What is Intermittent Fasting?
First of all, intermittent fasting is not a diet. Rather, it is a dieting pattern. However, intermittent fasting is making a well thought out decision of fasting for a certain period of time and avoiding or skipping certain meals. Meaning, there is a specific time or a window let us say of a specific number of hours where you are allowed to eat, while there is a greater fasting window of more hours where you need to eat nothing.
So, you gonna basically skip meals and eat smaller portions. Now, by cutting down a meal, you gonna definitely reduce the average amount of calories you are consuming over the extent of a week (Even if you more than usual during your feeding window). You need to keep in mind that all the calories are not equal. For example, consuming calories from carbs have a different effect on the body than consuming calories from fats. Another important element that plays a huge role is the timing of the meals that you eat.
How does intermittent fasting work?
Whenever you eat a meal, your body needs time to process the meal and whatever it from it. Furthermore, your body has a tremendous amount of energy to burn, which used to fuel the body, instead of using fat. This acquires mainly when you consume carbs and sugar, as they are primary sources of glucose.
The body burns glucose first, before moving to burn more complex sources of energy. While your body is in the state of fasting, your body will not have enough energy from the meals you consumed. Therefore, your body will be forced to break down the stored fat to get the fuel it needs and the bodily functions going.
This is due to the hours of fasting, your body at that time has already burned all the glucose and glycogen obtained from the food that you have consumed while you were allowed to eat. So, your body has no other choice than to use the energy that has been stored in the form of fats.
Why Intermittent Fasting Method works so well?
Well, the body responds to the food we eat by making insulin.
when your body becomes sensitive to insulin, there is actually a more effective method of the energy used. This will help to improve both weight loss and muscle mass.
When you are fasting, your insulin sensitivity is at its pick.
Your body uses glycogen stored in the liver and muscles to fuel the body when you are asleep. Glucogen is consumed over the period of the night, that’s why you feel hungry when you wake up. The body needs food first thing in the morning to refill glycogen levels again. And that is why breakfast is important, by skipping it, you do not provide your body with glycogen thus increasing insulin sensitivity.
Therefore, when you eat, everything you eat will be used more efficiently, and that’s because the glycogen you consume is used to provide energy and build muscle mass. Thus, leaving very little for your body to save as fat.
Fasting versus Non-Fasting
Now, when this compared to non-fasting days, you will see the actual impact intermittent fasting has on your body.
When you are not fasting, the body insulin sensitivity is at normal levels. So, when you consume meals that are rich in sugar and carbs, your body’s glycogen will be at high levels, and there will be high levels of glucose in your bloodstream which is enough to keep the body energized. Thus, all the extra glycogen will be converted to fat and stored in different places in your body.
On the other hand, when you fast, the glycogen stores in the body dramatically go down, pushing the body to release the growth hormones in it. This, combined with increased insulin sensitivity and reduced levels of insulin production, will help losing fat and gain muscle mass.
Benefits of intermittent fasting
After years of research and studies, scientists have concluded the benefits of following an intermittent fasting plan.
It may seem that fasting for a long period will lower your energy levels, well it is the opposite. As discussed before, when you are fasting, your body switches its metabolic sequence from a glucose one to a fat-burning sequence. The low levels of glucose force the body into burning fats, which is a great source of energy. Also, it keeps you full and energized for a long period.
When you cut off junk food, you will start eating healthy food, and healthy foods are rich in vitamins and minerals that help in keeping your body in shape and to function properly. Which will make you immune to most diseases and have a stronger body.
The simplicities molecule for your body to break down is glucose, that is why it is used primary by the body as a source of energy. Now, when your body switches to fat-burning mode, the body will automatically be more efficient, as fat is more difficult to break. and to be efficient, the body regularly fixes damaged cells.
The damaged cells are responsible for the oxidization of genes and cells in the body. So, once the body fixes the damaged cells, oxidization declines.
When your body starts running off a ketone-based circle, there will be an increase in the creation of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor). BDNF is a class of protein that helps with neuron growth in the brain and helps protect the neurons from any kind of damage.
Mental Health Treatment
Due to the reduction of glucose in your body, the body switches to a fat-burning cycle, which will lead to the production of ketones in it. Now, ketones are high power energy sources that help to fuel the brain and prevent it from damages. Studies have shown that a ketone-based fuel is better for your mind than a regular based energy source.