Posted by Nicole on November 4
Are you trying to get your blood sugar levels under control? If so, you may be wondering whether fasting can help you to do so.
At this point in time, there still does not seem to be a lot of research on blood sugar and fasting, but we can take a look at a few references to see what the existing evidence suggests.
Harvard Medical School has this to report about intermittent fasting:
Researchers from the University of Alabama conducted a study with a small group of obese men with prediabetes. They compared a form of intermittent fasting called “early time-restricted feeding,” where all meals were fit into an early eight-hour period of the day (7 am to 3 pm),or spread out over 12 hours (between 7 am and 7 pm). Both groups maintained their weight (did not gain or lose) but after five weeks, the eight-hours group had dramatically lower insulin levels and significantly improved insulin sensitivity, as well as significantly lower blood pressure. The best part? The eight-hours group also had significantly decreased appetite. They weren’t starving.
Harvard mentions that the success of this type of intermittent fasting in the study might have to do with circadian rhythms.
It seems that the timing of fasting could be particularly significant.
We found a study that looked at the effects of Ramadan fasting on 41 males and 19 females. Neither the male nor female participants had any significant changes in their blood glucose as a result of the fast.
Ramadan fasting is an inversion of the type of fasting that the University of Alabama study looked at. While it is also intermittent, one cannot eat during Ramadan between sunup and sundown. One can eat after the sun sets.
On the topic of fasting and diabetes, WebMD says, “Some studies suggest fasting may be helpful for people with diabetes. But it’s not a mainstream treatment. The American Diabetes Association doesn’t recommend fasting as a technique for diabetes management.”
The site also reports, “One very small study included three men who had had type 2 diabetes for 10-25 years. With medical supervision, the men fasted every other day or 3 days a week. Within a month, all of the men were able to stop taking insulin. And in less than a year, they were able to cut down on or stop other diabetes medications.”
Now, one thing that is critical to know is that fasting and certain medications can interfere with one another. If you are on insulin, for example, it is possible that your blood sugar could drop too far while you are fasting.
For that reason, if you are taking that type of medication or if you have diabetes, you should consult with a physician about your fasting plans before you get started.
Don’t forget to drink plenty of water while you are fasting and also make sure you are getting your electrolytes.
An easy way to do this is to take a supplement that includes calcium, magnesium, zinc and other key electrolytes.
Speaking of supplements, you can also try chromium, berberine, olive leaf extract or alpha lipoic acid for insulin health.
To track whether your fasting is producing the results you are looking for, you can get a home kit to check your blood sugar each day.
It may take some trial and error to figure out the best fasting plan for you, or whether fasting is a fit for your body in the first place. So, monitor your blood sugar carefully as well as how you feel. Hopefully you will eventually find an eating schedule that works for your needs.