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Home arrow Nutrition arrow Intermittent Fasting arrow Intermittent Fasting for Diabetes Management: Here’s What You Need to Know

Intermittent Fasting for Diabetes Management: Here’s What You Need to Know

Written by Thalia Oosthuizen
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: October 15, 2023
8 min read 1500 Views 0 Comments
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Diabetes affects a huge part of the population across the globe, and one of the best ways to treat diabetes is through diet. Does this apply to an intermittent fasting diet? Find out here.

Intermittent fasting for diabetes

Many different types of diets may be suggested if you have diabetes. One of the names that might crop up is intermittent fasting. Research shows that this, coupled with a good physical routine, can help reduce the symptoms of diabetes.

Intermittent fasting can bring many wonderful benefits to people who have diabetes. Done with care, the individual may see lower blood sugar levels and balance their hormones. Perhaps the best benefit is weight loss. Weight loss can be a pivotal advantage that helps one manage their diabetes and is great for many other health benefits. 

In this article, we’ll cover more about what intermittent fasting is, its benefits to diabetes, and the types you can try out. 

Intermittent Fasting for Diabetes – Is It Safe?

Intermittent fasting, like any other diet, can’t be pigeonholed into safe or unsafe. For those with diabetes, the rules of intermittent fasting could potentially have some negative side effects.

Those with type 1 diabetes or those who use insulin or medication might struggle with this diet. The sudden change in eating cycles could cause hypoglycemia. Additionally, intermittent fasting might cause the individual to swing the other way and have hyperglycemia.

That means that if you have diabetes, it’s best to consult a physician or dietitian before you begin following any intermittent fasting regimen. It might be a good option but with a few customizations to your particular needs.

Can Intermittent Fasting Reverse Type 2 Diabetes?

Curing type 2 diabetes is not possible, but utilizing intermittent fasting can definitely help reverse the symptoms. Almost all individuals with type 2 diabetes also have weight problems. This is why one of the chief ways of treating type 2 diabetes is weight loss or weight management. Losing weight helps reduce insulin sensitivity and improves the absorption of blood glucose.

Basically, that means that being overweight can make controlling your diabetes very difficult and lead to more health complications from the disease. The biggest of these may be the insulin sensitivity that causes the inability to absorb glucose properly. In the end, this leads to hyperglycemia.

So, many diets focus on calorie restriction, which helps maintain blood sugar better. Many experts feel intermittent fasting takes that a little bit further. The diet sends your body into a process where it begins burning the sugar stored in the body. In turn, this begins to lower your body’s blood sugar and results in weight loss.

Though there have been many studies on the effects of intermittent fasting on people with type 2 diabetes, there are no definitive results yet. However, it does look favorable that utilizing intermittent fasting could potentially reverse type 2 diabetes or, at the very least, make it much more manageable.

Can Intermittent Fasting Cause Diabetes?

There is no definitive proof that intermittent fasting could cause diabetes. However, the studies showed that it had a chance of affecting the release of insulin and the body’s insulin sensitivity, which could potentially cause various health concerns.

Of course, anytime you jump into a new diet or a lifestyle change, you must consider the repercussions of utilizing that particular method. Due to its restricted eating cycle and dietary requirements, Intermittent fasting has been shown in some research studies to impact insulin resistance and the pancreas.

6 Benefits of Fasting for Diabetes

People with diabetes must be cautious about their blood glucose levels. So when making lifestyle changes, it’s important to understand the health benefits of these changes.

Though there are many benefits to fasting for anyone, when it comes to people with diabetes, they have to be more cautious. Any sudden shift in their health metrics could cause low blood sugar or other severe health issues.

So here are five minutes of fasting for diabetes that will have the most impact on the symptoms of this disease:

#1 Low insulin levels

Insulin resistance is the main symptom when it comes to type 2 diabetes. This is when the individual has high blood sugar levels, which reduces the resistance and ability of the body to absorb the glucose properly.

Intermittent fasting has been shown to have a great impact on insulin resistance. Eventually, this leads to a reduced blood sugar level in the individual executing the fasting.

Multiple studies have shown that intermittent fasting can reduce blood sugar levels. These results show that the reduction can be from 3% to 6% over three months. This means for people with diabetes that falls in the type 2 range, intermittent fasting may be a great option.

#2 Hormone balance

Your body is designed with all types of different systems to help it run as effectively as possible. When you don’t eat, your body’s systems change, and other processes are activated. One of those happens to be through the release of hormones into your system.

In order for your body to utilize the fat stored within your body, it releases hormones that make this store more accessible to the other functions of your body. One of the balanced hormones is HGH, or the human growth hormone.

As you are fasting, the hormone levels in your body increase. This permits a better fat-burning process and can help build muscles more effectively. When it comes to people with diabetes, weight management is a big concern. So having a balanced hormonal system that allows for improved fat burning will, in the end, help with weight loss.

#3 Weight loss

The intermittent fasting diet has a significant impact on body weight. This could be partially due to the calorie restriction of the diet or even the time-restricted feeding cycle. People with diabetes will see a marked improvement in their weight loss regimen when utilizing intermittent fasting.

As we said above, intermittent fasting helps lower insulin levels and raises your body’s human growth hormone levels. Along with this, there is an increase in norepinephrine too. All of this will help to deal with breaking down the fat stored in your body and using it for energy.

Individuals who utilize intermittent fasting to help treat their diabetes will see a higher metabolic rate and burn more calories. The more calories you burn, the more weight you lose.

