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Intermittent Fasting, Thirst, and Diabetes

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created October 28, 2011 at 10:56 AM

I've been on an intermittent fasting diet with a 40c/40p/20f macronutrient split for a month now. I'm eating 2500 calories in one big meal every night. My diet is clean, consisting of mainly low-GI foods. I am not overweight, with a BMI of 20. I workout 3 times a week, but other than that, I live a very sedentary lifestyle.

I've recently developed an unquenchable thirst. No matter how much water I drink, the thirst won't go away. I urinate a lot and it is mostly clear urine. Constant thirst and urination is a symptom of diabetes. Diabetes also runs in my family, so I might be at risk.

I've tested my blood sugar level after a 12 hour fast. My blood sugar level was 106 mg/dL. I've read that a fasted blood sugar level in the range of 100-125mg/dL is a sign of pre-diabetes.

I really enjoy IF because it is very convenient and fits my lifestyle well. However, I'm worried that the large meals I'm having are taxing my body and might cause me to develop diabetes.

Is there any truth to the idea that having single large meals everyday could trigger diabetes? What can I do to overcome the excessive thirst?

Updated Information:

Here is a typical meal I would have:

  • 1 cup of pearled oats with 2 cups of full fat milk
  • 3 scoops of protein whey with 18 oz of full fat milk
  • 4-6 oz of lean protein (beef, fish, chicken)
  • Extra source of carbs (1/2 cup of white rice usually)
  • 2-3 pieces of fruit (pears, tangerines, bananas)
  • 3 fried eggs w/ olive oil (if protein/fat targets not met)
  • Opti-Men multivitamin

The pearled oats and white rice are higher GI than I'm used to. I would usually have legumes such as chickpeas in the past. I have only chosen oats and rice out of convenience and haven't considered the slightly higher GI an issue. In retrospect, maybe I should go back to legumes as my main source of carbs to see if it solves the excessive thirst.

I want to include as much information as possible, so I have to mention that I've been under a lot of work related stress lately, but this will not last for long. I do sometimes show signs of stress such as rapid heartbeat however.

It is very difficult for me to narrow down the issue; this could be diabetes, stress, or carb-related. I am hoping for input that will nudge me in the right direction.

Blood Sugar Readings Update

Readings were taken every 30 minutes for 3 hours after the big meal.

EDIT: I believe these results are inaccurate due to bad configuration on the glucose meter. I will double-check and share the results.

  • 30 minutes - 186 mg/dL
  • 60 minutes - 184 mg/dL
  • 90 minutes - 160 mg/dL
  • 120 minutes - 139 mg/dL
  • 150 minutes - 142 mg/dL
  • 180 minutes - 138 mg/dL

Can anyone knowledgeable in diabetes interpret these readings?

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11478)

on October 29, 2011
at 01:21 PM

@Abdulla, your post-prandial glucose results are borderline (~180 at 1 hour and ~140 at 2 hours and >2 hours). You probably need to consult a physician for further testing.

728c37c668c225a88ae3efef1e837430

(35)

on October 29, 2011
at 04:10 AM

I've updated the question with the blood sugar readings you asked for.

728c37c668c225a88ae3efef1e837430

(35)

on October 28, 2011
at 04:45 PM

I'm taking a multivitamin, could that be a possible cause? I guess I'll have to do some experimenting before I can find out what's behind the excessive thirst. I'll post blood sugar levels after eating the big meal in a couple of hours.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on October 28, 2011
at 02:25 PM

if I had to take a guess its either the fasting or electrolyte balance. People are so gung ho on fasting and convinced its so safe based on a couple studies but we really have no idea of the possible consequences on a wide scale level. Nothing wrong with the occasional fast but everyday might be taking it a little far.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on October 28, 2011
at 02:23 PM

What about firestorms flip answer that it has to be the carbs withou t knowing one food the OP eats? Give me a break...

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on October 28, 2011
at 02:22 PM

yes I do know it. Sorry dave.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on October 28, 2011
at 01:41 PM

@cliff - You don't know that. You couldn't possibly know that. I couldn't either. But your flip answer without really knowing anything about the OP is the sort of thing that drives me REALLY crazy!

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on October 28, 2011
at 01:37 PM

Check your blood sugar at 30/60/90/120 minutes after you eat that big meal and report the results back here.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on October 28, 2011
at 01:07 PM

We need more info, what do you typically eat? Do you eat salt?

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on October 28, 2011
at 01:05 PM

We need more info, what do you typically eat? When do you IF? Do you eat salt?

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on October 28, 2011
at 01:04 PM

Carbs aren't doing this....

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9 Answers

6
6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11478)

on October 28, 2011
at 02:09 PM

Fasting stresses your body, which can cause stress hormone (cortisol, adrenalin) release. This can raise your fasting blood sugar. Get your hemoglobin A1C checked to see if your blood sugar is truly problematic, or merely a stress response. I agree with Beth that fasting is unlikely to cause diabetes.

When you fast 23 hours per day, every day, it's regular, or scheduled fasting (see this thread). You can experiment with randomizing and/or shortening your fasts to see if that affects your fasting blood sugar.

Excessive thirst can be a symptom of diabetes mellitus or diabetes insipidus, or you may just have habitual polydipsia.

