Intermittent Fasting

I've seen some posts in the forum about long fasts, but has anyone tried intermittent fasting? The Men's health article piqued my interest, and non-diabetic friend was raving about it, so I've tried it twice this week.

First my background: FYI: Type 1 for 30 years, MDI the whole way...last A1C 6.5, which is down from staying in the high 6's-7 range for the last few years. Weight is up about 10 pounds from where I'd like to be.

Here's the skinny (let's hope!):

The so-called 8-hour diet: do it only 2-3 days a week, 2 days a week to start. You only eat during an 8-hour window, and fast the remaining 16 hours (8 of which are sleep hours).

I started Tuesday night, ate dinner by 8 pm. Did an hour yoga class at 9, then instead of my usual bed-time snack with some Novolog, skipped that, took my regular dose of Levemir at 10 pm. Sugars were fine after yoga but lowering a bit: 85 at bedtime. Awoke at 4:30 am to 65, took 3 glucose tabs (effectively ending the fast but I consider that medicine), then awoke at 120, took my morning Levemir, no Novolog, and skipped breakfast. You're allowed black coffee and water, which I drank in abundance all morning. Coffee caused a little spike to 192 by 10:30, so corrected with two units of Novo, which had be back down to 120 by Noon and my break-fast. You're supposed to eat regular breakfast at that point, but at Noon, took my Novo (4 units) and had chicken and wild rice.

I felt noticeably less bloated all morning, with good energy and no hunger pangs. Had a snack at 3 pm, then another light dinner at 6:30, so actually my eating window was only 6.5 hours for the day and not 8. Did another yoga class from 8-9:15, and was high after (273), probably because I dialed back the dinner dose a bit too much (from regular 10-12 units down to 6). Took a corrective dose of 3 units, tested at bedtime, and was feeling safe at 145. Did another 5 am test and was 65 again, but didn't feel too low, so went back to sleep until 7:30 and awoke at 75, so my basals seemed appropriate (I dialed back the evening Levemir from 28 to 25). Now I only had to wait til 10:30 am for my 16 hour fast to end, so had a late light breakfast of a plum and low-carb protein bar. Here's the other kicker: the program recommends an 8-minute exercise as the fast ends, so I ran two flights of the 6-story staircase in my work building, and 4 minutes on the office gym stairmaster. Sugars fine all morning, had a light 10:30 breakfast followed by salad for lunch at 1 pm...a mid-afternoon snack and I'll return to normal dinner tonight.

The main victories: I feel great, lost 3.5 pounds in 3 days, energy is good, and avoiding the late night snacking now seems like a mission. Sugars good, insulin adjustments will continue with lighter food intake, I managed exercise and yoga during the fasts, and I feel GREAT!

There is some science behind this diet, and obvious health benefits that can be debated. Without talking to a doctor, I'm looking to anyone here for their thoughts.... I think this could be a good program for me to do 2-3 days a week for weight loss and sugar control.

Congratulations on finding something you can work with! If your sugars are great, and you're feeling great, and you're losing weight, too, it sounds like you've got a winner!

I haven't heard of it (then again, I don't read a lot of men's health mags). ;)

I'd love to try it but fasting for 16 hours a day would be hard work for me. I don't do large meals and spend all day grazing on little meals to prevent spikes. I have to say, tho, that the benefits you mention are most appealing. Hmmmm.

Whoop for you!

yes, that was my first thought too---and burning fat first thing in the morning (on an empty stomach) also made sense, as opposed to "snacking" before a workout. This all just adds up more when you do it, and see/feel the benefits. The biggest one is reducing the opportunities to over-eat when you have less time to do it, and for me that mindless 10 pm shot and snack has become really unnecessary.

I have considered it, but my insurance (Kaiser) is behind the cutting edge pumps, they have Mini Med offered. I really like my freedom from being connected to something, but will consider it when a pump and CGM combo device comes to market....wonder how long that will take (definitely different topic) ?? I agree that total carbs is the key and wish I was more into insane amounts of cardio.... this is just a mental approach to limit and control myself and how much I consume. we'll see how it works over a month or two, I'll update accordingly.

I routinely do Intermittent Fasting. I think it has some real benefits. Sure, it is claimed to enable you to stay lean, dropping calories without dropping your metabolism. But I am diabetic. It "forces" me to a certain discipline. Fasting is exactly what you need to do to properly establish your basal levels. If your basal insulin is not set right, you won't be able to fast and avoid blood sugar problems. I also feel like it "trains" me to deal with hunger. I don't necessarily believe my hunger signals, I think being diabetic, the hunger signals just can get messed up. If I just eat whenever I am hungry, that is a problem.

