Intermittent fasting is a pattern of eating where you alternate between a period of fasting and a period of eating. How you incorporate this into your nutrition plan depends on your goal. Intermittent fasting benefits include:
• Improved mental clarity
• Increased energy
• Improved insulin sensitivity
• Increased blood ketones
• Fat loss
Intermittent fasting can be implemented in a number of ways. A couple of the most common
include: 16:8 You will eat all your meals within an 8-hour time period and fast the remaining 16 hours. This can be done daily or a few days a week. This is my favorite fasting protocol because research has found that restricting eating to 8 or 9 hours does not negatively impact your ability to maintain or build muscle.
My husband practices 16:8 intermittent fasting 4 to 5 days a week, and he is in the best shape he’s been in in years. He’s put on lean muscle mass, and his immune system has improved tremendously, as well as his mental health. He even works out while fasting! Our workouts used to be controlled by food and timing, but our lives have now become so much less stressful.
20:4 You will eat all your meals within a 4-hour eating window and fast the remaining 20 hours. This protocol will likely prevent muscle gain while increasing fat loss While fasting, you want to be sure to stay hydrated. Approved liquids to drink while fasting include:
• Bone broth
• Exogenous ketones (ketones taken as
• Black coffee
The following are a few good reasons to try fasting:
Fasting reduces insulin resistance. Insulin is drastically reduced in a glucagon dominant state. (Imagine a see-saw; one goes up when the other goes down.) When insulin is reduced, it can’t cause inflammation on tissues, which is associated with chronic pain, fibromyalgia, heart disease, asthma, and diabetes.
Fasting reduces blood pressure. As your insulin level increases, so does your blood pressure. Insulin stores magnesium, but if your insulin receptors are blunted and your cells grow resistant to insulin, you can’t store magnesium, so it passes out of your body through urination. Magnesium in your cells relaxes muscles. If your magnesium level is too low, your blood vessels constrict rather than relax, which raises your blood pressure and decreases your energy level.
Fasting reduces triglycerides. Insulin upregulates lipoprotein lipase (or LPL, a fat storage promoting enzyme) on fat tissue and inhibits activation of muscle cells. On the other hand, glucagon upregulates LPL in muscle and cardiac tissue while inhibiting activation of LPL in fat tissue.
Fasting leads to weight loss. Eating all your meals in a short window of time typically leads to fewer calories consumed for the day.
Fasting reduces cancer. Fasting cleans out damaged mitochondria, and it “turns on” certain genes that repair specific tissues that would not otherwise be repaired in times of surplus. Intermittent fasting has also been shown to reduce spontaneous cancers in animal studies, which is due to a decrease in oxidative damage or an increase in immune response.
Fasting leads to a longer life. Fasting allows certain cells to live longer (called autophagy, which is the body’s process for breaking down old and failing cells and building new ones) because it’s energetically less expensive to repair a cell than to divide and create a new one.So how do you put fasting into practice? There are a lot of ways to do so.
DAILY INTERMITTENT FASTING
Intermittent fasting is a great tool to improve healing, weight loss, and insulin signaling. Intermittent fasting also comes naturally with a ketogenic lifestyle because you aren’t hungry all the time.
Compressing your eating window (the time of the day during which you consume calories) really does come naturally for those on a ketogenic diet. Most keto-adapted people find that eating two meals a day works best for them. Whenever you consume calories—regardless of what you eat (fat, protein, or carbs)—your insulin levels rise. A rise in insulin shuts off fat-burning (lipolysis).
The typical American eats three meals spread out through the day, and they also eat snacks between those meals. Eating this way creates constantly elevated insulin levels, which limits the time your body uses fat stores for fuel. The following figure shows the insulin response to a typical day of eating.
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