Can intermittent fasting cure type 2 diabetes?

A guide to reversing the harmful effects of type 2 diabetes with the benefits of the very therapeutic intermittent fasting.

Summary

If you want to increase your knowledge about intermittent fasting for a step towards curing type 2 diabetes – whether for yourself or for a family member – you are in the right place.
Take comfort in the fact that you are not alone and there is growing evidence that this disease may in fact be reversible with the help of the very therapeutic benefits of intermittent fasting!

I take it you’re here reading this article because you suffer from type 2 diabetes? Or is it that you just want to increase your knowledge on how to cure it? Or is it because you know someone who’s suffered and you don’t want the same fate?

Whatever your reasons, we can all agree that this is a popular topic right now, with a potential positive outcome if handled correctly and with the help of intermittent fasting. Back to that last point in a minute but for now, let’s take a look at what type 2 diabetes actually is.

Type 2 diabetes definition

Type 2 diabetes mellitus – as it’s officially known – is a disorder that happens when the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin or when the body’s cells don’t react to insulin as they should (1). 

Here’s an easier way to think about it; after you’ve taken a bite of food, your body starts the digestion process, which includes breaking down the food to eventually either excrete it or absorb it. There are other accessory organs that help the process and the pancreas is one of those. This helps by making pancreatic juices called enzymes which specifically break down sugar, fats and starches.

The Pancreas also help out by making hormones – chemical messengers that travel through the blood always on their own little mission to bring the body back to its best balance. The most important hormone it produces is insulin, whose mission is to lower glucose (sugar) levels in the bloodstream and promote the storage of glucose in fat, muscle, the liver and other body tissues.

Type 2 diabetes cause

A rasperry and sugar on a spoon.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when we get persistent hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) mainly caused by highly processed food coursing around the body all day every day. This leads to both a deficiency in insulin secretion and a resistance to the action of insulin (2).

We can’t just blame diet though. There are a number of lifestyle factors that are also important in the development of type 2 diabetes. Factors such as physical inactivity, a sedentary lifestyle, cigarette smoking and a generous consumption of alcohol (3). 

Type 2 diabetes diagnosis

Person in a lab coat.

Conventional medicine takes a few steps towards diagnosing type 2 diabetes.

The first of which is to look at a patient’s weight, exercise routines, family history of diabetes, ethnicity, previous drug treatment and even birth weight (a birth before 35 weeks is associated with type 2 diabetes) are all contributing factors that can lead to type 2 diabetes (4).

The second step is to then check if a patient presents with persistent hyperglycaemia that may be accompanied by any of the factors in step 1 (5)

The patient will then inevitably be given a host of orthodox medical treatment that come with their own risks and side effects. Metformin is one of the most common ones and has the benefit of lowering blood glucose concentrations. The only problem is that it also comes with side effects such as gastrointestinal issues (6).

There are others on the list of course, including injecting yourself with insulin. Jason Fung refers to insulin injections in his book “The Diabetes Code” (7) by saying that blood insulin is already high, so giving more insulin seems problematic. He goes on to say that logically, effectively treating type 2 diabetes requires an approach to lower both glucose and insulin to save overloading our systems with too much insulin or glucose!

There is a positive message; with early diagnosis and access to appropriate care, diabetes can be managed. Furthermore, type 2 diabetes can be prevented and there is compelling evidence to suggest it can be reversed in some cases (8).

A natural approach – intermittent fasting and diabetes

A recent trial tested the effectiveness of intermittent fasting on risk factors associated with type 2 diabetes. The participants experienced comparable reductions in weight loss, insulin sensitivity, their cholesterol, leptin (fat) and other health markers (9)

Remember what we said earlier about having a positive outcome if handled correctly… At its very core, type 2 diabetes is simply too much sugar in the body and so reversal depends upon two things:

1)      Stop putting sugar in

2)      Burn the remaining sugar off !

Diets can reduce the incoming glucose but have little impact in burning it off. Intermittent fasting however, can help with both facets of diabetes reversal! (10). By extending the time between meals, you give your body the opportunity to access energy storage areas. Once your stored energy (especially glycogen) gets regularly depleted, insulin resistance improves.

Intermittent fasting breaks the vicious cycle: increasing the time between meals allows you to access your stored energy → hunger fades → insulin resistance improves.

If you’re struggling with type 2 diabetes and need help addressing the issues through intermittent fasting, we are here to help. Just join our intermittent fasting community for women only


References:

  1. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. (2021a). ‘Summary: Diabetes – type 2’ Diabetes – type 2. [online]. Available at: https://cks.nice.org.uk/topics/diabetes-type-2/ (Accessed: 22nd June 2021).
  2. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. (2021a). ‘Summary: Diabetes – type 2’ Diabetes – type 2. [online]. Available at: https://cks.nice.org.uk/topics/diabetes-type-2/ (Accessed: 22nd June 2021).
  3. Olokoba, A. Obateru, O. Olokoba, L. (2012a). ‘Lifestyle, Genetics, and Medical Conditions‘, Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Review of Current Trends, 27 (4), pp.269-273 [online]. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3464757/#r15 (Accessed: 22nd June 2021).
  4. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. (2021b). What are the risk factors’ Diabetes – type 2. [online]. Available at https://cks.nice.org.uk/topics/diabetes-type-2/background-information/risk-factors/ (Accessed: 4th April 2021). 
  5. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. (2021c). ’When should I suspect type 2 diabetes in an adult?’ Diabetes – type 2. [online]. Available at https://cks.nice.org.uk/topics/diabetes-type-2/diagnosis/diagnosis-in-adults/ (Accessed: 4th April 2021). 
  6. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. (2021d). Antidiabetic drugs’ Type 2 diabetes. [online]. Available at https://bnf.nice.org.uk/treatment-summary/type-2-diabetes.html (Accessed: 4th April 2021). 
  7. Fung, J. (2018a). ‘Insulin: Not the answer for type 2 diabetes’ The Diabetes Code. Greystone Books, pp.151-166. 
  1. IDF Diabetes Atlas. (2019b). ‘Summary’, IDF Diabetes Atlas Ninth edition 2019. [online]. Available at: https://diabetesatlas.org/data/en/world/ (Accessed: 6th April 2021). 
  2. Harvie, M. Pegington, M. Mattson, M. Frystyk, J. Dillon, B. Evans, G. Cuzick, Jebb, S. Martin, R. Son, T. Maudsley, S. Carlson, O. Egan, J. Flyvbjerg, A. Howell, A. (2011). ‘Randomized Controlled Trial’ [abstract], The effects of intermittent or continuous energy restriction on weight loss and metabolic disease risk markers: a randomized trial in young overweight women, 35 (5), pp.714-27. 
  3. Fung, J. (2018c). ‘Intermittent Fasting’ The Diabetes Code. Greystone Books, pp.225-247.

This article was originally published on women-fasting.com

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About Stefanie Daniels
About Stefanie Daniels

Menopause ambassador | Author | Intermittent fasting coach | Nutritional specialist.

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2 Responses

  1. Im very pleased to find this site. I need to to thank you for ones time for this particularly fantastic read!! I definitely really liked every part of it and I have you bookmarked to see new information on your site.

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