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What Does Intermittent Fasting Do To Your Body

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How Can Intermittent Fasting Help You Lose Weight

How Intermittent Fasting Affects Your Body and Brain | The Human Body

Most people decide to try intermittent fasting to achieve their weight loss goal . Actually, intermittent fasting is an excellent way not only to lose weight effectively but also to get healthier. How does it work? Everything is really simple. You start consuming fewer calories when following a fasting diet plan, which reduces your overall daily calorie intake. This drastic change in your nutrition causes important changes in your body that lead to weight loss.

When you are in the fasting mode, your body starts using stored body fat for energy instead of sugars from food. This way intermittent fasting helps optimize the release of insulin. The study shows that due to hormonal changes, a short-term fasting can boost the metabolic rate by 3.614% . Lower insulin levels make stored body fat more accessible . Fasting leads to a decrease in insulin level that prevents extra fat storage and helps your body mobilize stored fat. So, keeping your insulin level low and steady is key to weight loss. This way, you can lose extra pounds in a healthy way.

Also Check: Is Intermittent Fasting Bad For You

You Might Lose Weight

Many health experts, including personal trainer Jillian Michaels, say that intermittent fasting actually isnt that great for weight loss. Thats because youre not necessarily eating less or cutting back on calories. There are just longer gaps in your day when youre not eating at all.

That said, many people do lose weight because they consume fewer calories during those restricted food hours.

Eating for only eight hours a day also makes it less likely that youre having a big meal right before bedtime. Our metabolism goes down when we sleep and we burn fewer calories. Nighttime eating has been linked to both obesity and diabetes.

Intermittent fasting really does keep you from doing some really bad things, which is to eat a big meal before you go to bed, said Dr. John Morton, a bariatric surgeon with Yale Medicine. Big meals before bed are probably the worst thing you can do when it comes to weight loss, he added.

Focus On Healthy Foods

Eating a healthy, balanced diet is crucial and you should aim to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Include plenty of fibre and whole grains in your diet and drink at least six to eight glasses of fluids a day. “On ‘unrestricted’ days try to eat normally with regular meals and a healthy balanced diet rather than eating vast quantities of junk food,” says Hall.

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Intermittent Fasting Enhances Muscle Gain

Also, intermittent fasting works for bodybuilding. Above all, peak fasting generally a 16/8 schedule is widely leveraged to improve muscle gain.

With this in mind, its vital to exercise during a fasted state to maximize the benefits.

Contrary to common belief, muscles do not atrophy at all with fasting.

As we have already heard, intermittent fasting increases the release of growth hormone.

Thus, during fasting, muscle and bone mass are protected from degeneration .

Accordingly, targeted intermittent fasting combined with appropriate exercise is a natural way to enhance muscle gain .

Safety And Side Effects

What Happens in your Body in the Fasting Month?

Hunger is the main side effect of intermittent fasting.

You may also feel weak and your brain may not perform as well as youre used to.

This may only be temporary, as it can take some time for your body to adapt to the new meal schedule.

If you have a medical condition, you should consult with your doctor before trying intermittent fasting.

This is particularly important if you:

  • Have diabetes.
  • Have a history of eating disorders.
  • Are a woman who is trying to conceive.
  • Are a woman with a history of amenorrhea.
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding.

All that being said, intermittent fasting has an outstanding safety profile. There is nothing dangerous about not eating for a while if youre healthy and well-nourished overall.


The most common side effect of intermittent fasting is hunger. People with certain medical conditions should not fast without consulting with a doctor first.

Here are answers to the most common questions about intermittent fasting.

Read Also: When To Check Fasting Blood Sugar

Intermittent Fasting: The Science Of Going Without

Many diet and exercise trends have origins in legitimate science, though the facts tend to get distorted by the time they achieve mainstream popularity. Benefits are exaggerated. Risks are downplayed. Science takes a back seat to marketing.

One neednt look any further than the emerging trend of intermittent fasting for a prime example. Advocates for taking periodic breaks from eating for up to 24 hours once or twice a week tout it as an effective and research-backed means of losing weight and improving health. That message has been reaching more and more ears of late.

Right now, we are at a really important juncture for fasting, says Brad Pilon, an expert on intermittent fasting and author of the book Eat Stop Eat. Its becoming extremely popular.

So popular, in fact, that it is quickly moving into fad territory, suggests Pilon. And when something becomes a fad intensely popular but only for a short period several problems typically ensue. For one, he says, many doctors and nutrition experts are prone to dismissing fads out of hand. So their patients and clients, while shielded from the ridiculous claims of overzealous dieting evangelists, may also lose out on the legitimate benefits of fasting done right. You know, the baby and bathwater thing.

Editors note: This is a follow-up to a previous news story at Intermittent fasting: the next big weight loss fad.

