Intermittent fasting... is it effective for weight loss?
A lot of what we are taught suggests that eating small frequent meals will lead to a smaller waist line. Eating the right foods, at the right times has absolutely proven to be very effective, and long term may be the healthiest way to live. Intermittent fasting is a tool that can be effective for some people to lose weight and actually gain muscle and here is how it works. To understand the effectiveness, we must understand the word autophagy.
“Autophagy: Consumption of the body’s own tissue as a metabolic process occurring in starvation and certain diseases. Destruction of damaged or redundant cellular components occurring in vacuoles within the cell.”
Through fasting and intermittent fasting, autophagy allows our body’s to use our own tissue to support energy. Outside of the alteration of body composition, fasting also helps destroy damaged cells in our body thus improving immune response and longevity.
The pancreas secretes insulin to lower blood sugar levels after meals. Due to the traditional American diet that includes too many carbohydrates and too much sugar, a lot of our bodies have created a resistance to insulin. This insulin resistance doesn’t relay proper communication to the pancreas that insulin levels are too high. In turn the pancreas will secrete more insulin. As mentioned above, insulin's job is to lower blood levels, but it's also the primary hormone responsible for our bodies storing body fat.
When we fast, it allows our body to regain sensitivity to insulin. Increased insulin sensitivity means it doesn't take as much to reduce blood sugar levels. When our overall insulin secretion decreases our fat cells have a greater ability to mobilize fatty acids. Another physiological change that occurs is an increase in human growth hormone secreted from the pituitary gland. This allows for muscle to be preserved even in the caloric deficit that's created by the absence of calories.
So now you know the 'why'... here's the 'how'.
The typical method is called a 16/8. This means 16 hours of fasting followed by consuming your daily calories within an 8 hour period. This should be achieved within 3 meals over the 8 hour period.
For accelerated results while intermittent fasting, before you break your fast, do 10 minutes of HIIT (High intensity interval training). HIIT training releases epinephrine and norepinephrine which signals signals fat cells to mobilize fat for energy.
Sticking to only certain liquids is very important during your fast. Here are approved liquids: Water, mineral water, BLACK coffee and black/green unsweetened tea. Lemon and lime juice are actually approved as well even though they both contain a small amount of sugar.
However, both of those juices promote gastric emptying which puts you into a deeper level of autophagy.
Note: If you consume even just amino acids, this will change the metabolic process that's occurring during your fast.