If you have type 2 diabetes and use insulin to control your sugar levels, a new study from Germany may change how long you need to wait before eating. In fact, you may not need to wait at all after taking your insulin.
Diabetes is the condition that results when your body is not able to process sugar correctly.
When you eat, your body converts food to sugar which is needed by the cells as a source of energy. Insulin acts like a key to open cells so they can draw insulin out of the blood.
When cells become resistant to the work of insulin or when the body does not produce enough insulin, type 2 diabetes can develop. When this happens sugar accumulates in the blood and cells are starved for energy.
Some people with type 2 diabetes need to supplement the insulin their bodies make by injecting extra insulin to keep their sugar levels in balance.
If you have type 2 diabetes and need extra insulin your doctor may have told you to wait 20 minutes or more after taking your insulin before eating. This time is believed to allow the insulin to work its way through the body so it can be more effective at moving sugar out of the blood.
But a new research study shows that waiting after using insulin does not significantly improve the drug’s effectiveness.
Researchers in Germany divided a study group of 100 people with type 2 diabetes into two groups.
The first group was monitored for four weeks while waiting 20 minutes between insulin use and eating. After four weeks, they switched to eating immediately after injecting insulin.
The second group did the reverse – they ate immediately for four weeks then waited 20 minutes for four weeks. The researchers used blood tests that measure average blood sugar levels over time to compare the two groups.
The test showed only a 0.08 percent difference between waiting to eat and eating immediately. The researchers called this difference “negligible”.
Another important consideration for the researchers was how well patients follow instructions when taking insulin. When waiting to eat is inconvenient, some are tempted to skip their insulin rather than wait.