Type 2 diabetes is increasing worldwide at an alarming rate due to obesity and a sedentary lifestyle and has become the 7th leading cause of death in the United States.
Most doctors, dietitians, and diabetes specialists claim that type 2 diabetes is a chronic and progressive disease and medication is the only solution. However, countless people have found diet and lifestyle changes to successfully reverse the disease. Among those changes, fasting has been shown to help reverse diabetes according to recent research.
Intermittent fasting (IF) is one of the simplest and fastest methods to force your body to burn sugar for energy. Glucose in the blood is the most easily accessible source of energy for the body. When you eat, your body stores food energy, and when you fast, you burn that food energy instead. If you simply lengthen out your periods of fasting, you can burn off the stored sugar.
IF may allow the body to use up fat from the liver, causing fat levels to drop in the pancreas as well. This “wakes up” the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, normalizing blood glucose levels. Plus, IF helps many individuals lose weight, which significantly lowers your blood sugar levels and also improves your overall health.
IF’s effectiveness at reversing diabetes is supported by these factors:
- Lowers blood sugar – Every time you eat, your blood sugar rises. So, when you’re not eating, your blood sugar is lower. With intermittent fasting, you’re fasting at least 12 to 16 hours, so your body uses up the glucose in your system.
- Decreases insulin levels – Since your cells are now receptive to insulin, your pancreas produces less insulin to meet needs.
- Increases insulin receptivity – With your cells no longer being overloaded with sugar, insulin can do its job more effectively and move the sugar out of your blood.
- Regenerates your pancreas – Your pancreas is where insulin is produced. When a person has type 2 diabetes, the pancreas has to work overtime to produce insulin sufficient to deal with the overload of sugar in the blood. Researchers have discovered that intermittent fasting effectively reboots the pancreas, regenerating beta cells.
- Increases your metabolic rate – You are burning more calories, helping facilitate some of the above benefits of intermittent fasting.
- Helps you lose weight – Simply losing weight can oftentimes reverse type 2 diabetes. Intermittent fasting has been shown to help people lose body weight in 3 to 24 weeks.
If you have diabetes, you should always consult your doctor before trying any new health or diet plan. When you get the green light, decide on an IF strategy that will work for you and experiment with it for a month to see what adjustments, if any, you need to make. If you’re taking medication for diabetes, you’ll want to be under medical supervision anyway so your doctor can reduce your medication as your blood sugar levels fall. Even if you’ve been taking meds for years and the idea of reversing your condition seems far-fetched, intermittent fasting may be the key to beating diabetes!