I am watching and waiting for the pancreum pump in design stage now where he says the three modules of insulin, CGM and glucagon can be selectively chosen in each three day attachment. see

As for fasting, I do that so much, it is more the case for me than eating. And the dark roast espresso coffee is good for your liver too, says a hepatologist and my liver is in top shape, not a thing wrong with it according to ultrasound and yeah for the espresso coffee and the Calcium Ascorbate. I take supplements a lot because I don't eat a lot, but I do eat protein. I eat to live, and don't live to eat. I live to learn.

As for weight loss at the beginning of a diet, it is because for every 1 lb of glycogen in the liver used up, and there is a limit to how much can be in there, so it's not a lot, but 2 lbs of water is lost. If you then eat a high carb meal, the water weight will return as the glycogen stores rise up in the liver. Athletes know that as hitting the wall when glycogen stores are used up in a run and the body needs to turn to burning fat for energy. I myself am mostly in the ketogenic phase, so on the occasion that I do eat deli salads and take more insulin I regain water weight and also weight from salt in any of the deli meats I might be so foolish to add to that salad. I do it rarely, sometimes go for 4 months avoiding it.

Don't allow yourself to become discouraged if you gain 2 lbs in a single day, as that is most likely just the water retention for both the liver and the effects maybe of salt. The reason people hit plateaus is that one can not sustain that weight loss daily as most of it is water loss and it stops as soon as the glycogen stores are at a minium. So that great drop you just experienced can come back fast and it discourages people. It's not a true fat loss, but over time, fat can be lost. But note that insulin inhibits the release of fat for burning. That's a whole long topic.

I also was was very suspicious of people saying they are fasting as I know it is just a partial fast, often from sunrise to sundown and then they pig out after dark. I do not even consider that a fast. But the truth is the night time of not eating is indeed a partial fast, hence breakfast. I would NOT suggest long term fasting, as the body needs nutrients to function and it will consume protein from your muscles to build up where needed, so any fasting that is partial needs to be done with lots of reading about it. You can live without carbs but not without protein. A 16 hour fast in a day is no problem for me and I didn't even consider it a fast. It's more the norm. Beginning of Nov 2102 I was 125 lbs and am now 137 so have gained due to the winter and less activity and more nuts and less attention, so I know how to reverse it. I'm 5' 6" and have been the same weight approx for 32 years.

hum, how is that possible to not get blood sugars to fluctuate over 30 points/day? even non diabetics BG's while eating fluctuate more then that. I prebolus, low carb too, no on pump, still on MDI's, but mine fluctuate, I never go above 140's typically and will correct right away, but if I start out at 80, there's 60 points right there within the first hour. do you have/use a CGM to see how your blood sugars actual fluctuate? Not sure how a pump can control meal fluctuations either; those meal ppls depend more on how we time our insulin with the food and making sure we count carbs correctly (protein included if applicable) and using the correct I:CR. Sure, one can square wave, dual wave with pump but it's my understand the pump works best for fasting basal rates and setting and corrections, etc...not sure it helps all that much with meals. Please explain how you never fluctuate over 30 points, please. THANKS.

My problem is eating when I'm actually hungry, instead of just snacking because I'm bored or tired.

When that happens, I fill myself up on water so there's no room for unnecessary eating. My biggest problem is meals, when I'm actually not hungry at all!

I finally went back to Dr. Bernstein eating after a long ‘cheat’ period. I’m feeling much better and numbers are getting better.

What I want to talk about though is that I did one 24 hour fast this week. After being straight low-carb for a few weeks, this fast was pretty easy for me. I drank one cup of coffee with a splash of cream in it, and had some bone broth for lunch. I tried to drink lots of water. I fasted from 9PM, after dinner, until the next evening.
I took 1/2 of my basal insulin in the morning, and figured I’d check all day to see if I need more. (I know that ideallly basal should be the same as always but apparently I was off on my basal, because 1/2 was enough. So maybe I’ve been overdoing my basal insulin.) My bg stayed pretty stead all day.

After the fast I ate my regular dinner. I felt 100% ok. Anyway, the amazing thing is this. The next morning, and entire following day, my bg stayed between 80-90. The mornings - which are always 120-140 (dawn phenomenon) was 88! And the same is true a day later. I’ve barely taken bolus insulin in the past 2 days because the numbers stay so low. It’s crazy.

I’m going to keep trying this once a week or so and see what happens. If anyone is interested, i’ll keep reporting.

I’ve observed the same thing. I’ve found a tendency for my body to want to repeat what happened 24 hours before. Whether I had very steady BGs, a spike, or a hypo-dip, all other factors held equal my body wants to approximately repeat the previous 24-hour trace. I think of it as a 24-hour “echo.”

I think intermittent fasting makes the body more sensitive to the action of insulin. For many months I did this once per week but I’ve fallen out of the habit. Your post motivates me to start again. Like you, my fast would last from after dinner one day until dinner the next. Since I only eat two meals/day, I found this relatively easy to do.