You can test your urine for sugar with urine glucose dipsticks. If it's negative, then your thirst and urination are probably not due to diabetes mellitus.

Diabetes insipidus is an inability to concentrate the urine. If you can sleep all night without drinking, you probably don't have diabetes insipidus. You can also test your urine for specific gravity (SG). Test your urine first thing in the morning, without drinking all night. If the specific gravity is 1.010 or greater, then you probably do not have diabetes insipidus.

Habitual polydipsia can occur at any age, but it's more common in children than adults. The treatment is to gradually reduce your fluid intake.

Excessive thirst can also be caused by electrolyte imbalances in the blood, such as high calcium or low potassium. So you may need to get blood testing and consult a physician if you can't resolve the issue on your own.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on October 28, 2011
at 02:25 PM

if I had to take a guess its either the fasting or electrolyte balance. People are so gung ho on fasting and convinced its so safe based on a couple studies but we really have no idea of the possible consequences on a wide scale level. Nothing wrong with the occasional fast but everyday might be taking it a little far.

1
B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on December 11, 2012
at 05:44 AM

This is dumb. Instead of masking the symptoms, why don't you get to the Doctor and get a proper diagnosis.

1
7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on October 28, 2011
at 01:18 PM

Hmm. Off hand, I can't think of a mechanism where your version of IF would lead to diabetes. And in fact, here's a small study showing that alternate day IF actually improves glucose metabolism in healthy folks. But I'll defer to the hard-core folks on this one.

If it were me, I might experiment with splitting the meals into two and I'd probably go lower carb on the days you aren't exercising. But that kind of thirst is a pretty strong symptom, and I agree with Firestorm re screening.

0
383127951e2e17f23b584cd3842bb796

(835)

on December 11, 2012
at 05:54 AM

oats aren't paleo

0
Fa666905e4ed72858084dbcfed164daf

on December 11, 2012
at 05:05 AM

Elevated cortisol like in Cushing's syndrome can mimic diabetes. Cortisol is fine and you'd not want to be without it, but it is a stress hormone. A glucocorticoid. I believe that it calls on the liver to raise your blood sugar when it is low. So, perhaps if you are finding that your glucose is high after eating nothing, then it could mean that your liver is pumping out sugar to keep your brain alive. If you are activating your adrenals like that you could be depleting your salt stores since, I think, they like to use salts. This could be leading to dehydration.

Consider upping your salt intake considerably. Look into sodium deficiency. It can cause insulin insensitivity, heartbeat abnormalities, excessive thirst, etc. Drinking lots of plain water will simply continue to dilute your already sodium depleted intracellular fluid causing you too pee way too much and increasing sodium deficiency symptoms.

Also, you could ditch the whole fasting thing. If you are wedded to not taking in insulin spiking foods for most of the day, consider taking a few tbs of coconut oil. The mcts won't do anything to insulin and are used rapidly as a source of energy similar to carbs. Sprinkle some salt on it too.

notadocotor #strangerontheinternet

0
84ad803d971e30bf7bdb3a0e280a2343

on December 11, 2012
at 03:46 AM

When you eat normally, aka - not fasting - 3-6 meals per day, you are consuming a lot more water through your fruit and vegetable intake as well as any other liquids and meats, etc you would normally consume. When you fast, you aren't consuming nearly the amount of water through the food you are eating. I am fasting right now and I am going on about 5 weeks. I will eat one major meal at night but I feel quite thirsty all the time especially if I exercise as well.

I don't believe that my extreme thirst will result in diabetes.

0
13c5a9f1678d75b93f269cdcf69f14d5

(2339)

on October 29, 2011
at 02:08 AM

a food intolerance is another possibility. that includes the multivitamin.

0
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 28, 2011
at 05:53 PM

At 12 hours doesn't it make sense that your blood glucose would still be high? As long as you don't eat anything that raises it till the next meal it will reduce. Why not test it at 17-18 hours. Only have some low glycemic berries while you wait till your next meal. I do the Warrior Diet which is also only one meal a day and no way am I gonna get diabetes. That you believe this is just a knee jerk reaction because you know you've broken away from the system and secretly feel bad. Or, you have listened to a well-meaning friend or "expert" who has spooked you out in some way. Use your common sense! However do also cut out the white rice. Get your genotype from Peter D'Adamo and refine your meal.

0
Ca1150430b1904659742ce2cad621c7d

(12540)

on October 28, 2011
at 12:53 PM

I would consider whether the high carbohydrate ratio might also be contributing. try swapping the ratios of fat and carb and see what that does for your numbers and the symptoms. 20c/40p/40f. If this continues, you should definitely get somre screening done.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on October 28, 2011
at 01:04 PM

Carbs aren't doing this....

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on October 28, 2011
at 02:22 PM

yes I do know it. Sorry dave.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on October 28, 2011
at 02:23 PM

What about firestorms flip answer that it has to be the carbs withou t knowing one food the OP eats? Give me a break...

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on October 28, 2011
at 01:41 PM

@cliff - You don't know that. You couldn't possibly know that. I couldn't either. But your flip answer without really knowing anything about the OP is the sort of thing that drives me REALLY crazy!

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