How to Use Intermittent Fasting to Help Manage a Healthy Response to Insulin

The phrase “fasting” scares most people away from this style of eating. So, allow us 5 lines to clarify what we mean and offer some reassurance.

  1. Intermittent fasting to support healthy blood sugar and insulin management does not include fasting for whole days. 
  2. Intermittent fasting is NOT the same as skipping meals.
  3. Intermittent fasting is merely extending your normal overnight fast by a few hours to increase glucose absorption without eating.
  4. Each person’s intermittent fasting period will be different.
  5. Intermittent fasting does not have to be associated with extreme hunger or low energy levels. On the opposite. Intermittent fasting, when done correctly, is designed to help improve energy levels, support mental clarity, and help regulate blood sugar and insulin levels over time.

What is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting is a comprehensive term. Some people may fast for an entire day or multiple days per week, alternative with eating days. When you have high blood sugar and insulin levels, we do not recommend fasting in this manner.

We recommend you attempt a modest type of intermittent fasting in which you reduce the number of hours per day that you allow yourself to eat. 

When you are within this “eating window,” consume foods that are easy on your blood sugar levels and do not eat again until the next day.

When you do this on a daily basis, you are just extending your natural nightly fast for a few hours into the day before breaking your fast and re-nourishing your body with nutritious foods.

How Can Intermittent Fasting Help with Blood Glucose and Insulin Levels?

The average American meal pattern takes 12 and 14 hours of the 24-hour day. This leaves about 10 to 12 hours for digestion and blood glucose absorption. 

This eating window can be as long as 16 to 18 hours for individuals who consume a snack before night, leaving only 6 to 8 hours for digestion. This eating pattern makes it difficult for the body to digest food, absorb nutrients, and metabolize blood glucose before having to digest additional incoming food. 

High levels of inflammation, we well as persistently high insulin and blood glucose levels, are often the result of this virtually consistent digestion. When the body is unable to adequately rest after digestion, it is forced to produce more insulin to metabolize incoming glucose. 

The goal of intermittent fasting is to allow the body more time to digest. This rest enables blood glucose to be efficiently used for metabolic processes, resulting in normal insulin levels. When insulin levels fall, your body might begin utilizing to stored glucose, or fat, as an energy source.

When a cell’s stored glucose is depleted, it can receive additional glucose following a meal. This can improve the cells response to insulin and increase the effectiveness of insulin. Over time, this may reduce insulin resistance and support healthy lean body mass.

  • When your body enters gluconeogenesis, your liver produces glucose from non-carbohydrate sources to use as energy. 
  • So really all you need to do- is stop eating late or eat your first meal a little later
  • More fasting hours gives the body a longer rest for digestion
  • Benefits: less time to eat, over eat, and changes hormone levels and may repair cellular process
  • When fasting for 12 hours you get to gluconeogenesis state or Metabolic Ketosis- (gluconeogenesis and ketosis are not the same. Gluconeogenesis produces glucose for fuel
  • Ketogenesis (ketosis) produces ketones for fuel
  • Gluconeogenesis is a metabolic process that occurs during fasting, starvation, and intense exercise
  • Ketosis is a (continual) metabolic state where the body uses ketones as the main fuel, it suppresses gluconeogenesis, but gluconeogenesis is still running in the background)
  • Supports Healthy Blood Sugar and Insulin Levels
  • Allows the Liver to Convert Glucose into Energy and Utilize Stored Glucose

Use Intermittent Fasting Wisely

Intermittent fasting is one of the tools in your toolbox to help support healthy blood glucose and insulin levels. Do not start any diet without first consulting your healthcare practitioner to discuss whether it is safe for you.

  • Intermittent fasting should not be used as an excuse to eat glucose- and insulin-spiking foods throughout your eating window. This may diminish the benefits you could gain by fasting.
  • Intermittent fasting is not a healthy approach for your body if blood glucose testing indicates that it triggers a spike in blood sugar.
  • Do not skip meals. Intermittent fasting is not the same as skipping meals. When you skip a meal, your body may respond by releasing a flood of emergency glucose. This differs from your natural pattern of eating and sleeping, which allows your body to metabolize blood glucose.
  • If you have symptoms of hypoglycemia such as dizziness, confusion, faintness, headache, or blurred vision, then eat a small protein snack and then continue with the eating window for the day.
  • Intermittent fasting should never include symptoms of hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia for diabetics. If you’re fasting and experiencing these issues, simply extend the eating window until these symptoms subside.
  • Continue to use insulin as directed with each meal. Decrease insulin only if your healthcare practitioner advises it.

The purpose of intermittent fasting is not to consume as little calories as possible. The idea is to allow the body as much time as it requires to metabolize glucose stored in the cells. This helps support the natural balance between blood sugar and insulin levels.

Get Support for Your Journey

Do you feel you require more intensive support on your road to intermittent fasting? Do you want to try intermittent fasting but are unsure if it’s right for you?Please contact our nutrition specialists, who are here to assist you every step of the way. To receive expert advice on your schedule, please visit us at www.lisannewellnesscenter.com/nutrition.

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Please note, this blog is not intended to replace your primary healthcare provider, or any healthcare provider, for that matter.