Intermittent Fasting: Surprising Update
- By Monique Tello, MD, MPH, Contributor
Theres a ton of incredibly promising intermittent fasting research done on fat rats. They lose weight, their blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugars improve but theyre rats. Studies in humans, almost across the board, have shown that IF is safe and effective, but really no more effective than any other diet. In addition, many people find it difficult to fast.
But a growing body of research suggests that the timing of the fast is key, and can make IF a more realistic, sustainable, and effective approach for weight loss, as well as for diabetes prevention.
Avoid Sugar And Processed Carbs
Avoid sugary foods and processed carbs . They cause spikes in blood sugar levels.
A loose restriction of carbohydrate intake in a study of 133 type 2 diabetes patients improved HbA1c levels significantly during the 2-year follow-up period .
A low carbohydrate diet reduced HbA1c and BMI in a study of 66 Japanese patients with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes .
When an energy-restricted, protein-rich meal was used to replace certain meals in15 obese type 2 diabetes patients, over a period of 12 weeks, HbA1c decreased from 8.8% to 8.1%. Participants who continued with the practice further reduced their HbA1c .
What Is The Best Time To Check Blood Sugar In The Morning
When to test First thing in the morning, before eating or drinking anything. This will tell you whether you have enough insulin in your body to control blood sugar levels at night, while youre asleep. Before each meal. This will help you make decisions about how much medicine to take and how much food to eat.
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Why Lower Your A1c
A1C goals arent decided upon out of thin air. The targets that the ADA, AACE or your provider advise for you are based on clinical research, as well as other factors, such as your age, your overall health and your risk of hypoglycemia. Landmark clinical trials, such as the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial and Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications , for example, have correlated lowering A1C with a decrease in diabetes-related complications. So, for every one point that you lower your A1C, youll lower your complication risk as follows:
Kidney disease by 50%
Its important to realize that your A1C levels reflects an average of your blood sugar numbers. Your A1C levels might be 6.7%, but that may be because youre having a lot of low blood sugars, for example. For this reason, your A1C levels should be viewed as part of the picture, and not in isolation. Your blood sugar readings, frequency of highs and lows, and quality of life need to be considered as part of your overall diabetes management plan.
How Long Does It Take To Lower Your A1c Levels
Is it possible to lower A1C levels overnight? Well, the short answer is no. Unlike your blood sugars, which can go up or down in a matter of minutes, your A1C will take some time to change. Remember what your A1C measures: your average blood sugars over the past three months. The good news is that if your A1C is on the high side, say, 10% or higher, it will likely start to drop within two to three months . On the other hand, if your A1C is 7.5%, it may take a little longer to lower A1C levels.
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Which Diet Is Right For Diabetes
Many diets claim health benefits. But newer guidelines for people with type 2 diabetes say that there is not just one diet for diabetes management that a variety of eating styles can work. How do you choose whats right for you?
Before you decide to commit to a particular diet, heres some tried-and-true tips:
- Eat more non-starchy vegetables things like broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. Raw or cooked vegetables or salads its hard to eat too many of this food group. Eat them at meals and for snacks.
- Minimize added sugars and refined grains. Choose cereals and breads without added sugars or very low in added sugar, and drink water as your main beverage.
- Choose whole foods over highly processed foods as much as possible. Look for whole grains over refined grains. Avoid or eat less from boxed mixes, breaded and deep fried foods, or those with heavy gravies and sauces.
There many diets out there that you can look to for weight loss. But our list highlights a few better diets, two you should approach with caution, and diets to avoid altogether if you have diabetes.
Does Obesity Cause Diabetes
There is clearly a link between Type 2 diabetes and obesity, and researchers around the world are working to solve the puzzle of how the two are connected. Some scientists think there is a connection between body fat and hormones that regulate appetite and insulin levels. When you lose weight, and reduce your body fat, you may have better control over your diabetes.
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Keep Track Of Your Goals And Progress
Writing down the details of your weight loss journey helps you set healthy targets and notice patterns. Youll be able to appreciate your progress over time, as well as notice when your diet might have gotten a bit off track.
Try jotting down all of the foods you eat, including the serving sizes, in a journal every day. Not a fan of pen and paper? Try one of the many free apps. Its a good idea to weigh yourself at least once a week, per your doctors or diabetes educators recommendation, to keep track of your progress. You might also want to write down when you exercised, what you did, and how you felt after.
Can Diabetes Cause Weight Gain
If you have type 1 diabetes, when you start taking insulin, you might start to put on weight. There are lots of reasons for this, like how much insulin you take, your diet and the type of insulin youre taking.
