Type 2 diabetes, sometimes referred to as adult onset diabetes, doesn’t have to be permanent. You can turn your health around. Fasting and calorie restriction can help you get control of your blood sugar, lower your blood pressure, and evidence even shows that fasting can help reverse type 2 diabetes. But, before we get into how fasting can undo the damage of type 2 diabetes, we first need to understand how type 2 diabetes affects the body.
Diabetes develops when fat accumulates in areas of the body that shouldn’t accumulate fat. It all starts with an abundance of fat in your muscle tissue. Typically this is caused by a family history, poor diet, or sedentary lifestyle. This fat is called intramuscular fat. It’s like the marbling on a steak, only it’s inside your muscles, and it causes insulin resistance.[1, 2] To make matters worse, intramuscular fat causes muscles to produce toxic fat metabolites like ceramide and diacylglycerol (DAG). These toxins also cause insulin resistance. This is the characteristic that distinguishes type 1 diabetes from type 2.
When blood sugar is high, the body tells the pancreas to produce insulin to lower blood sugar. However, insulin resistance causes the liver to stop responding to insulin.[4, 5] Gluconeogenesis, a process where insulin tells the liver to stop producing sugar from non-carbohydrate sources, occurs while you’re sleeping, fasting, and when you run out of blood sugar and glycogen. But when you become insulin resistant, your liver keeps producing sugar despite a high level of sugar in the blood. Consuming food that’s high in sugar is like throwing gas on the fire and the abundance of sugar is converted to fat and stored in the liver.
When the liver accumulates fat, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) can develop. When non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is present, the liver releases fat into the bloodstream where it’s distributed to other organs and they, just like the liver, stop responding to insulin. Especially affected is the pancreas.
As fat builds up in the pancreas, its function is compromised. Since the pancreas is responsible for producing insulin, this is a major issue. Predictably, insulin production drops. Reducing body fat can help normalize blood sugar, but a lot of people begin insulin injections instead. Insulin injections help in the short-term, but also increase fat formation throughout the body, including the liver and pancreas. All the while, type 2 diabetics develop other health issues. Fortunately, there is a better way.
For almost 150 years, we’ve known that fasting has serious benefits for those with diabetes. In the 1870’s, Dr. Appollinaire Bouchardet, an expert on diabetes during his time, noticed that fasting produced positive results for his diabetic patients. Over 100 years ago, Dr. Elliott Joslin published research suggesting that fasting could reverse diabetes. They were among the first to realize that fasting detoxes your tissues and organs of fatty deposits.
Even if someone has had type 2 diabetes for a long time, the results begin almost immediately. If you can start metabolizing the fat in your organs, you can begin to restore insulin sensitivity. And once you restore insulin sensitivity, you can get your blood sugar back on track.[7, 9]
Fasting with type 2 diabetes comes with a few potential health consequences, which is why you should only begin a fasting regimen under the watchful eye of a certified health professional who has experience and expertise with helping diabetics through this process. Ideally, have your blood tested throughout the day to monitor your blood composition and overall health. Again, if you have diabetes, do not fast without careful, attentive supervision from qualified and experienced health care professionals.
Fasting works similar to bariatric surgery, a gastric surgery that effectively reduces the size of your stomach. One study found that bariatric surgery helped 73% of participants go into diabetic remission. These kind of surgeries, however, are dangerous—both the surgery itself and managing nutrition afterward. There’s the additional consequence of forever having a stomach that’s the size of a shot glass and the difficulties that come with it.
Instead of going the extreme route with invasive surgery, simply adopt the post-bariatric surgery eating philosophy. After seven days of reduced calorie intake (about 500-600 calories a day), fasting glucose normalizes. After two months on this diet, your pancreas can start producing a normal level of insulin to control blood sugar.[12, 13]
In the last few years, researchers have found that reversing pancreatic damage is possible. Once you clean out the fat, the insulin-producing cells start pumping out insulin again. Fasting can undo the damage to your liver and pancreas to the point that they begin to function normally again.
Because it takes a few months to detox your organs of accumulated fat, intermittent fasting is the way to go. With a fasting diet, you can sustain the fast long enough to get rid of the excess fat deposits that lead to type 2 diabetes.
Monitor your blood sugar and blood pressure. Break your fast if your blood sugar exceeds 300 mg/dl or drops below 70 mg/dl.
A reduced-calorie plant-based diet may help repair the damage diabetes has wrought on your body. Remarkably, one study found that a well-planned vegan diet can lower insulin dependence by over 60% in just over two weeks—without losing any weight.
Small changes lead to small improvements, moderate changes yield moderate improvements, but significant changes lead to extraordinary results. Do what’s right for your body. Follow a healthy diet to lead a healthy life. Cut out refined sugar, starches, and meat and cheese, all of which are consistently shown to promote diabetes.[16, 17, 18]
You can restore your health if you have the courage to try and the willpower to stick with it—and I am confident that you do.
Have you tried fasting to reverse your diabetes? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!
Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Global Healing Center does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Global Healing Center are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.