Canadian Medical Association

Dont Go To Bed Too Hungry

Relaxing into sleep might be more difficult if your stomach is grumbling. When youre hungry, your levels of cortisol a stress hormone rise, which can diminish your sleep quality.

Aim to schedule your last meal at least three hours before bed. This way, your digestion wont disturb your sleep, but you wont go to bed starving, either.

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It Puts The Body Into Ketosis

Ketosis is a metabolic state in which your body burns fat as a primary fuel.

When free fatty acids from body fat or food reach the liver, they are converted into ketones to provide energy for the body.

Since the body can only produce ketones from body fat during fasting, its the ultimate ketogenic diet.

Therefore, ketosis induced by intermittent fasting can burn fat reserves exceptionally fast .

Furthermore, ketosis helps regulate the appetite and stabilize blood sugar, supporting intermittent fasting, and weight loss.

Accordingly, ketones energy does not lead to a drop in blood sugar levels, such as after carbohydrate-rich meals. Because ketones can also cross the blood-brain barrier, they provide lasting clean mental energy .

You Could Get Super Hungry

This is What Intermittent Fasting LONG TERM Does to Your Body

A lot of people who fast experience hunger pangs, mainly when they start the program. Thats because our bodies are accustomed to using glucose a sugar that comes from the food we eat for fuel throughout the day. When its deprived of food , the body will essentially send signals saying, Hello, arent you forgetting something here?

Once your body gets into the groove of fasting, it will start burning stored body fat for energy rather than glucose. And as you spend more time in a fasted state, your body will get increasingly efficient at burning fat for energy.

In short, those hunger pangs should dissipate and your appetite will level out, Morton said. He added that fasters will ultimately have fewer cravings and hunger pangs the more consistently they fast.

In the meantime, that hungry feeling may drive some people to overeat. The natural tendency is when you havent eaten breakfast, you go, Since I didnt eat breakfast, Im going to eat more , Morton noted.

If the hunger pains are bad enough to interfere with your daily life, get something to eat. The idea is not to starve yourself.

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‘intermittent Fasting’ Diet Could Boost Your Health

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Dec. 26, 2019 — Here comes the new year, and with it hordes of folks looking for ways to fulfill resolutions to eat healthy.

Intermittent fasting is a legitimate option they might want to consider, claims a new review in the Dec. 26 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

“The state of the science on intermittent fasting has evolved to the point that it now can be considered as one approach, with exercise and healthy food, to improving and maintaining health as a lifestyle approach,” said senior author Mark Mattson, a neuroscientist with Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore.

There are two main ways to adopt intermittent fasting into your life, Mattson said:

  • Daily time-restricted feeding gives you a narrow window during which you can eat, usually 6 to 8 hours each day.
  • 5:2 intermittent fasting requires that people only eat one moderate-sized meal on two days each week.

When people are fasting, they are slowly burning through the glucose stored in their liver, Mattson explained. The liver holds about 700 calories of glucose.

“It takes 10 to 12 hours to use the liver’s energy stores,” Mattson said. “Then what happens is, fats are used for energy.”

This process is called “metabolic switching,” and the three-meals-a-day eating pattern favored by Americans doesn’t allow their bodies to run through their liver’s energy stores and make the switch to fat-burning, Mattson said.



New England Journal of Medicine


What Is Intermittent Fasting And Why Would You Do It

Intermittent fasting is not a diet, it’s a pattern of eating. It’s a way of scheduling your meals so that you get the most out of them. Intermittent fasting doesnt change what you eat, it changes when you eat.

Why is it worthwhile to change when youre eating?

Well, most notably, its a great way to get lean without going on a crazy diet or cutting your calories down to nothing. In fact, most of the time you’ll try to keep your calories the same when you start intermittent fasting. Additionally, intermittent fasting is a good way to keep muscle mass on while getting lean.

With all that said, the main reason people try intermittent fasting is to lose fat. We’ll talk about how intermittent fasting leads to fat loss in a moment.

Perhaps most importantly, intermittent fasting is one of the simplest strategies we have for taking bad weight off while keeping good weight on because it requires very little behavior change. This is a very good thing because it means intermittent fasting falls into the category of simple enough that you’ll actually do it, but meaningful enough that it will actually make a difference.

Recommended Reading: How Often Should I Weigh Myself With Intermittent Fasting

What Can I Eat While Intermittent Fasting

During the times when youre not eating, water and zero-calorie beverages such as black coffee and tea are permitted.

And during your eating periods, eating normally does not mean going crazy. Youre not likely to lose weight or get healthier if you pack your feeding times with high-calorie junk food, super-sized fried items and treats.

But what Williams likes about intermittent fasting is that it allows for a range of different foods to be eaten and enjoyed. We want people to be mindful and take pleasure in eating good, nutritious food, she says. She adds that eating with others and sharing the mealtime experience adds satisfaction and supports good health.