Insulin is a growth hormone, and any growth hormone you take will mean putting on more weight. When youre diagnosed with diabetes its also likely that you lost a lot of weight in a short space of time, as this is one of the symptoms, and the weight gain is part of the recovery.
The type of insulin you take can affect your weight in different ways. Weve got more information about the different types and how they can affect your weight.
If youre worried about putting on weight, or youd like some help losing weight, then were here to help.
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Wait No Counting Calories
When I tell my patients they dont have to count calories to lose weight, they look at me like Im crazy. But, Dr. Muenzer, they say, every diet Ive tried includes counting calories.
Yes, I respond, and if those calorie-counting programs worked, you wouldnt be asking me for help now.
This is a light bulb moment for my patients. While calorie intake is an important component of healthy weight maintenance, weve learned that its the types of food you eat to get those calories that is most important. Refined sugars and white flours make you hungrier and cause you to eat more calories.
Natural Supplements For Weight Loss And Lower A1c
Natural Supplements For Weight Loss And Lower A1C
Are there really any weight loss supplements that work? Most of us know that a healthy diet and exercise are the most effective way to lose weight, but do weight loss supplements really work? Most people would answer yes with a resounding no. Thats because so many of these products lack the proper balance of ingredients and do not contribute to long-term weight loss.
Diet and exercise are still the best ways to lose weight. However, there are supplements out there that claim to replace or supplement the need for these things. These include a number of popular herbal dietary supplements, which have actually been found to help in weight loss. Some weight loss supplements also help increase metabolic rate, cut down on cravings, increase energy, and even boost metabolism. When people make the switch to diet and exercise with these products, they often find that the weight loss products have had little to no impact on their bodies.
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How Does The Glycemic Index Work
The glycemic index is pretty simple to use. The numbers can be broken up into three levels:
- 55 and less: Eat these foods to lose weight. This includes beans, nuts, vegetables and most fruits.
- 55 to 75: Eat very few foods in this range. This includes foods like white bread, crackers, bagels and most sodas and colas.
- 75 or more: Eat almost no foods in this range. This includes foods like potatoes, sports drinks, waffles and instant oatmeal.
If you are struggling with your weight, make it a point to follow this easy system. Your goal is to make sure the majority of the food you eat is non-processed, free of refined sugar and white flour and ranked at 55 or less on the glycemic index.
Most food labels do not list the glycemic index number, but its easy to find just about any foods ranking with a quick Internet search. For example, Harvard Medical School published a list of glycemic indexes for over 100 common foods.
Before you go grocery shopping or sit down to a meal, look up the glycemic indexes of the foods youre planning to eat. In the beginning you may be surprised the indexes often are not what you would expect. In time, though, you will develop a good sense for what will make you gain weight and what will help you achieve your health goals.
A Balanced Diet And Its Sizes
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Diet Plans To Discuss With Your Healthcare Team
While its best to talk to your doctor before you start any diet plan, its especially important to talk to them if youre interested in the following:
Intermittent fasting IF requires you to limit the time period in which you eat to a certain number of hours per day, or to eat a very low number of calories on certain days. Some research has shown benefits from IF to fasting glucose and weight. That said, skipping meals may hinder blood sugar control or cause low blood sugar , especially if youre on insulin or a sulfonylurea, so talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits before you attempt it.
Schedule Your Meals Including Breakfast
A common characteristic among the NWCR participants is that most of them ate breakfast. Skipping breakfast is thought to possibly lead to overeating later in the day, which can sabotage weight loss plans and cause blood sugar levels to fluctuate. People who eat breakfast may also have more energy to stay more active throughout the day.
The importance of a morning meal for weight loss has been debated. One meta-analysis published in September 2014 in Advances in Nutrition showed that eating breakfast was associated with better weight loss, but another review of studies, published in January 2019 in BMJ, found that breakfast may not always lead to weight loss. Still, the ADA recommends eating breakfast every day. Experts say an effective diabetes diet involves eating three meals at regular times of the day to help the body better use insulin.
Breakfast should include fiber-rich, healthy carbohydrates, such as whole grains, fruits, and low-fat dairy, to help keep blood sugar levels in check. Always review labels before you buy packaged foods, and skip cereals and other breakfast foods with added sugar.
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Type 2 Diabetes In Remission
And after one year, 46% of those in the intervention group were able to achieve remission of type 2 diabetes. Only 4% in the control group did.
Remission was defined as achieving an HbA1c that was less than 6.5% without the use of medication for a minimum of 2 months.
Among those in the low-calorie intervention group, nearly a quarter shed 33 pounds or more, which was the studys primary goal. None in the control group achieved such a weight loss.
