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Fasting Good or Bad For Diabetes

Fasting: Good or Bad for Diabetes Long Term?

Fasting is the latest fad diet trend that's all the rage right now. But is fasting all it's cracked up to be? Does fasting have any downsides, side effects or risks? Is fasting a long term weight loss solution?

And is fasting safe for a medical condition like Insulin Resistance, Prediabetes, or even Type 2 Diabetes? Let's talk about fasting in today's blog post...Fasting: Good or Bad for Diabetes Long Term?


Fasting is the latest in a long line of extreme fad diet trends.

But is fasting really the magical cure we're all looking for?

Sorry to disappoint you, but the answer is no.

Fasting is not a magical cure for weight loss.

Fasting is not a magical cure for Diabetes.

Fasting is not a magical cure for health problems.

The Enthusiasm Outweighs the Science

You'll find much fasting enthusiasm on the Internet, in diet books, in fasting forums and on Facebook groups run by faceless people selling supplements, bootcamps and the grand notion of wearing a size 0 bikini.  

AND anyone who criticizes these over-enthusiastic fasters, the science they quote, or the sustainability or benefits of fasting, is quickly labelled as a bully or a hater and dismissed.

Yes, there are very SHORT TERM studies (a few weeks or months) that show some promising benefits of fasting or extreme calorie restriction.

But if you actually read the studies you'll see:

  • Most studies have been done on worms, crabs, snails, fruit flies, and rodents, and only in a few cases were actual humans studied.

AND you'll also see:

  • When humans were studied, the drop out rate is very high (the worms didn’t get to choose if they fasted but the humans did and lot of them didn't appreciate going without food).

And you'll also see:

  • That there is NO long term weight loss benefit to fasting when you compare it with traditional diet plans where you simply eat less.

This Is Where The Science On Fasting Is REALLY At

All the fasting diet Facebook groups, fasting forums and diet books will tell you that fasting is safe and there is no big deal:

  • If don't eat for most of the hours of a day
  • Or stop eating for days
  • Or drink coffee non-stop to stave off hunger
  • Or reward yourself by pigging out after a fast
  • Or limit your fasting to "private" so no one knows you are skipping meals
  • If your friends and family think you have a eating disorder... because after all... they just don't understand the benefits of fasting.

The truth about fasting is that much is unknown about fasting for weight loss and health. And scientists DO NOT know if fasting is safe long term.

Fasting and Calorie Restriction: What Do We Know?

"...scientists still have much to learn about how calorie restriction and fasting affect people...They also don't know whether these eating patterns are safe or even doable in the long run. In short, there's not enough evidence to recommend any such eating regimen to the public."

US Department of Health and Human Services

Evidence from Human Studies of Fasting:

"Some research to date (about fasting) has focused on the weight-loss aspect of fasting... and only a few small clinical trials have been conducted. More work is needed to determine which, if any, types of fasting diets have long-term benefits."

US Department of Health and Human Services

Fasting Downsides, Side Effects and Risks

Though fasting websites and diet books won't tell you this...

Fasting does have some serious downsides, side effects and risks.

  • Preliminary fasting research indicates women experience negative hormonal changes when meals are skipped or when fasting is undertaken. The women in the studies also became more insulin resistant.
  • Fasting commonly causes low blood sugar. Low blood sugar symptoms include vomiting, feeling spaced out, impaired judgement, fainting, seizures and hallucinations. (So driving or caring for children is a bad idea.)
  • Fasting commonly causes electrolyte imbalances. Electrolyte imbalances cause blood pressure problems and cause the heart to be unstable and prone to arrhythmias.
  • Fasting beyond one day slows down your metabolism as your body starts to conserve calories. This metabolic slow down can become permanent. (Which means you need less calories, forever...)
  • Fasting increases the risk of gallstones
  • Long term fasting causes nutritional deficiencies
  • Alternate day fasting leads to intense hunger, which can result in overeating on "eating days"
  • Fasting has negative effects on sleep quality
  • Fasting encourages your body to breakdown muscle tissue. This means the longer you fast the muscle tissue you are losing (this is a normal metabolic reaction)
  • Fasting has negative effects on mental alertness and your ability to think clearly
  • Initial weight loss with fasting is water weight, not fat...and this weight quickly returns once the fasting is over
  • Fasting fights against your metabolism. This includes the hormones that are telling you to eat. The desire to eat is normal. It is not normal to deny yourself food when food is available and you are hungry.
  • Skipping meals increases the stress hormone cortisol. Increased stress means increased inflammation and increased blood sugar.
  • Starvation-Induced Glucose Intolerance happens after only 3 days. That means that after fasting for 72 hours, glucose intolerance increases and insulin response increases. This means you become more like a Diabetic.
  • Fasting closely resembles cycles of binging and purging and obsessing over food (eating disorder). Eating disorder specialists strongly discourage fasting since it basically looks like disordered eating AND it's super easy to become addicted to the deny-reward cycle and lose control.

