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Fasting Basics

How to get started with fasting

Fasting....

Fasting....

...is the voluntary withholding of food for spiritual, health, or other reasons.

Food is easily available, but you choose not to eat it. This can be for any period of time, from a few hours up to a few days or – with medical supervision – even weeks on end.

It’s done by someone who is not underweight and thus has enough stored body fat to live off.

Intermittent fasting for weight loss

When we fast, Insulin levels fall, signaling the body to start burning stored energy as no more is coming through food. Blood glucose falls, so the body must now pull glucose out of storage to burn for energy.

In essence, intermittent fasting allows the body to use its stored energy.

Health benefits of intermittent fasting

Health benefits of intermittent fasting

  • Weight and body fat loss
  • Lowered blood insulin and sugar levels
  • Possibly reversal of type 2 diabetes
  • Possibly improved mental clarity and concentration
  • Possibly increased energy
  • Possibly increased growth hormone, at least in the short term
  • Possibly an improved blood cholesterol profile
  • Possibly a reduction in the risk of Alzheimer’s disease
  • Possibly longer life
  • Possibly activation of cellular cleansing by stimulating autophagy
  • Possibly reduction of inflammation

Time-Restricted Eating

Time-Restricted Eating

Time-restricted eating or intermittent fasting means restricting one’s eating to a specific period during a 24-hours day – or going without food for a fixed number of days.

There is a biological difference between fasting and time-restricted feeding. Fasting and eating establish different biological conditions in the body, so time-restricted feeding is the term used to describe the overall plan of restricting one's eating window as it's called to a particular phase of each 24-hour day, or in some cases two specific days within the week. 

Low-Carb & Low-Fat Diets Produce Similar Outcomes For Weight Loss

If one's main goal is simply to lose weight, then it really does not matter what one eats provided that the number of calories burned is higher than the number of calories ingested. 

A study from 2018 looked at weight loss in people following one particular diet versus another particular diet. The basic conclusion of the study was that there was no significant difference in weight change between people following a healthy, low-fat diet versus a healthy, low carbohydrate diet with significantly more dietary fats in them.

The Biology Of Burning Calories

The Biology Of Burning Calories

There are many factors that impact the calories burned part of the calories in, calories out equation.

  • Some of those are obvious: the amount of exercise, type of exercise, basal metabolic rate, and how much energy one burns just sitting there. 
  • Metabolic factors and hormones are also essential. Hormones, such as thyroid hormone and insulin, and growth hormone; testosterone, and estrogen levels will also profoundly influence the calories out, the calories burned component of the calories in, calories out equation.

What Intermittent fasting is

What Intermittent fasting is

Intermittent fasting is based on the idea that when you reduce your calorie intake for limited stretches of time, your body will use its stored fat for energy. Intermittent fasting has many health benefits, including losing weight.

There is no one way to do intermittent fasting. There is the 5:2 diet, which means eating very few calories for two days of the week, followed by five days of normal eating. Or the alternate-day fasting, which means eating normally for one day, then either nothing or just 500 calories the next.

Time-restricted eating

One intermittent fasting method is known as time-restricted eating: A person consumes all of their calories for the day within an 8-to-12-hour window. You might eat breakfast at 8 AM, including coffee, and finishing your dinner by 6 PM.

In an experiment, two sets of mice were fed the same diet and ate the same number of calories a day. One set had access to food for 24 hours, and the other group had access for only 8 hours. After 18 weeks, the group that could eat all hours showed signs of insulin resistance and had liver damage. The mice who ate in an 8-hour window did not have the condition and weighed 28 percent less than the other group.

Food at the right time

Food at the right time

Many of the human body’s processes are tied to our circadian rhythms.

Eating food at the right time can nurture us, and healthy food at the wrong time can be junk food because it gets stored as fat instead of being used as fuel.

Intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting

Fasting means abstinence of some or all food for a period of time.

Intermittent fasting ranges from eating a few calories all day every other day or several times a week to fasting for 16 hours or more every day.

A metabolic shift

It can take 10 to 12 hours to use up calories in the liver before your body changes over to use the stored fat.

After meals, glucose is used for energy, while fat is stored in fat tissue. During fasts, once glucose is depleted, stored fat is broken down and used for energy.

The easiest way to lose weight

The easiest way to lose weight

To lose weight, strive for sixteen calorie-free hours. Stop eating by 8 pm, and eat again at noon the next day. Results can take up to four weeks to notice.

Intermittent dieters should eat healthy foods, including whole grains and healthy fats and protein. They should limit saturated fats and avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates. Be sure to stay well-hydrated.

Fasting

Fasting

It involves eating no or very little food and caloric beverages for periods ranging from 12 hours to three weeks.

Human studies on fasting are only just beginning to ramp up. And while we have learned that fasting helps people lose weight, it’s only if you can stick with it.

Popular types of fasting

  • Intermittent fasts: eating no food or massively cutting back on calorie intake only intermittently;
  • Time-restricted feeding: involves consuming calories only for a 4- to 6-hour window each day.
  • Periodic fasts, the most extreme, typically last several days or longer.
  • Fasting-mimicking diet, a plant-based diet that involves eating very few calories for several days each month.

Religious fasting

Religious fasting

Many religious groups incorporate periods of fasting into their rituals, though the focus there tends to be more spiritual than health-oriented: Muslims fast from dawn until dusk during the month of Ramadan, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, and Hindus who traditionally fast on designated days of the week or calendar year.

Fasting improves insulin sensitivity

Fasting improves insulin sensitivity

When more food is available, the cells in the body become less sensitive to insulin. When the food supply is scarce, during fasting, the human body tries to conserve as much energy as possible and cell membranes more sensitive to insulin, metabolising it better. 

Insulin

Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that allows cells to extract glucose from the blood to use as energy. It helps keeps your blood sugar level from getting too high

Fasting reverses chronic conditions

Fasting reverses chronic conditions

... like obesity & type 2 diabetes, both of which are risk factors for cancer. Studies have shown that fasting two to three times per week lowers weight and improves insulin tolerance. 

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