Reversing Type 2 Diabetes - Naturally by Fasting


For anyone suffering from type 2 Diabetes, or simply those wanting a simple way to naturally improve insulin sensitivity, this article could be a valuable resource. After all, keeping up with the latest research and innovations can be a lifesaver in the world of health and fitness. 

“Let food be thy medicine” - Hippocrates

I believe that quote holds as much weight as it is old, but sadly it’s a concept that’s mostly been forgotten. Avoiding a long winded rant about the absence of proper nutritional and fitness education in today’s society, I’ll keep this focused straight to the benefits: managing, and even reversing type 2 diabetes. 


Stop and Go

If food got you into this mess, then food should present a way out. The overarching problem lies in the body’s sensitivity to insulin; therefore, the key is in the restoration of insulin sensitivity. Granted, that sounds extremely simple; however, most doctors are not treating the cause, but simply the symptom. Luckily, an answer can be found in fasting, or more specifically: intermittent fasting - hence the “stop and go”.



Intermittent fasting for diabetes is based off of the concept of eating for a prescribed period of time, followed by a window of abstinence from food. Typically arranged in a 16 hour to 8 hour ratio. Long story short, fasting dramatically increases the body’s natural insulin sensitivity, due to the long absences of food. Now, this is in no way detrimental to the body as many would think. Normally restricting food is viewed as unhealthy or excessive; however, could this be exactly what our overindulgent society needs? What’s more, is according to the American Journal of Medical Sciences - even in severe cases of adult type 2 diabetes, fasting resolved the symptoms of the disease. Maybe a little self control is the answer after all. 


Benefits of fasting for diabetes

Before becoming too fearful of the prospect of no food for 16 hours, let me say from experience, it is not half as hard as it sounds. As a personal trainer and nutrition enthusiast, I did my research before diving into intermittent fasting myself. Now, after months of falling into this stop and go eating routine, I have experienced nothing but stellar results. 




Fasting is an age-old practice, and has been proven to elevate helpful hormones such as human growth hormone, along with increasing the metabolism, and simultaneously elevating the process of cellular repair. Also, according to authorities on fasting, “If the diabetic is motivated and truly wants the best opportunity for a long, healthy life, we should not use medication at all in type 2 diabetes…” I recommend doing further independent research on fasting for diabetes to truly understand the benefits in detail. 


Exercise

Another pivotal piece of the puzzle that works wonders for diabetes management is frequent exercise. A commonly overlooked facet of intense training is its ability to influence insulin sensitivity. Fasting isn’t the only tool in the box for battling a runaway endocrine system. Medicine should always be a last resort; therefore, taking control of your own body through nutrition and exercise will do more for your longevity, and sense of self worth more than most medications ever could. 

The first steps down the road of exercise should be logical and measured. Start slow, and add more volume and intensity each week, taking care to monitor your body. Bouts of intense training will leave you in a state of hypoglycemia, or depleted glycogen; therefore, adding in quality nutrients after will be crucial. If combining exercise with intermittent fasting, I recommend beginning the eating window directly after training. You can of course arrange your schedule however you like, but breaking the fast following training has worked well for me. 

More information about specific training modalities, and the specifics of intermittent fasting can be found in upcoming articles. However you choose to enhance your quality of life, remember to stay informed, and stay motivated. 


References

1. Furmli S, Elmasry R, Ramos M, Fung J. Therapeutic use of intermittent fasting for people with type 2 diabetes as an alternative to insulin. BMJ Case Rep. 2018;2018:bcr2017221854. Published 2018 Oct 9. doi:10.1136/bcr-2017-221854

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