Fasting for diabetics

Fasting for Diabetics

Therapeutic fasts for diabetics

Fasting for Diabetics

People are turning to alternative and more natural forms of therapy to help alleviate or prevent chronic conditions, diabetes being no small exception. Whether it’s to avoid the increased costs of medication or trying natural methods, treatments such therapeutic fasting have found increasing popularity.

Here you’ll find everything you need to know about diabetes and how fasting can help you regain control of the condition.

What is diabetes?

In short, diabetes is a chronic disease in which a person has high levels of blood sugar and is unable to regulate insulin and glucose levels without external help. The treatment varies by type, but is usually a form of injectable insulin or oral medications to regulate hormone and sugar levels as well as control the reabsorption of sugar in the body.

There are three common types of diabetes:

Type 1:

The body has an insulin deficiency due to lack of insulin production in the pancreas. There is usually a genetic risk factor, but people are often healthy, maintain a good diet, and exercise regularly. Although it can appear at any point, usually the onset is already in childhood, which is why it is often also referred to as juvenile diabetes or child-onset diabetes. Type 1 diabetics will usually use injectable insulin or an insulin pump to help stabilise hormone and sugar levels.

Type 2:

Insulin resistance is the defining factor here, where the body no longer produces sufficient insulin and it no longer responds to the hormone as it should. Although there may be genetic factors involved, this type of diabetes usually occurs in people with unhealthy lifestyles: lack of exercise, poor nutrition, and obesity. Contrary to type 1 diabetes, this form usually presents itself in adults. Doctors will recommend a combination of diet, exercise, and some form of medication to treat the disease. Some people have been able to reverse their condition through rigorous lifestyle changes, even allowing them to dispense of medication altogether.

Type 3:

The last common type is gestational diabetes. This occurs in women who have no previous diabetic conditions but develop diabetes during pregnancy. This usually resolves itself once the baby is born.

Pre-diabetes and fasting

Fasting can be most effective if you have caught your diabetes before it really begins, in other words while you’re pre-diabetic. Many patients have a good chance to reverse the condition, before it turns into type 2 diabetes. With the detoxing and organ-alleviating effects of fasting, you are able to set yourself on the right track and take control of your diet and lifestyle. You may be able to avoid medication altogether.


Fasting for diabetes

The best fasting with diabetes offers

The benefits of fasting for diabetics



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The basics of fasting

When you start fasting and abstain from consuming typical amounts of calories, your body will turn to its reserves to provide energy for the cells. It will first turn to any remaining glucose in the blood or glycogen deposits, to feed the cells with energy. Once those stores have been depleted, the body will begin to convert fat to energy.

Through fasting, you also help relax and “reset” your liver and pancreas, which are vital organs in maintaining healthy blood sugar and insulin levels. Some studies have shown that fasting can help regenerate the pancreas, allowing it to begin to regulate insulin levels without the help of medication. When glucose and glycogen stores have been depleted, the liver can focus on other functions such as detoxing the body and improving immunity.

Regulating diabetes

In some cases, diabetics who fast can improve pancreatic function, which in turn can help a person lower, if not eliminate, the insulin doses they need to control hormone and sugar levels in their blood.

The broths and juices are made of fresh fruits and veggies, which will help keep the blood sugar levels even during fasting, as well as introduce important vitamins and minerals that will help your organs. This supports both the liver and pancreas in performing vital functions.



Fasting for diabetes

After fasting

For diabetics, the refeeding stage of the fasting programme will be key in adjusting to your new lifestyle. It is important that you follow medical advice on what to eat and how much to eat in the days to come, as you do not want to put additional strains on your body or throw off your electrolyte balance.

When breaking the fast, you will have a chance to readjust your diet, which will be particularly important for type 2 diabetics. You will have detoxed your body from harmful foods, and now you can start lifestyle changes by sticking to fresh ingredients and leaving out processed sugars, sweeteners, alcohol, and caffeine. Optimally, your blood glucose and insulin levels will be stable after your treatment and it is now up to you to maintain these levels through good nutrition and regular exercise.

The diabetic diet

Doctors and experts will recommend that diabetics eat plenty of veggies, fruits, legumes, whole grains and lean meats and low-fat dairy products. Any foods that are high in processed sugars, artificial sweeteners, high in fat (particularly saturated and trans-fats), cholesterol, and sodium should be avoided. If you stick to a whole food diet and steer clear of all processed food, you will already be a good step further.

Fasts suitable for diabetics

Although there are many different types of fasts and diets available these days, not all are suitable or applicable in all situations. Of the many varieties, the Buchinger method and intermittent fasting are the most common and most recommended by experts.

Diabetes and the Buchinger method

The Buchinger method is a classic type of therapeutic fasting and has the widest range of uses in medicine. Here you abstain completely from solid food during the fast, consuming only broths and light juices. You’ll consume a very low amount of calories, simply to feed your body the nutrients it needs for basic functions as well as give vital organs the needed calories for them to continue as normal.

Without these very few calories, typically around 350kcal. per day, vital organs could potentially feel extremely stressed, causing your body more harm than good. These calories and nutrients allow your body to relax and regenerate during the fast.


Fasting for diabetics with Buchinger


Intermittent fasting fasting for diabetics

Intermittent fasting for diabetics

Intermittent fasting is one of the most recommended fasting methods for people who are deemed unsuitable or unable to undertake classic therapeutic fasting. Essentially, you are not completely abstaining from solid food or the intake of calories, you would simply be restructuring your meals and the times in which you eat them. This diet can be designed into the so-called 5:2 diet for diabetics, meaning you eat normally for 5 days and abstain from food for 2 days. Alternatively, you could opt for arrangements such as the 16:8 diet, where you fast for 16 hours and eat normally for 8.