How To Lower A1c Levels
Several scientific tests have proven that decreasing A1C amounts might lessen the hazard or seriousness of diabetes.
Together with Type1 diabetes, a lot more managed blood sugar levels are correlated with lower levels of ailment expansion. With type two diabetes, organized A1C ranges have proven to lower indicators involving the smaller nerves and arteries within your body.
This affects pain and eyesight while diminishing complications.
Long-term research has demonstrated that early and intensive blood sugar control can cut back cardiovascular disease for those who have type 1 or 2 two diabetes.
Even tiny fluctuations in A1C levels could have enormous effects. Even the ADA urge that preserving precise control of blood sugar levels reduces the likelihood of diabetes issues somewhat.
They indicate that many individuals who have diabetes ought to sustain A1C degrees under seven percent. An identification of diabetes also does occur by having the A1C of 6.5 percentage or greater of two different circumstances.
There are some methods to decrease or restrain A1C levels with a combined of physical exercise plan and dietary plan.
Focusing on foods to lower a1c is a great way to lower a1c levels naturally.
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Susan Schussler Rd Cde
I primarily work with people who have pre-diabetes or newly diagnosed type 2. My understanding is that postprandial blood glucose excursion influences A1c values the most. So I recommend:
Check blood glucose 2 hours after the start of the meal to be sure it is 180 analyze previous meal carb contenttoo many, type of carbs: refined vs. high fiber, if > 180 exercise for 15-20 minutes to lower it.
Why Might Changing Timing Help
But why does simply changing the timing of our meals to allow for fasting make a difference in our body? An in-depth review of the science of IF recently published in New England Journal of Medicine sheds some light. Fasting is evolutionarily embedded within our physiology, triggering several essential cellular functions. Flipping the switch from a fed to fasting state does more than help us burn calories and lose weight. The researchers combed through dozens of animal and human studies to explain how simple fasting improves metabolism, lowers blood sugar levels lessens inflammation, which improves a range of health issues from arthritic pain to asthma and even helps clear out toxins and damaged cells, which lowers risk for cancer and enhances brain function.
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What Is Your A1cand How Can You Naturally Lower It
Preventing, managing, and reversing Type 2 diabetes often involves controlling and lowering what is know as your A1C, which is a 2- to 3-month average of your blood-sugar levels.
According to the American Diabetes Association, Type 2 diabetes can be diagnosed based on a persons A1C level. This is because your A1C levels are typically more stable and harder to change when compared to other forms of blood-sugar measurements .
For this same reason, people with Type 2 diabetes are often encouraged to set goals to lower their A1C levels. Doing so would indicate that they are sustainably decreasing their blood-sugar levels over time, and progressing toward better outcomes .
But, how can you naturally reduce your A1C? How can you lower your A1C without the aid of pharmaceutical interventions ?
The first step is to talk with your healthcare provider.
Everyone has their own unique circumstances that may make one health solution better than another. Fortunately, research has shown that there are multiple ways to lower your A1Cmany of which do not involve medications.
Weve put together a summary of methods for naturally lowering your A1C levelseach of which is backed by clinical evidence.
Also, on January 27, 2022, Pendulum will host a special webinar entitled A1C: Everything You Need & Want to Know!
The webinar will be led by Kristin Neusel, MS, RDN, LD, CDCES, and will cover
- What is A1C and how often should i get it tested?
What is your A1C ?
What is a good A1C level?
The Glycemic Index Helps You Pick Foods That Will Not Cause Dramatic Changes In Blood Sugar
The Glycemic Index is a number that tells you how fast or how slow your body converts carbohydrates into blood sugar. The scale ranges from 1 to 100 for a prediabetes diet, the lower the number, the better:
- 55 or less = Low
- 56 – 69 = Medium
- 70 or higher = High
Research suggests that focusing on foods with low-glycemic index carbohydrates and high fiber may protect against diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Specifically, another study found that increased fiber may improve glucose control within the cardiovascular system. You can use food labels to estimate the Glycemic Index value of a particular food. There are also efforts to add a “low GI” symbol to packaged foods.
Glycemic Index labeling is also supported by various scholarly publications. There are a few things to keep in mind, however. The Glycemic Index value for a specific food can vary depending on:
- How you cook it
- For example, the longer you cook pasta, the lower the glycemic index.
- The glycemic index increases in fruits as they ripen.
As we have mentioned elsewhere, portion size is nearly as important as the specific food you eat. Within the GI framework, this is called Glycemic Load. Whereas the index indicates how quickly glucose enters the blood stream, Glycemic Load tells you how much glucose per serving could be introduced into your system.
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