Weight management for people with diabetes is crucial because the more overweight you are, the more stress is put on your system, which can exacerbate insulin sensitivity and the functioning of the pancreas and production of insulin.

#4 Anti-inflammatory effect

Inflammation in the body is caused by oxidative stress. This is when free radicals get into your system and cause damage to the cells. The damage can play a part in chronic diseases and help quicken the aging process.

These free radicals frequently cause inflammation in the body as well. It has been demonstrated that because of the effect of intermittent fasting on oxidative stress, people who have diabetes may benefit from an improved anti-inflammatory effect.

#5 Cellular repair

There are so many fascinating systems in our bodies regarding their overall functioning. One of the processes that get initiated when fasting is called autophagy. This is the body’s way of getting rid of unwanted waste.

In other words, the cells begin to break down and metabolize into our bodies. This gets rid of protein build-up inside the cells that are causing issues with other functions. Having a heightened level of autophagy may protect against cellular-based diseases like cancer and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

#6 Improved heart health

Many people with diabetes deal with heart issues like high blood pressure.

Intermittent fasting has been shown to take care of several factors contributing to heart disease. It has been shown to impact lowering blood sugar levels and blood pressure. Along with this, it gets rid of inflammatory markers and can have an effect on cholesterol as well as blood triglycerides.

Intermittent Fasting Types

There are four most common methods one can use when it comes to intermittent fasting. 

Time-restricted eating

Typically, with this method of intermittent fasting, you will choose a 16/8 or 14/10 schedule. This means that one will last for either 16 or 14 hours, leaving you an 8- or 10-hour eating window. This is a method that can be maintained for long periods.

5:2 method

For two days a week, this method has you only taking in 500 calories. The rest of the week, you will be eating a healthy, normal diet. These days that one has a low-calorie intake focusing on high protein meals is important. Also, when you choose the two days, you need to make sure there is a non-fasting day in between.

Alternate-day fasting

Alternate-day intermittent fasting has the individual having one low-calorie day followed by a normal diet day. This pattern then repeats itself throughout the week.

24-hour fast

When choosing this type of intermittent fasting, you will choose one or two times a week where you don’t eat for an entire 24-hour cycle. This option is quite extreme and may not be a good idea for those with diabetes.

Choosing the option and creating the plan for that option can be challenging. That is where an app like DoFasting comes into play. The app is designed with systems to help one develop the perfect intermittent fasting schedule. Along with that, it can help you find good recipes, and best of all, it helps with accountability. 


What is intermittent fasting?

Many people talk about lifestyle changes. One of these is bringing an intermittent fasting regimen into their lives. Most of the time, this is to help manage body weight, but it can also be beneficial for people with diabetes. Even for metabolically healthy obese adults, fasting can have many benefits. Intermittent fasting is when one restricts their eating window for a set amount of time.

Will fasting lower blood sugar?

Fasting can affect your blood sugar levels, so people with diabetes should be cautious. This happens because not eating automatically lowers your blood sugar levels. On the flip side, when you come out of your fast, you may find that your blood sugar level skyrockets. This could send you to the other side of the spectrum called hyperglycemia.

Can a person with diabetes fast for 24 hours?

The answer to this question depends on how healthy you actually are. Whether you do periodic fasting or a continuous energy-restricted diet is a personal choice.

But executing a full 24 hours can be challenging for people with diabetes. This is because the blood glucose levels will drop. Therefore, they may struggle with intense hunger pains and other side effects like dizziness and nausea.

A Word From a Nutritionist

Diabetes care is more than just blood sugar management. A wealth of different issues need to be addressed, including weight management. Intermittent fasting, a tool utilized to help with weight management, could be a great answer to many diabetes-related problems.

There is one word of note we’d like to say to those suffering from eating disorders. If you suffer from any form of eating disorder, it’s best to forgo this lifestyle change. Intermittent fasting will allow you to lower your blood pressure and blood sugar levels and burn more calories, giving you a more comprehensive weight management plan.

All of these will help significantly impact the symptoms of diabetes. But before making this lifestyle change, visit a nutritionist or physician. It is always best to ensure that intermittent fasting will work well with your other healthcare regimens.


Having the tools to monitor and create a well-based periodic fasting regimen could be a great tool for any person with diabetes. Though you must be cautious about intermittent fasting regarding the medications and any eating disorders you might suffer from, it is still a viable lifestyle change. In fact, it could help lower your blood sugar levels, lose weight, and improve a wealth of other areas in diabetes care.

There is no one-size-fits-all diet solution when it comes to diabetes management. Even within the intermittent fasting sector, there is a wealth of different ideas and information. To make intermittent fasting easier and allow you to monitor your meal plans, there are many useful apps, such as DoFasting.

This app can be used as your accountability partner and is designed to help create a plan based on nutritionist guidelines to help you monitor your weight safely. This, in turn, will help manage your diabetes care more comprehensively.

Written by Thalia Oosthuizen
Thalia has always wanted to be a writer, starting her first local newspaper at the age of 11. She also has enjoyed a passion for health and fitness since a young age, playing many sports through her schooling career, and still enjoys biking, running, and swimming today. She studied English Language at University for 3 years, developing a passion for spelling, grammar, and research. She now has over 10 years of experience writing, proofreading, and editing, and has paired this with her love for health and fitness by writing health content.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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Written by Thalia Oosthuizen
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: October 15, 2023
8 min read 1500 Views 0 Comments

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