You've Probably Already Heard of Intermittent Fasting. But Do You Know Which Method of Intermittent Fasting Works Best, and How You Choose Which Method Will Burn The Most Fat For You?
Intermittent fasting is a powerful approach to eating that helps you lose weight without feeling hunger, and at the same time help reduce your risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. If done correctly, intermittent fasting can also lead to better sleep and tons of energy.
Extensive research overwhelmingly supports the idea that ditching “three meals a day” in favor of intermittent fasting does wonders for your health. This type of scheduled eating was practiced by our ancestors, since they did not have the frequent access to food that we have now.
Your Body Was Built for Periodic Cycles of 'Feast and Famine'
Fasting, it turns out, has a number of health benefits that most people seek: from improved cardiovascular health and reduced cancer risk, to gene repair and longevity. What drives the disease process is the fact that we're eating too frequently. When you're in constant "feast mode," your body actually forgoes much of its natural "repair and rejuvenation programming."
Intermittent Fasting - an eating schedule where you feast on some days, and dramatically cut calories on others, effectively mimics the eating habits of our ancestors, who did not have access to grocery stores or food around the clock. They would cycle through periods of feast and famine, and modern research shows this cycling produces a number of biochemical benefits. In short, by altering what and when you eat, you can rather dramatically alter how your body operates. And that's great news.
FED vs. FASTING
Your body is designed to smoothly transition between two different and opposing states: ‘Fed’, and ‘Fasted’. In the fed state, insulin is elevated, and this signals your body to store excess calories in your fat cells. In the presence of insulin, the burning of fat is halted, while the body burns glucose (from your last meal) instead.
In the fasted state, insulin is low (while glucagon and growth hormone, opposing hormones to insulin, are elevated). The body starts mobilizing stored body fat from your fat cells and burning this fat for energy (instead of glucose). The practical importance of all this? You can only burn stored body fat while in the fasted state, and you can only store more body fat while in the fed state. Therein lies the magic of Intermittent Fasting.
Unfortunately, most people spend less time in the fasted state and more and more time in the fed state. As a result, our bodies and our cells spend less time mobilizing and burning stored body fat for energy, and the glucose-burning pathways are overused.
Eventually insulin is high all the time and the body avoids burning stored body fat. Over time this chronic exposure to so much insulin leads to ‘insulin resistance’ where the body secretes even more insulin in response to the fed state. Chronic insulin resistance can lead to Metabolic Syndrome which includes: obesity, abdominal fat storage, high triglycerides, low HDL or “good” cholesterol, and elevated glucose with eventual type 2 diabetes.
Someone with insulin resistance is rarely burning any body fat. They even have changes in the mitochondria, which are the tiny energy factories inside the cells.
Proven Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
- Helps promote insulin sensitivity – Optimal insulin sensitivity is crucial for your health, as insulin resistance or poor insulin sensitivity contributes to nearly all chronic diseases
- Normalizes ghrelin levels, also known as your “hunger hormone”
- Increases the rate of HGH production, which has an important role in health, fitness, and slowing the aging process
- Lowers triglyceride levels
- Helps suppress inflammation and fight free radical damage
- Promotes longevity
- Improves immune system
- Improves fatty liver
- Fights brain degeneration
- Normalizes blood pressure
- Rests internal organs
- Improves cellular regeneration and repair
- Improves allergies
In addition, exercising in a fasted state can help counteract muscle aging and wasting, and boost fat-burning.
What typically happens to the overweight person after a few hours without food is that as they run out of glucose from their last meal, instead of seamlessly transitioning to the fasted state and mobilizing and burning stored body fat, they become HUNGRY for more food. They will spend most of the day trapped in a cycle of eating every few hours, spiking glucose, and then becoming hungry when blood sugar drops.
Humans have the ability to become ‘fat-adapted’ and improve their ability to fuel themselves with stored body fat instead of glucose. However, this takes time and practice, and your body has to do a number of things to slowly increase your fat-burning pathways. This includes improving insulin sensitivity to lower insulin and promote fat mobilization into free fatty acids from the fat cells as well as up-regulating the fat-burning pathways at the cellular level.
The two best ways to improve your fat-burning ability are: Exercise and Intermittent Fasting. High-intensity exercise depletes glucose and glycogen rapidly, forcing the body to switch over and utilize more fat for fuel. Exercise also improves insulin sensitivity. Intermittent fasting, and spending more time in the fasted state, gives the body more ‘practice’ at burning fat.
Intermittent Fasting Requires No Calorie Counting or Deprivation
Intermittent Fasting Helps Reset Your Body To Burn More Fat And Dramatically Reduce Your Risk Of Chronic Disease
- Normalizing your insulin and leptin sensitivity, and boosting mitochondrial energy efficiency: One of the primary mechanisms that makes intermittent fasting so beneficial for health is related to its impact on your insulin sensitivity.
- Normalizing ghrelin levels, also known as "the hunger hormone"
- Promoting human growth hormone (HGH) production: Research has shown fasting can raise HGH by as much as 1,300 percent in women, and 2,000 percent in men, which plays an important part in health, fitness, and slowing the aging process. HGH is also a fat-burning hormone, which helps explain why fasting is so effective for weight loss.
- Lowering triglyceride levels and improving other biomarkers of disease
- Reducing oxidative stress: Fasting decreases the accumulation of oxidative radicals in the cell, and thereby prevents oxidative damage to cellular proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids associated with aging and disease.