and symptoms of high blood sugar:
- Blurry vision;
- Frequent urination;
- Increased thirst.
Monitor and control blood sugar regularly, this will help you remain on track with your healthy lifestyle choices while also revealing how you're reacting to other factors. This is a crucial part of diabetes treatment. Variations in blood sugar patterns, for example, can signal to you and your healthcare team that you need changes in treating your diabetes.
A blood glucose meter is a device used in medicine to measure blood sugar. It's an essential component of diabetics' at-home blood glucose monitoring. These test a small amount of blood, usually from the tip of a finger. Blood sugar meters indicate if you have a low blood sugar level or emergency high. Because blood sugar fluctuates or in case you have chronically elevated blood sugar, you must test and monitor your results regularly to control blood sugar successfully.
The effects and benefits of intermittent fasting on people with diabetes
How does fasting affect insulin response and insulin resistance?
Practicing intermittent fasting and time-restricted eating can reduce insulin resistance, decreasing your risk of type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance and insulin sensitivity go hand in hand. When your blood sugar is high, your pancreas releases the hormone insulin, which removes the glucose from your bloodstream and sends it to your liver to be stored. High blood sugar will increase your risk of insulin sensitivity and this is problematic for people with type 2 diabetes. Increased insulin sensitivity goes hand-in-hand with reduced insulin levels. The more our insulin spikes, the more our body becomes accustomed to insulin.
In recent decades, type 2 diabetes has become a relatively common diagnosis. Anything that lowers insulin resistance and protects against type 2 diabetes should help lower blood sugar. Intermittent fasting has been found to have significant advantages for insulin resistance and to result in significant blood sugar reductions.
Fasting glucose levels in people with prediabetes were lowered by 3–6% over the course of 8–12 weeks in human research on intermittent fasting. Fasting insulin levels have been lowered by 20–31%. Intermittent fasting enhanced survival rates and protected against retinopathy in mice with diabetes, according to one research. Retinopathy is a potentially blinding consequence of diabetes. This suggests that individuals who are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes could certainly benefit from intermittent fasting.
Blood sugar control and fasting
When it comes to lowering blood sugar levels, not all research suggests that intermittent fasting is a magic wand. Daily calorie restriction and diets that imitate fasting have also been shown to improve blood sugar control in studies.
In a 12-month trial, researchers discovered that both alternate-day fasting and daily caloric restriction reduced fasting glucose levels. Other studies support the idea that calorie restriction lowers fasting glucose and reduces the risk of atherosclerosis.
Intermittent fasting, on the other hand, can be one of the simplest strategies to reduce your calorie consumption and lose weight. You could discover that limiting your calories for a few hours or a few days per week is simpler than doing so every day.
Fasting can cause a rise in blood sugar if your intermittent fasting routine causes you stress. If your blood sugar rises, your pancreas won't be able to keep up with producing enough insulin, which can lead to a whole host of health problems.
Impact on hormones cells and genes
When you fast for some duration, your body goes through several changes. For example, the body adjusts hormone levels to make stored body fat more accessible while simultaneously initiating activities crucial for cellular repair.
These were some of the physiological changes that occur while fasting:
- Repairing cellular structures. The body induces important cellular repair actions, such as the elimination of waste material from cells.
- Significant changes in levels of insulin. Insulin levels in the blood drop significantly which induces loss of body weight. Patients with type 2 diabetes who followed an intermittent fasting diet lost weight and were able to quit using insulin therapy, according to a case study published in the US National Library of Medicine.
- Growth hormone (HGH) levels fluctuate. Human growth hormone (HGH) levels in the blood might skyrocket. Increased levels of this hormone help with weight loss and muscle building, among other things.
Many people who experiment with an intermittent fasting diet do it to reduce body weight and balance blood sugar levels. Intermittent fasting results in eating fewer meals in general. You'll have a lower caloric intake unless you compensate by eating substantially more at the other meals.
Intermittent fasting also improves hormone function, which aids weight reduction. Lowering insulin levels, increasing HGH levels, and increasing norepinephrine (noradrenaline) levels all help the body burn fat for energy. As a result, fasting for a brief period of time increases your metabolic rate, helping you to burn more calories and increase weight loss.
It raises your metabolic rate (calories expended) while decreasing the quantity of food you consume (reduces calories in). Intermittent fasting, according to a 2014 assessment of the scientific evidence, can result in weight loss of 3–8% over 3–24 weeks. This is a massive sum.
Over the course of 6–24 weeks, the research participants lost 4–7% of their waist circumference, indicating that they eliminated a significant amount of visceral fat. Visceral fat is a form of fat located deep inside your body that surrounds your abdominal organs. High visceral fat accumulation is linked to an increased risk of a variety of health conditions, particularly type 2 diabetes.
Intermittent fasting-induced less muscle loss than constant calorie reduction, according to a 2011 study. Randomized research conducted in 2020 looked at participants who used the 16/8 technique. Your eating window starts after fasting for 16 hours a day and has an 8-hour window to eat on this regimen. When compared to eating three meals a day, fasting did not result in significant weight reduction.
