Your body burns the food you eat to provide the necessary fuel. Any extra food that does not get used up as the fuel is converted into fats and is stored within the body for future use. After 6 hours of fasting, your blood glucose levels start to decrease. The liver then starts breaking down glycogen into glucose to be used as energy. After 24 hours of continuous fasting, you’ve used most of your glycogen stores.
Once glycogen is depleted, your body starts breaking down the protein within muscles and fat to produce energy. This allows the body to use fat as its primary source of energy instead of sugar which helps in weight loss and increases insulin sensitivity. Intermittent Fasting involves alternating cycles of fasting and eating.
You eat very little one day, but you can eat normally the day after. Some people fast for 16 hours a day and consume all of their calories during the remaining 8 hours. Intermittent fasting can help you lose weight more quickly and make it psychologically easier to stick to the diet.
Animal studies suggest that intermittent fasting may help animals live longer. One study found that short-term repeated fasting increased the lifespan of female mice. Fasting improves brain function by boosting the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). This BDNF protein activates brain stem cells to convert them into new neurons. It also triggers numerous other chemicals that promote neural health.
Intermittent Fasting Health Benefits
Intermittent fasting also improves the immune system when you fast, you reduce the free radical damage in your body. Fasting regulates inflammatory conditions int the body and starves off cancer cell formation. While Intermittent Fasting may help you lose weight it could negatively affect your body on the biological level. Intermittent fasting may be less beneficial for women than men.
Three Methods of Intermittent Fasting
- Alternate-day fasting
involves alternating between a 24-hour “fast day” when the person eats less than 25% of usual energy needs, followed by a 24-hour non-fasting “feast day” period. It is the strictest form of intermittent fasting because there are more days of fasting per week.
- Periodic fasting or whole-day fasting
involves any period of consecutive fasting of more than 24 hours, such as the 5:2 diet where there are one or two fast days per week, to the more extreme version with several days or weeks of fasting.
- Time-restricted feeding
involves eating only during a certain number of hours each day. Skipping a meal and the 16:8 diet (16 fasting hours cycled by 8 non-fasting hours) are examples.
Studies on animals suggest that it could negatively affect female fertility. Intermittent Fasting could actually lower glucose tolerance and potentially crash women’s metabolism for someone with emotional or psychological eating disorders intermittent Fasting could amplify these issues. Skipping meals also elevates the levels of the stress hormone cortisol even small increases in cortisol can raise blood sugar resulting in the undesired effect of storing fat and breaking down muscles.
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