I believe intermittent fasting is one of the most powerful interventions out there if you’re struggling with your weight and related health issues. One of the primary reasons for this is because it helps shift your body from burning sugar/carbs to burning fat as its primary fuel.
via Dr. Mercola
Breaking Down Fat
When you are not eating, your body is not absorbing food. If your body is not absorbing food, there is little insulin in the blood. However, your body is always using energy; and if you’re not absorbing food, this energy must come from internal stores of complex carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Under these conditions, various organs in your body secrete hormones:
- pancreas – glucagon
- pituitary gland – growth hormone
- pituitary gland – ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone)
- adrenal gland – epinephrine (adrenaline)
- thyroid gland – thyroid hormone
These hormones act on cells of the liver, muscle and fat tissue, and have the opposite effects of insulin.
When you are not eating, or you are exercising, your body must draw on its internal energy stores. Your body’s prime source of energy is glucose. In fact, some cells in your body, such as brain cells, can get energy only from glucose.
The first line of defense in maintaining energy is to break down carbohydrates, or glycogen, into simple glucose molecules — this process is called glycogenolysis. Next, your body breaks down fats into glycerol and fatty acids in the process of lipolysis. The fatty acids can then be broken down directly to get energy, or can be used to make glucose through a multi-step process called gluconeogenesis. In gluconeogenesis, amino acids can also be used to make glucose.
In the fat cell, other types of lipases work to break down fats into fatty acids and glycerol. These lipases are activated by various hormones, such as glucagon, epinephrine and growth hormone. The resulting glycerol and fatty acids are released into the blood, and travel to the liver through the bloodstream. Once in the liver, the glycerol and fatty acids can be either further broken down or used to make glucose
Human growth hormone (HGH) plays a vital role in staying young, long after you’ve finished growing. HGH is a product of the pituitary gland, the master gland of the body. As the name implies, it promotes linear growth in children and adolescents. After the body stops growing taller, levels of HGH decline and often become very low in adult life.
Growth hormone helps burn fat, build muscle and fasting triggers the “growth hormone response”, which prevents you from losing muscle while you fast. Since your muscle is largely responsible for your metabolism, growth hormone also plays a large part
in keeping your metabolism elevated while you are fasting.
Naturally Increased Growth Hormone
) When you sleep
2) When you are in a fasted state
Natural HGH Booster #3: A Sleep Mask
You release the most growth hormone while you sleep. Use a sleep mask to block out light, allowing melatonin, the sleep hormone, to surge, and get a deeper, more restorative sleep.
Scientific studies show fasting and intermittent fasting promote weight loss and burn belly fat, but have other important anti-aging health benefits, such as protecting the brain from degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, the Huffington Post reported.
Researchers say fasting and intermittent fasting keeps the brain from shrinking and protects it from stress. Fasting as little as eight days a year could have significant health benefits, even for older people and cancer patients.
Research conducted at the USC Davis School of Gerontology indicates that fasting for two to four days at a time can regenerate your entire immune system — especially for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
“When you starve, the system tries to save energy, and one of the things it does is recycle a lot of the immune cells that are not needed, especially those that may be damaged,” said study author Dr. Valter Longo, a professor of gerontology.
Longo said fasting can be especially beneficial for older people (whose immune systems become damaged with age) and for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. “If you start with a system heavily damaged by chemotherapy or aging, fasting cycles can generate, literally, a new immune system,” he said.
Boosts Human Growth Hormone 2,000%
Previous research from the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Utah indicates periodic fasting dramatically increases human growth hormone. In a recent study, men who fasted for 24 hours experienced a 2,000% spike in HGH, while women saw a 1,300% increase. Studies show fasting stabilizes blood sugar and improves cholesterol.
Fasting for an entire day or two at a time can be difficult for most people, but you can reap the anti-aging and weight loss benefits of calorie restriction through intermittent fasting, which calls for alternating days of feeding and fasting.
Intermittent fasting can slow down aging by limiting the oxidative and metabolic stresses that damage cells, the Wall Street Journal reported.
According to research by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), intermittent fasting is better than conventional dieting for fueling weight loss, improving brain health, and maintaining lean muscle mass. “Just as exercise makes muscles stronger, fasting makes the brain stronger,” said Dr. Mark Mattson, chief of the NIA’s neurosciences lab.
What’s more, this pattern of intermittent fasting helped the animals maintain their lean muscle mass even as they aged — the exact opposite of what happens to both animals and people as they get older.
Hugh Jackman Credits IF For Buff Wolverine Body
Similar experiments conducted on humans (alternating between days of normal eating and calorie restriction) showed the same effects. Dr. Mattson said fasting for short periods of time like 16 to 24 hours induces a state of stress in the body, which responds by releasing neurotrophic proteins that stimulate neurons and other cells.
Actor Hugh Jackman recently credited intermittent fasting for helping him achieve his rippling Wolverine body. Jackman, 45, said IF also gave him more energy and improved his sleep.
Hugh’s 16/8 intermittent fasting protocol involves doing all his eating for the day during an eight-hour window and then not eating at all (except for water) for 16 hours. Jackman typically consumes all his calories between 10 am and 6 pm. It’s an eating plan he follows even when he’s not training for a role.
(Marcola) I view intermittent fasting as a lifestyle, not a diet, and that includes making healthy food choices whenever you do eat. Also, proper nutrition becomes even more important when fasting, so you really want to address your food choices before you try fasting.
This includes minimizing carbs and replacing them with healthful fats, like coconut oil, olive oil, olives, butter, eggs, avocados, and nuts. It typically takes several weeks to shift to fat burning mode, but once you do, your cravings for unhealthy foods and carbs will automatically disappear. This is because you’re now actually able to burn your stored fat and don’t have to rely on new fast-burning carbs for fuel. Unfortunately, despite mounting evidence, many health practitioners are still reluctant to prescribe fasting to their patients.