What is it?
Intermittent Fasting has been a trend on and off in the past but is currently experiencing some new popularity. It is claimed to cause weight loss, improve metabolic health and might even extend your lifespan, but what is it and how does it work?
The name is pretty straight forward; you alternate between stages of eating and fasting. So you are technically already doing it, you just need to control it more. During your day you have periods of eating and fasting. Your eating periods usually consist of breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as snack breaks in between. If you start reducing the time during which you eat to around six to eight hours and fast the other 16 to18 hours you are doing Intermittent Fasting.
How do you lose weight doing this?
To put it plain and simple: while fasting we allow our body to use stored energy by burning fat. The key hormone here is Insulin, it rises when we eat helping to store the excess energy in two separate ways. Carbohydrates are broken down into individual glucose (sugar) units, which canbe linked into long chains to form glycogen, which is then stored in the liver or muscle. Once the limited storage space is full, the liver starts turning the excess glucose into fat (de-novo lipogenesis).
This process can be reversed by not eating or fasting.
The body only ever is in two states: the fed state and the fasted state. This also means that we are either storing food energy or we are burning food energy. If both are balanced, then we do not see any change in weight.
If you are eating every third hour, as is often recommended, then your body will constantly use the incoming food energy. It may not need to burn much bodyfat, if any. You may just be storing fat. Your body may be saving it for a time when there is nothing to eat.
Biggest benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Apart from weight loss and body fat loss you can also experience an increase in fat burning and lowered blood insulin and sugar levels.
There is not sufficient research done on this diet, but Intermittent Fasting can possibly reverse type 2 diabetes, improve mental clarity and concentration and reduce inflammation.
The most common method of fasting is 16:8, meaning eating in an eight-hour time frame and fasting the rest of the day. For example, you have your first meal at noon and your last at 8pm. During this time, you can eat two or three meals.
This method can be done daily and does not need any special attention. If you switch to extremer fasting methods like a 20:4 fasting to eating ratio you should take days off. You can also do “alternate day fasting” and fast everyother day in a week or eat only a few hundred calories on those days. In case this sounds more appealing to you, you should consult a doctor and check your physical health since this can be stressful for your body.
You should avoid fasting if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, underweight (check your BMI) or under 18 years old.
If you are taking prescription medication, have diabetes mellitus type 1 or 2or any serious medical condition please also consult a doctor before starting the diet.
Can you exercise during fasting?
The short answer is: Yes, you can! People think that food gives them energy and therefore it will be difficult to fast and exercise atthe same time. Some people with physically demanding jobs feel that they could not fast and work properly. What is the truth?
Think logically about what happens when we eat. Insulin goes up telling your body to use some of that food energy immediately. The remainder is stored assugar (glycogen in the liver). Once the glycogen stores are full, then the liver manufactures fat (DeNovo Lipogenesis). Dietary protein is broken down into component amino acids. Some is used to repair proteins, but excess aminoacids are turned to glucose. Dietary fat is absorbed directly by the intestines. It does not undergo any further transformation and is stored as fat.
Insulin’s main action is to inhibit lipolysis. This means that it blocks fatburning. The incoming flood of glucose from food is sent to the rest of the body to be used as energy.
Break your fast gently. The longer the fast, the gentler you might have to be.
Eating too large a meal after fasting can give you a stomachache.
To keep your commitment to fasting you might find it helpful to drink more water and to stay busy. Try to follow a low-carb diet between fasting periods. This reduces hunger and makes Intermittent Fasting easier. It may also increase the effect on weight loss and type 2 diabetes reversal.
Let us know if you want to use our meal plan to practice Intermittent Fasting! We can certainly help you out!