If you know me, then you know I love to do mini self experiments to try to optimise my health. Something I’ve been testing out for the past few months is time restricted feeding, sometimes called intermittent fasting (TRF/IF). I’ve found it helpful to control my blood sugar but please don’t take this as medical advice and be sure to check with your doctor before trying it out yourself.
As a T1 diabetic, as I’m sure many of you can relate, in order to maintain normal blood sugars, timing of certain things can make a huge impact, whether we are injecting insulin, eating or doing something active. A few months ago, I was speaking with a T2 diabetic and he mentioned to me that he was able to get his A1C down by making sure his last meal of the day was early in the evening. I was pretty ignorant at the time and thought, this guy doesn’t really understand T1! The idea got stuck in my head though and I started to consider that maybe if I finish eating earlier, the active insulin and carbs could be out of my system before bedtime. Perhaps if those variables were not affecting my BG, my pump would be able to do it’s thing and keep me in range at night without waking me up to correct a high/low BG. At the time, I was pretty sleep deprived and was willing to try anything to get a better night’s sleep so I gave it a shot and for me it has worked splendidly!
For a little background:
- I’m on a Medtronic 607G pump and use Humalog insulin in it. Humalog is fast acting which means it begins working 15 minutes after injection, peaks around 1-3 hours and lasts 4-6 hours.
- Carbs, depending on the glycemic index (GI), and the amount of Fat/Protein/Fiber eaten with them, usually seem to hit my system and stop impacting my BS around the same time a bolus of insulin does.
- Personally I try to wait 20-30 minutes after injecting prior to eating carbs, if possible. Especially if they are high on the glycemic index.
- Protein doesn’t seem to hit my blood sugar until around 3-4 hours after a meal. I can personally see the effect of a lot of protein with a spike in blood sugar, as my is insulin wearing off.
- Fat doesn’t seem to have much impact on my blood sugar on it’s own. Fat will, however “slow down” the absorption of both carbs and/or protein when eaten together. Meaning if I have a fatty meal, it will take longer for the carbs and protein to have an effect on my BG and when they hit, the effect will last longer.
All of this to say that, for me, if I’m done eating my meals by 2:00 pm or so each day, all active insulin and food is no longer having an effect by the time I want to go to bed at 9:00 pm (7 hours later). This also allows some wiggle room with correcting a high or low BG if I’ve made a mistake with my dosing.*
With all of those variables out of my system, I stick my pump in auto mode and let the basal (aka micro boluses) keep me in range. If your basal rate is dialed in, you would likely see something similar even if you’re not using a closed loop system. I make sure to calibrate my CGM immediately before bed and most nights this allows me to get a full eight hours of uninterrupted sleep most nights (no pump alarms!!)! I should mention that TRF doesn’t mean starving yourself. I eat the same number of calories that I used to when I was eating three meals per day, I just do it in a shorter period of time (typically from 6:00 am to 2:00 pm). This strategy in coordination with a law of small numbers approach really helped me dial in my BG control and health!
In addition to my own observation of improved BG control, many studies have shown that TRF/IF can increase insulin sensitivity**. Now that certainly won’t cure a Type 1 Diabetic since we don’t make any insulin of our own but becoming more sensitive to it can help us use less insulin. I don’t know about anyone else but I certainly appreciate fewer trips to the pharmacy. Studies have also shown that TRF/IF may increase longevity as well. There are a ton of resources on this since this strategy has been gaining popularity recently but I’ve listed a couple below to get you started.
Have any of you experimented with time restricted feeding? Share your experience in the comments below!
Dr. Rhonda Patrick’s Blog, Found My Fitness post on Time-restricted eating
From Science Daily:
*This means that if my blood sugar starts to go low, I correct with emergency food regardless of the time of day it is or when my “feeding window” is! Low blood sugar is an emergency and should be addressed immediately regardless of what you’re experimenting with.
**Do you know what else can increase insulin sensitivity? Exercise!! 🙂 Stay healthy friends!
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The content on this site is not intended to be medical advice. Always consult your doctor before beginning a fitness regimen or adjusting your diabetes management strategy.