You lose muscle mass when you fast. The reason why this happens is muscle tissue can be turned into glucose...and since your brain needs glucose your body will breakdown muscle tissue to get it.

Many people think they are reducing fat stores when they fast. Turns out you're burning off mostly muscle and only a small portion of fat.

Studies show us that the longer you fast the more muscle you burn and less fat.

This means your body is cannibalizing muscle tissue to keep you alive. 

That doesn't sound like a good idea.

Ready to admit rapid weight loss and fad diets don't work?

Our Healthy U Group offers a sustainable lifestyle you can stick to for life...


Summary: Is Fasting Good or Bad for Diabetes?

Scientists really don't know what fasting might do long term for a Diabetic because there is isn't any research to say one way or another!  

But there are also numerous downsides, side effects and risks that are already known.

Bottom Line: Fasting is a fad diet. Yes, the hype is great and the promise of magical results are sexy and alluring. But when you step away from the hype and come back to reality, fasting is just a really hard way to cut calories.

And fasting is also a possible gateway to serious issues like an eating disorder AND this risk should NOT be dismissed or ignored.

Disordered eating is a very common issue in women with Type 2 Diabetes.

Is fasting just a socially acceptable eating disorder?

It sure seems like it...especially since the fasters promote the exact same tips and mind-over-will philosophies that are used on websites and forums that promote eating-disorder behavior, such as:

  • Drink lots of water, chew gum, occupy your mind, drink tea, drink black coffee, drink diet soda, push back breakfast as long as you can, and brush your teeth
  • Fasting in "private" is encouraged to avoid having to explain yourself to family and friends.
  • Not eating is the sign of true will power and success

    Since fasters are promoting the same behaviors as pro-eating disorder people, doesn't that seem like a warning sign about fasting?

Want to Stop Falling for Every Fad Diet and Come Back to Reality?

Making lifestyle changes can be overwhelming and it's easy to see "before and after photos" of people on the Internet and think "that's my solution".

It's also easy to desperately hope that the next diet fad will be your savior.

Hey, we're all human. If we could lose weight and get healthy again without learning how to eat healthy and getting daily exercise, who wouldn't do it? But the reality is that you don't get your health back by hopping in and out of the latest celebrity, Instagram or Facebook diet.

At Power In The Group, we've helped thousands of women with the same weight loss and blood sugar struggles you're dealing with.

And do you know which of those women got healthy again?

The ones who decided to stop spending money and time on stupid fad diets that made promises but didn't deliver in the end...

...the ones that decided to change their lifestyles in a way that was manageable and sustainable.

There is a wayyyy easier way than hopping around from fad diet to fad diet!

  • Learn how to eat and live healthy! 
  • And hang out with other women who are doing the same things and learning the same things as you!

Don't worry...none of this is hard and you don't have to learn everything overnight.

Join Other Women Like You in the Healthy U Group! 

In the Healthy U Group, we eat healthy food and get daily exercise and have a lot of fun on the way!

And we do all this without getting overwhelmed and without having to figure out this stuff alone.

You can learn more about the Healthy U Group here, or click the image below.

HUG features and benefits

Think Keto is Your Answer?

Think again, the Keto Diet is just another fad diet.

You can read more about the truths about the Keto diet here (it's not pretty...).


About the Author Joan Pasay

As a Nutrition & Lifestyle Therapist I felt compelled to start Power In The Group. Why? To guide and support women like you with Prediabetes or Insulin Resistance so you can regain and nourish your health...without all the confusion. Together we can enjoy the richest quality of life for ourselves, with our families, and within our society...wanna come along?

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