Safe Fasting with Type 2 Diabetes

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Two main reasons for someone choosing to fast is for health or religious reasons. However, if someone has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, fasting for a long time can be detrimental to his health. It is suggested that anyone fasting with type 2 diabetes, should consult their physician or nurse practitioner before doing so.

Can Diabetics Fast Safely?

Before this question can be answered more information about the person will be needed. How a fast will affect the person’s sugar levels will depend on if his diabetes is controlled only by diet or by administration of tablets or an insulin injection. Someone who is being controlled by medication will be at a higher risk than a diabetic who controls their sugar levels through diet and exercise.

The second set of information that is needed to determine if the fast is safe, will depend on the type of fast the person with diabetes intends to complete. There is a difference between carrying out a juice fast in the morning, a fast consisting of only water or a “dry” fast that does not allow any food or liquids to be consumed. Each type of fast will affect the body differently depending on what is or not consumed.

How to Fast Safely with Diabetes

Fasting with type 2 diabetes is possible. However, there is no where in the literature that suggests a complete “dry” fast. Also it was not recommended that a type 2 diabetic carry out a fast for more than 12 hours. The fast should be broken as soon as possible.

A safe fast when diagnosed with diabetes should be one that is under the supervision of a physician. It is important for someone to only consider fasting if he was not previously diagnosed with diabetic ketoacidosis. Diabetic ketoacidosis occurs when the sugar level within the body becomes so high because there is no insulin to allow the cells to use the glucose, the body will use fat instead and produce toxic byproducts.

Another way to fast safely would be to do so while you have not been diagnosed with heart disease or high blood pressure, along with your diabetes. Stop the fast if any lightheadedness or dizziness occurs and this should be reported to your physician as soon as possible.

A third way for diabetics to fast safely would be to constantly monitor their blood glucose level during the fast. If the level is abnormal compared to your previous readings, then it is suggested to stop the fast. When the person does break the fast every night, it is advised to split their meal into two portions. This will reduce the blood sugar level reaching a high level in a short period of time.


National Library of Medicine: Diabetic Ketoacidosis Fasting with Diabetes