Have you ever thought about how things work? Try to understand the how and why of something? Get a deeper understanding of the process to explain how it works, not just take it for face value? Most people seem to go with “try this” it works, but I have no idea how. This is true for intermittent fasting; people skip a meal like skipping breakfast, eat in a short window, and lose weight. Others have said that skipping a meal reduces calories and is a form of calorie restriction, and this is the trick to weight loss. Well, here is the how and why intermittent fasting works so you can be informed. Knowing this will allow for understanding the biology behind the fasting tactic and exactly how this process works.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
You may have heard something about this new diet craze, and is it the next new fad diet for weight loss. Intermittent fasting is not a diet or a trend; it is a lifestyle change that brings us back to our roots. That is right, how we used to eat for millions of years. Intermittent fasting is when food, calories are the key, is not consumed for a specific time, or better said time restricted eating. It is that simple. You eat in an eating window and don’t eat outside of this window, which is called the fasting period. Some examples of this are the 8:16, which the eight is the eating window of eight hours, and the 16 is the fasting period.
There are many flavors of this besides the 8:16 like the 4:20 or the OMAD, which is one meal a day. There are shorter periods of fasting like the 12:12 or the 10:14 for beginners to start with and work their way up to a higher level. Changing the fasting day is another form of fasting with a few days on and one day off to mix things up. This change in the eating pattern will allow the body to adjust to a high food intake to lower food intake with less adversity.
How Food Affects The Body
Food is necessary for our existence, and the nourishment supplies our bodies with energy to keep all the vital organs functioning. Without food, we have no chance of survival. Here are the basics of intermittent fasting and how the body works with food. When food is consumed, the body produces insulin for two reasons. The first is to maintain blood sugar levels, and the second is to put the body into fat retention mode.
Sounds crazy, right, but when you eat, your body goes into fat retention mode to store some of the food (fat) away so that it can be used as reserve energy at a later time if needed. So when you eat, why would your body want to store a little away for future use? One simple reason, evolution. Let’s take a more in-depth look at this and why. For millions of years, you see, about 99.8% of the time humans have been on Earth, we consumed one meal a day, or less, up until recent times.
A survival mechanism was built into every one of us to survive on one meal a day or less. The instrument is insulin, which triggers the body to start storing some food, fat away for future use. Without this mechanism, the human race would have had a much more difficult time surviving. This is because going 24 hours or longer without consumption could run the body out of fuel. This insulin trigger to store away some for future use allows humans to make the long haul without food more manageable. It is simply Mother Nature’s way of correcting an issue that could potentially lead to starvation.
Millions of years ago, the food collected had to be consumed quickly to avoid spoilage. Until recent times, humans only ate one meal a day or less because the food was not readily available. This is why intermittent fasting is natural and gets us back to our eating roots. Today food is abundant, and there is refrigeration that allows for food storage over long periods. Because of advancements, food can be and generally is consumed throughout the day and or the night. The practice of eating food continuously is contrary to our evolutionary history and how we ate over millions of years. This is one reason we are not doing so well in the obesity category, in which the current rate is 42.4%.
Why Intermittent Fasting Works
The biology behind intermittent fasting that allows it to work is what level of insulin. This means that insulin levels become very low in a fasting state because there is no food in the system. Once insulin levels become scarce, the body then goes into fat-burning mode. The body has no fuel from food to use in the system and taps into the excess energy reserves that it has put away. This is the point that the body is in pure fat-burning mode.
Suppose you think about it; the body stores a little reserve away for future use when there is food available and uses the reserve when there is no food available. This is nature’s way of preserving us. The body can sustain the burning of reserve energy for as long as it is available or think of it until the reserve energy tank is empty. The reverse is true for continuous eating throughout the day. When eating three meals a day plus snacks, insulin levels are continuously high, which keeps the body and fat retention mode. With insulin level high throughout the day, the body is storing fat continuously.
By allowing the body to go into a fat-burning state naturally provides for weight loss. It can be difficult, if not impossible, to lose weight when the body is in fat retention mode. If you’ve ever tried to lose weight from an exercise program or traditional diet and eat three meals a day plus snacks, you may have found that the results were not what you expected, or even worse, you gain weight. Three meals a day and snacks will keep the body and continuous fat retention mode because insulin levels are high. By allowing insulin levels to drop enable the body to burn fat automatically. This is how intermittent fasting works.
Low Calorie Diet and Keto Diet
The concept behind both of these diets is that carb cause insulin levels to spike. By reducing carbs in the low calorie diet and only consuming protein and fat in the Keto diet, insulin levels will not go as high and, therefore, will not put the body completely into fat retention mode. The theory here is less is better than a full insulin spike, so this mimics intermittent fasting.
How To Achieve Weight Loss Results
Combining an intermittent fasting program with an exercise program, physical activity, and putting it together with a diet that is at a caloric deficit will achieve excellent weight loss results. The best time to exercise to lose weight is at the end of a fasting period. This is because at the end of a fast insulin level are low, and the body is in a fat-burning mode, which is a drawing from the excess energy stored. You call for an additional energy source that the body will turn to the fat supply that it is stored by exercising. Combining this with a caloric deficit diet means fewer calories consumed than burn in a day, all adding to fat burning.
In a quick summary, fasting allows the body to go into fat-burning mode. Exercising at the end of the fasting period allows the body to call for additional energy supplies that come from fat. Maintaining a healthy diet at a caloric deficit means consuming fewer calories than burning in a day. The body will tap into fat supplies to have enough energy to maintain the body. All this adds up to most fat burning.
Intermittent fasting is a pathway to allow the body to lose weight naturally. The ability to lose weight in a fat retention state, which means insulin levels are high, is difficult or, in some cases, impossible. By practicing intermittent fasting, you’re allowing the body to naturally get into a fat-burning state, which is the pathway to lose weight. A good diet with the proper amount of calories is still required, even if intermittent fasting. If the individual maintains a caloric surplus while intermittent fasting, they will gain weight. More calories in than more calories burned equates to weight gain. Calorie intake is part of the equation with weight loss.
Intermittent fasting works because the triggering device insulin is lower in a fasting state, which tells the body to go into fat-burning mode. In a non-fasting state, insulin levels are high, which is a fat retention mode. If continuously eating throughout the day, the body will produce insulin, which triggers the body to stay in fat retention mode. The entire concept of intermittent fasting hinges on insulin levels. If you want to lose weight, try keeping your insulin levels low for extended periods by getting on an intermittent fasting plan, allowing your body to use fat as an energy source. You may be amazed by the fat loss.