Have you heard of intermittent fasting (IF)? It’s been gaining traction in the health and wellness space over the last couple of years — yet has been used much longer — and has become a popular lifestyle choice for those looking for consistent weight loss support. There are numerous ways to implement intermittent fasting, and the benefits are more than just weight loss — in addition, it helps to stabilize blood sugar levels, provides a healthy inflammation balance, modulates immune health, and supports heart health. If you’re one to experiment with different diets and healthy living habits, intermittent fasting will pique your interest.
What is intermittent fasting (IF)?
IF is a way to cycle and spread out the calories you consume, and is also referred to as cyclic fasting. Some refer to IF as a diet but, when it’s distilled down, it’s really just a pattern of eating — or an alternate way of eating. IF doesn’t require you to change what you’re eating, but rather when you’re eating, and there are various methods to establish this, including:
This is when you consume calories regularly five days a week, and in the remaining two days, aim towards calorie restriction between 500 to 600 calories per day.
This is fasting every other day. One day, you’ll eat regularly, and on fasting days, you can choose to eat a very small amount — 500 calories or less — or not at all.
This method relies on you picking a couple days a week and fasting in a 24-hour time frame. For example, fasting after dinner on night one until dinner the next day.
This approach entails eating only fruits and vegetables during the day, and then eating one large meal at night.
This approach requires you to fast 16 hours a day, and fast the remaining eight at night. For example, this looks like not eating anything after dinner one night followed by skipping breakfast the next morning.
If you’re looking for weight loss support, IF is a great strategy because it requires very little behavior change. It’s effective enough that you’ll see results and meaningful enough to make a difference.
Fed and fasted states in IF
To understand how IF works with supporting fat loss, you’ll need to understand fed and fasted states. When your body is in a fed state, it is actively digesting food and absorbing nutrients. The fed state begins as you consume food and completes its cycle in three to five hours. It is in the fed state that it is difficult for your body to burn fat because your insulin levels are peaked. After the fed time period, your body enters what is known as the post-absorptive state that spans eight to 12 hours after your last meal, and this is where you enter what is known as the fasted state. This state is optimal for supportive fat loss because insulin levels are at their lowest. In the fasted state, fat loss is widely accessible because the energy that it takes to digest and absorb has passed, and now it uses all its energy on fat. The fasted state doesn’t begin until 12 hours after your last consumed food, so our bodies rarely are in a fat burning state. IF works well for people because the body is now more consistently in a fasted state and has the ability to burn fat.
How your body can benefit from IF
IF is great for stimulating and promoting fat loss. IF is a popular diet choice because it’s relatively easy to implement for a beginner and doesn’t require tracking calories or measuring food. The biggest benefit from IF is that your body is in a fat-burning state, which allows it to use excess fat storage for fuel. Your body is a natural sugar burner — meaning it uses and prefers glucose as a source of energy — once it uses the glucose as fuel, it will convert whatever is remaining to glycogen for your liver and muscles. When a steady flow of glucose is decreased, your body will break down glycogen for fuel. As the glycogen is depleted, your body requires an additional source of energy, which is when your body can be converted to a fat burner to power your body.
IF can also modulate blood sugar balance in the body. When you consume carbohydrates they’re converted to sugar, and insulin is required to transport the glucose to be used as fuel. When blood sugar levels are elevated, insulin may not always work optimally, which can result in blood sugar spikes in the body. IF helps balance out blood sugar levels and modulate extreme fluctuations.
IF is also beneficial for modulating hunger. Fat cells produce a hormone, called leptin, that signals to your body when to stop eating. These levels increase when you’re hungry and decrease when you’re full. Because leptin is generated in fat cells, people with excess fat have higher levels of leptin moving throughout their bodies. If leptin levels become too high, it can turn off hunger signals, and overeating is much easier to accomplish. With steady IF, your body experiences fasting states regularly, and leptin levels are much lower in a fasting state. With lower leptin levels, there is less leptin resistance and less hunger, so it could potentially mean more weight loss.
If you’re experiencing blood sugar spikes, excess fat stores, or high cholesterol, consider IF. While diet and exercise are a part of the picture, supplementation can assist in your health and wellness goals. Try SUGARSolve 24/7 or CHOLESTSolve 24/7 for the added supportive power of herbs!