The researchers discovered that those who fasted lost a substantial percentage of lean mass after assessing a subgroup of the subjects in person. Lean muscle was included in this. More research on the effects of fasting on muscle loss is needed. In general, intermittent fasting has the potential to be beneficial.
Reduction of oxidative stress and inflammation
Intermittent fasting has been shown in several studies to improve the body's resilience to oxidative stress. One of the consequences of aging are many chronic illnesses is oxidative stress. This process involves free radicals, which are unstable molecules. Free radicals also harm other important components like protein and DNA.
In addition, research suggests that intermittent fasting might improve with the battle against inflammation, which is another major cause of many illnesses. Some important findings are showing that intermitted fasting in reducing A1C levels, increases adiponectin and weight loss. Adiponectin is a natural hormone shown to increase insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation.
It's good for your brain
What's beneficial for the body is often equally beneficial for the brain. The number of metabolic parameters associated with healthy brain function increases when you fast intermittently. Intermittent fasting assists in the reduction around:
Inflammation due to oxidative damage;
More sugar levels in the blood;
Intermittent fasting has been proven in several studies in mice and rats to enhance the creation of new nerve cells, which should improve brain function. Fasting elevates the levels of a hormone in the brain called brain-derived neurotrophic factor or BDNF. A lack of this factor BDNF has been linked to depression and other mental health issues. In animals, intermittent fasting has been shown to protect against brain damage induced by strokes.
It protects your heart health
Various health indicators are known to be linked to an increased or decreased risk of heart disease and heart attack. Fasting for short periods of time has been found to benefit a variety of risk factors, including:
Blood sugar control and blood pressure levels;
Inflammatory markers in the blood for total bad cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.
So, when we think about cardiovascular risk, we should be concerned about the microenvironment on the blood vessels, and whether or not there is an environment that favors the deposition of undesirable cholesterol molecules and the recruitment of the immune system to those locations due to inflammation. This might cause plaque to form in blood arteries, which could then burst, resulting in a cardiovascular crisis. As a result, as previously said, getting to the bottom of what might potentially alleviate inflammation is crucial.
Intermittent fasting: How to keep track of your blood glucose?
There are a few things to consider if you want to attempt intermittent fasting for blood sugar management, especially if you have diabetes. Choose an easy-to-follow intermittent fasting strategy. Insulin levels drop while you're fasting. Your body responds by releasing hormones from your liver, one of which is cortisol, the stress hormone. Cortisol instructs the liver to release more blood sugar into the bloodstream. When you're stressed or have diabetes, your liver is more prone to overreact and release more glucose levels than you require. Your blood sugar levels will rise as a result.
If your blood sugar levels rise after you haven't eaten, your liver is most likely releasing glucose into your system. Exercise is an important part of using sugar in your blood and assisting your body in returning to a fat-burning mode. Fasting can result in hypoglycemia, or lower blood sugar levels, which is unusual. If you have diabetes, this might be problematic because diabetes medication is putting you at higher risk of low blood sugar. Consult your healthcare professional before beginning a fast, especially if you're using diabetic medication. When your diabetic meds are properly managed by your healthcare professional, you can safely fast.
Intermittent fasting has been shown to enhance insulin sensitivity and lower fasting blood glucose levels in several studies. These findings are crucial because maintaining a low blood sugar level is essential for lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, as well as having better long-term health for people with diabetes.
Things to consider before starting an intermittent fasting diet
- Your blood glucose levels and insulin needs will be affected by any type of fasting. You'll need to keep an eye on these markers, especially if you're starting a fasting routine, to make sure your continuous glucose monitor stays in check. If you have type 1 diabetes or are insulin-dependent, you should monitor your ketone levels regularly to avoid ketoacidosis.
- Don't forget the dawn effect. The dawn phenomenon sometimes called the dawn effect, is an observed increase in blood sugar. The dawn effect has a direct relationship with insulin production. Improving insulin sensitivity with a low-carb diet and/or intermittent fasting lowers morning fasting blood glucose and reduces the influence of the dawn effect. The management of the dawn effect differs by patient and should be done with the help of a patient's physician on a regular basis. Dietary changes, increased activity before breakfast and in the evening, and oral anti-hyperglycemic drugs are only a few of the therapeutic choices fighting the dawn effect.
- Make a meal plan for the days that you'll be fasting. This will assist you in ensuring that you are choosing the right food that won't affect your glucose. During the period of eating opt for low carb choices.
- Exercise mindfully because fasting and a low-carb diet can make you feel low on energy. However, when your cells instead primarily burn fat for fuel, as they do when having a low-carb diet, the muscle cells don't need glucose.
- Before making any substantial dietary or drug changes, talk to your doctor. If your healthcare team believes that trying a new eating pattern is safe, they should tell you how often to check your blood glucose levels and whether you need to use less insulin or other medications.