Intermittent Fasting and Dawn Phenomenon, how do you make it work?

I am finally understanding what dawn phenomenon is. But I am also eager to do Intermittent Fasting. If eating breakfast is the only way to stop dawn phenomenon, but my IF window is 12-8, then how do I make that work?

Any advice/experience?

Thank you much!

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I know I have mentioned it before, but I have been doing a sort of modified IF with a "Fat Fast." I wake up and have a "Bulletproof Coffee" which I describe in this previous post. I know it sounds weird, but it is good (just remember to use unsalted butter).

oh yes, i remember this post. does this help with DP?

My usual breakfast is a cheese omelet which is enough to reset my DP. The bulletproof coffee seems to have the same effect. Of course it isn't really fasting since the dietary fats provide ample ketones for energy for hours.

Have you observed this phenomenon in yourself, and have you tested to see that it is really occurring? I've read about this "breakfast to stop dawn phenomenon" theory, but I've never observed it in myself. I sometimes see my BG rise when I wake up (which some might describe as dawn phenomenon), but for me it seems to happen if I have eaten food (especially fat like peanuts) late the night before (something I know I shouldn't do but life happens). Digestion slows dramatically while sleeping, so if you eat late at night you will have undigested food when you wake up (especially fat which is digested slowly anyway).

I haven't seen any correlation with preventing the rise based on whether or not I eat breakfast nor what type of breakfast I eat. If anything, eating breakfast will just increase my BG more, so instead I just bolus as needed to correct on the rare mornings when I observe this rise and eat my small daily breakfast as normal.

Maybe this isn't "dawn phenomenon", but it is the closest thing I've personally observed.

It's kind of strange to refer to this coffee concoction as "fasting" when it contains about 450 calories.

I'm surprised to read that you've concluded that your morning bolus and breakfast is the only way to deal with DP. I've had to change my overnight basal profile on a somewhat regular basis. Sometimes I make changes, things get better and then I'm forced to restore the original basal settings and my BGs are normalized. For me, it appears that my basal requirements change slightly and I'm forced to adjust to maintain level BGs. Have you really given up on adjusting your overnight basal profile?

Maybe you should start your 8 hour IF window earlier at night to accommodate your morning DP reset routine.

I like IF, too. I do one 24 hour IF per week. My IF runs from dinnertime to dinnertime the next day. I only eat meals twice per day along with one or two snacks.

Fasting is "an act of willing abstention or reduction from certain or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time" so I think it is appropriate here. The term "Fat Fast" has been used in the low carb community for a long time and was first recommended by Atkins to break through weight plateau's. There is even a cookbook called amazingly "Fat Fast Cookbook"

Actually, I believe that digestion is "more" active during sleep. It is suggested that "certain physiological activities associated with digestion, cell repair, and growth are often greatest during sleep"

I think DP is a very individual thing. My experience is that not taking a bolus and not eating is like aggravating an angry DP monster.

Hi Andrea,

I solve the DP (if I even have it / not sure) with my basal. I don't eat breakfast because I am not hungry in the am. I do enjoy a cup or two of basal covers the habit. I don't know about IF, but I fast for a longer period than 8 hours each day, more like 12 to 16 hours. I don't eat after dinner, and I don't believe that eating is the only way to stop dawn phenomenon. If you are pumping your insulin (I thought you were) you can solve most trouble with your basal settings.

Interesting. So by that reasoning I could eat 5000 calories a day while "fasting"? I think the low carb community (starting with Atkins) may have a terminology problem.

well, all excellent comment. For me it is metformin a 500 mg dose at 10:00 pm ana a 500 mg dose at 12:00 am midnight. I DO NOT COMBINE the doses into one. That is useless.

It is also proof that the liver is the party spoiler. I am not on pump but folks on pump have had success adjusting basil levels at 3:00 am through 8:00 am.

Watch out for generics that put a low dose of metformin into blood stream. Tiva and some generics are rather low and need larger doses to sccomplish effect.

best wishes and good luck.

Wow, I guess we can't agree on anything. I don't have my reference books, but found this: "When we sleep, our need for these energy reserves is marginal so the digestive system slows down to a sluggish pace. The immobility of our bodies promotes this. For this reason, eating late at night is not recommended as our inactive state will prevent enzymes and stomach acids from converting it to energy."

Hi Andrea, I read this on Diabetic Living recently. It had a couple of good tips in it. I have had high morning blood sugars on and off since I was dx'd. 1 tip on here that worked for me (I'm type 2) was to have a small portion of whole grain cereal before I went to bed at night. Right around 20 gm of carbs and 3 to 5 fiber. It started helping me balance at night time. I talked to my doctor about it before I tried it and we monitored it over a few weeks and it brought me down to 120, where before I was up at 190 in the morning. Diabetic Living Article I picked up that information on, I think, the 3 page of this. :) Hope this helps.

My pump takes care of DP but I also have a second wave or spike that happens when I wake up, not to be confused with DP. I fast two days a week and there is little difference between the days I eat and the days I fast, I still need the correction insulin to cover the spike. the only difference is do I add it to a meal bolus, or do a stand alone correction bolus.I will have to agree with Jag...on days that I have a extremely high spike can usaly be associated with some high protein food the night before.

me too, eating does nothing for my DP. The only thing to combat it is to get those DP hormones out of the way and that's insulin.

Just because we rarely agree doesn't mean I don't love you.


When one eats, the pancreas is kicked to send in a bolus. That can help signal liver to knock off the glucose add.

all of these answers, while a bit different, make complete sense. I do think that I have a bit of DP...but I think that my night time snacking is definitely adding to the situation. I eat a little bit of cheese and almonds before bed every is dessert to me!!! But i'm going to quit that and see if it helps my AM readings. Thanks again guys!