How Does Intermittent Fasting works
Intermittent fasting has been around for thousands of years already and it has been used by different groups of people around the world for different reasons – religious or health-related ones.
There are many benefits associated with intermittent fasting, which have been extensively studied in human beings. The majority of studies have found that intermittent fasting is effective for weight loss, improved insulin sensitivity, improved cognitive function, increased life span, and overall well-being.
Intermittent fasting has been trending for years now. It can help you get in shape, fight diseases, etc. But it might be hard to start an intermittent fasting diet plan without knowing what to do.
Don’t worry! We have an easy guide for you to get started with the intermittent fasting diet plan. We will tell you what is intermittent fasting and how it works and also list some of the benefits of this diet so that you can decide if it is something worth trying or not.
This article will provide a thorough overview of what intermittent fasting is and why it has become so popular as well as the different kinds of intermittent fasting diets that are available today.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
The intermittent fasting diet is a diet that cycles between periods of fasting and fed periods.
It is a dieting technique where people go for extended periods of time without food.
How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?
As we fast, our bodies switch from using food to stored energy in the form of fat. The body can get energy from only two sources:
1. Glucose which is a type of carbohydrate
Although protein is a micro-nutrient, it is not primarily used for fuel. It is mostly used for functional tissues like muscle, bones.
We store energy or calories also in two different ways
We store glucose in our liver in the form of glycogen
What is glycogen?
The body takes the individual molecules of glucose and strings them all together in a long chain. The body puts these in the liver. It is called glycogen.
If we have more energy than we need, our body stores excess energy as fat in the body.
When we are eating our body uses the glucose from the food that we are eating. But when we are not eating we still need a source of energy. That energy comes from our body stores.
How does Insulin work ?
Insulin is the primary toggle switch in this case. When insulin is high, our body draws energy from the food. When insulin is low our body draws out some of the calories stored in the body.
This is an entirely normal process that happens every day. We store calories when we eat and When we are not eating we use some of the calories that are stored in the body.
When we extend that fasting period we are using the body’s own storage of energy for longer and longer periods.
What happens when we fast for longer times?
Initially for the first few hours after eating our body still pull out the energy from the food.
After the initial few hours, we start to use some of the energy that is already stored in our bodies.
The first thing that our body use after food is the glycogen in the liver. Glycogen is broken back down to the molecules of glucose. These are sent back to the blood and become the main source of energy for our body.
It will take around 24 hours to finish the glycogen (if it’s full) in our liver.
When the glycogen starts to run out a process starts that is called gluconeogenesis. This process happens somewhere between 16 to 28 hours.
What is gluconeogenesis?
Gluconeogenesis is a process where the body uses protein to pull out essential energy. After that, the fat-burning starts to ramp up and you start to use your body fat for the energy
Is gluconeogenesis bad for your health?
No gluconeogenesis is not bad for health. Most overweight people have excess protein in their bodies. Remember glucogenesis is not muscle loss.
What is counter-regulatory hormones?
During fasting, insulin, which is a hormone goes down. But other hormones like growth hormone which is responsible for growth, goes up.
These hormones which are more available during fasting are called counter-regulatory hormones.
When you are fasting for a longer period of time the amount of growth hormone that goes into your bloodstream surges.
After 24 hours of fasting, the amount of growth hormone in your blood is more than 3 times the normal situation. Even after 5 days of fasting growth hormone increases drastically.
This growth hormone will help you to rebuild the necessary protein that the body used in gluconeogenesis when you start to eat again.
Another hormone that goes up during fasting is Epinephrine which is also called Adrenalin. So when you are fasting your body is not shutting down, on the contrary, it is boosting up. Its the Adrenalin rush that makes you more energetic during fasting
What is Increased sympathetic nervous system?
The sympathetic nervous system is also called the fight or flight response. If you face a danger the sympathetic nervous system comes to rescue. Your heart starts to pump fast. It helps you by giving a surge of energy to fight back.
This is also another way for the body to increase energy when you are fasting
Another very interesting thing happens when we fast for a prolong period. That is Autophagy
What is Autophagy?
Autophagy is a natural process in the body where cells break down and recycle their own components. It was originally was coined “autophagy” by Christian de Duve, a Nobel laureate.
Yoshinori Ohsumi Got Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2016 “for his discoveries of mechanisms for autophagy.” after which it came to limelight.
This process usually occurs when there is not enough food to supply for all of our body’s needs and does happen when we fast or during starvation.
The importance of autophagy in the body is to remove old and toxic proteins from cells so that they can function properly. This procedure can also protect us from cancerous cell growth because it destroys damaged cells before they spread too much.
So you can see Intermittent Fasting can work In a multiple way to make sure that your body works in its full potential.
According to Dr. Jason Fung
“Fasting is the transition between How you use your fuel are you using it from the food? or are you using from the food that you ate in the past “
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is mostly used for weight loss. It gives very fast results compared to other diets or methods. Recent studies reveal that intermittent fasting has more health benefits. Some of them are
-Improves heart health.
-Improves brain function.
-Reduces the risk of diabetes.
-Reduces the risk of cancer.
For many people, fasting is an old-fashioned dietary practice that has taken on new popularity in recent years. The idea is to go for a set period without food, often while drinking only water or calorie-free beverages.
The benefits of intermittent fasting are both physical and mental. It can improve your health and mood. It can also lead to weight loss. But there are also some cons; it could be difficult for people with diabetes or heart conditions, especially if they need insulin or other medications which should not be stopped during the fasting period.
If you have any of these problems mentioned above please Talk to your doctor before starting Intermittent Fasting.
Many people like intermittent fasting because it can improve their health and mood, while others don’t like it because it’s difficult for those with diabetes or heart conditions, who may need insulin or other medications which should not be stopped during the fasting period.
Please also read keto vs intermittent fasting