During the times in which you eat, you will usually eat very normally and have a very standard calorie intake. The fasting periods, however, will allow your body time to regenerate and deplete glucose and glycogen stores prior to eating again. This will inherently change your eating habits to healthier schedules, as many people are prone to snacking on the couch or at the computer at all hours of the day.

Other fasting methods

Not all diabetic conditions are the same and neither are the fasts or diets. There are many more fasting methods available for diabetics. For a full overview of the types of therapeutic fasting methods, check out our dedicated fasting therapy page.

Other fasting methods

Precautions when fasting as a diabetic

It is vital to regularly check your blood sugar levels while fasting. As you are drastically changing your eating habits and your body is trying to adjust to this, you may feel unwell. It is important that you let your doctor or medical team know of any abrupt changes to your wellbeing or sugar levels, so that they can help you adjust your fast accordingly.

It is also important that you incorporate transition days prior to fasting. This means slowly eliminating processed sugars, caffeine, alcohol and heavy foods from your regular diet, as well as slowly lowering the amount of calories you consume. Try transitioning to food that is easy to digest, like fruit, vegetables, soups, and whole grains.

Lastly, you should follow the refeeding schedule that your doctor recommends, as this will assure that you break your fast without shocking your system. Incorrect refeeding can lead to electrolyte imbalances, for example, which could leave you feeling ill. Here too, if you feel unwell or see abrupt changes to any blood sugar levels, let your physician know immediately.

Therapeutic fasting holiday for diabetics

Doctors agree that when undergoing a fast, it is best to try to relax as much as possible, making a fasting holiday a great option! Not only will you be surrounded by professionals who are well-trained in fasting and everything that goes with it, but you will be on holiday in some of the most serene locations.

The programmes also include activities, all tailored to people who are fasting, lectures, and you will not find somebody digging into chocolate cake at the table next to you while you are trying to enjoy a veggie broth. These programmes are designed with your health and success in mind! Give yourself a well-deserved break while also doing something great for your health: what more could you ask of a holiday?

Medical supervision and advice

Our therapeutic fasting programs include supervision with doctors and medical staff. They will be available to not only give you advice on your condition from a fresh perspective, but they will also help you tailor your fast to make sure you get the best results. During your stay, they will monitor your progress and help you keep things like blood sugar and insulin values in check. Should you have any questions or concerns, there will always be somebody on site who is familiar with fasting and the process who will be able to assist you.

These experts will also not let you go home without some additional advice and instructions. They will first help you through the refeeding process and then give you advice and recommendations for your diet and your home physician, to make sure that you get the most out of your stay.



Medical advice fasting for diabetics
diabetes and fasting

Best programme length

Ideally you should aim for at least a 14 day fasting programme. This is generally the optimal time-frame to really give your body the reset and boost it needs to help you make some positive and lasting life changes. Should you not have the time for a 2 week fasting holiday, programmes can be adjusted to fit the time you do have. Dedicate as much time as you can to give your health the attention it deserves!

What to prepare

Before embarking on your fasting journey, make sure you consult your trusted physician, to see if they think therapeutic fasting could be right for you. Make sure to talk about the various types of fasting programmes and diets available to you, as some might be more suitable than others. To find out more about the different types of fasts, check out our fasting therapy page!

The next thing to do would be to gather a medical history, as detailed as you can. If you can, it would be best if you can get this in English. The doctors will make their own assessments and in some cases they will also evaluate blood samples on site, but the more information they have on hand, the better they will be able to help you. Also, do not forget to bring any and all medication you are currently taking, whether it’s insulin or simple multi-vitamins.



Fasting for diabetics

Lastly, start adjusting your diet prior to arriving at your fasting holiday destination. Start eliminating heavy and fatty foods, processed ingredients, caffeine and excess sugar. Make gradual changes over the course of a few days or a week, eating many small meals throughout the day consisting largely of fruit and vegetables as well as broths and juices. This will make your transition to a fast that much easier.

Don’t forget to keep your blood sugar and insulin levels in check when making these changes to your diet. If your doctor recommends that you not change your diet prior to arrival, then follow those instructions instead. If at any point you feel unwell from the changing your diet, contact your physician.

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Check out our wide range of great fasting and diet programmes, including meals, consultations with experts, treatments and more! If you’re unsure which programme is best for you, don’t hesitate to contact our fasting experts. They would be happy to recommend a specific hotel or clinic.

FAQ - Tips on fasting for diabetics

Should diabetics fast?

Whether a diabetic should undergo a fast is based largely on individual medical factors and the state of your health in general. If you think therapeutic fasting sounds like something you would like to try, check with your physician to see if they recommend a fasting regimen. It can certainly be a beneficial tool to help combat the disease!

Will fasting reverse diabetes?

Although some patients have had great success in reversing their diabetes, there is no guarantee that it can be reversed completely or permanently. Even after a fast, a lifelong commitment to a healthy diet and exercise regime will determine your success in controlling the disease.

How does fasting help diabetes?

Fasting helps you regain control of your insulin and blood sugar levels, by depleting your sugar stores and allowing your pancreas and liver to relax and detox. Your organs will also begin to regenerate on a cellular level during the various stages of fasting, which can sometimes naturally improve or even restore normal organ function.

Should I fast with gestational diabetes?

You should not fast when you have gestational diabetes! Check with your physician and obstetrician if a form of intermittent fasting might be possible. Do not change your diet or routine without first seeking medical advice.

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