Williams, like most nutrition experts, regards the Mediterranean diet as a good blueprint of what to eat, whether youre trying intermittent fasting or not. You can hardly go wrong when you pick complex, unrefined carbohydrates such as whole grains, leafy greens, healthy fats and lean protein.

May Extend Your Lifespan Helping You Live Longer

What Intermittent Fasting Does To Your Body

One of the most exciting applications of intermittent fasting may be its ability to extend lifespan.

Studies in rodents have shown that intermittent fasting extends lifespan in a similar way as continuous calorie restriction .

Intermittent fasting has also been shown to increase the lifespans of fruit flies 30443-3.pdf” rel=”nofollow”> 43).

In some of these studies, the effects were quite dramatic. In an older study, rats that were fasted every other day lived 83% longer than rats who werent fasted .

In a 2017 study, mice that were fasted every other day saw their lifespans increase by around 13% .

Daily fasting was also shown to improve the overall health of male mice. It helped delay the onset of conditions such as fatty liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma, which are both common in aging mice 30512-6″ rel=”nofollow”> 46).

Although this is far from being determined in humans, intermittent fasting has become very popular among the anti-aging crowd.

Given the known benefits for metabolism and all sorts of health markers, it makes sense that intermittent fasting could help you live a longer and healthier life.


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Keeps Cells Healthy And Vibrant

When we fast we give our body time to rest and repair, tending to natural processes put in place to keep our cells healthy. Autophagy is an example of a process our body naturally undergoes to keep our cells healthy and in turn, keep us healthy!

Autophagy is the process our cells go through to remove waste and dysfunctional cells to help our body clean out damaged cells and regenerate new and healthier cells. Evidence suggests when we intermittent fast, we increase the frequency of this process, so our body works harder to remove any unwanted junk and dysfunctioning cells .

Increased autophagy may play a role in protecting us from several diseases including neurodegenerative diseases, cancer, inflammatory diseases, and cardiovascular diseases .

Intermittent fasting is a predetermined period where an individual purposely doesnt eat food. From a 12-hour fast to alternate day fasting, many kinds of intermittent fasting diets are becoming increasingly popular. Health professionals argue that intermittent fasting is not necessarily dangerous, but many also agree that intermittent fasting is not safe for everyone.

Intermittent Fasting: What Does It Mean

There are different types of Intermittent fasting. The 16:8 model, for example, can be integrated well into everyday life. In this case, the fasting is supposed to last 16 hours, and the remaining 8 hours are a window for eating. If you are an early riser, you can eat breakfast and lunch: in the late afternoon the eating cycle ends and you fast until morning. Late risers can shift this schedule to lunch and dinner instead. An alternative is the 5:2 model, which targets days of the week. You usually eat five days a week and fast completely on two days. Fasting, in this case, means abstaining from solid food. Drinking a lot of liquids is highly recommended during fasting time, but beverages should not contain energy-providing nutrients. Water and sugar-free herbal teas are the most recommended drinks.

Read Also: What To Eat To Lose Weight While Fasting

Figure Out What Works For You

As with any change in routine, it takes a few days to adjust to intermittent fasting. Allow yourself some flexibility as you figure out a schedule that works for you. Fasting for eight hours might be easier than 12, or you may prefer to lower your caloric intake a few days of the week. Be kind to yourself and do what works for you.

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Your Heart Health Could Improve


Intermittent fasting can help lower your blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides the type of fat in our blood thats associated with heart disease. That is, if you lose weight in the process.

As long as youre losing weight, youre going to improve all those things, Morton said.

Before you start an intermittent fasting program, health experts recommend meeting with a dietitian or physician. Theres a critical distinction between fasting and starving, and if you ignore that, you could wreck your organs and immune system.

The bottom line: pay attention to your body and eat in a way that works best for you.

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What To Expect With Intermittent Fasting

  • You will most likely notice your stomach is grumbling during fasting periods, primarily if you are used to constant grazing throughout the day.
  • Fasting may also lead to an increase in the stress hormone, cortisol, which may lead to even more food cravings.
  • Overeating and binge eating are two common side effects of intermittent fasting.
  • Intermittent fasting is sometimes associated with dehydration because when you do not eat, sometimes you forget to drink. For good health, it is essential to actively stay hydrated throughout the day by drinking, on average, three liters of water.
  • You will most likely feel tired because your body is running on less energy than usual, and since fasting can boost stress levels, it can also disrupt your sleep patterns. It is crucial to adopt a healthy, regular sleep pattern and stick to it so you can feel rested on an everyday basis.
  • The same biochemistry that regulates mood also regulates appetite with nutrient consumption affecting the activity of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. Fasting could play a role in anxiety and depression.
  • Deregulating your appetite may do the same to your mood and therefore you will most likely feel irritable on occasions when you are fasting.

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Also Check: What Not To Eat While Intermittent Fasting

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