What is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting, (IF) is going for several hours without eating. It is a hormonally friendly action that triggers the main fat-burning hormone and forces your body to use stored fat. Most people assume that fasting means going on a long hunger strike. Intermittent fasting uses strategic timing of meals to cut caloric intake and burn fat faster by passing on meals we did not need to eat in the first place.


Most people have heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. However, when you eat in the morning whether hungry or not, you stop the fat burning process. Your body is not starving, it is just eating up stored fat.


Fat Burning Hormone


The hormone that forces your body to burn fat is called the Growth Hormone. Most people associate the Human Growth Hormone (HGH) with professional sports where it acts as a high performance enhancing substance and builds muscle mass. However, it also helps with healthy aging. HGH is the main fat-burning hormone of the body that is triggered by intermittent fasting.


Breaking Weight Loss Plateaus


The first step to putting intermittent fasting into place is adjustment of your eating cycles. This will force your body to burn fat and avoid weight loss plateaus that you may be experiencing. There are three steps to starting with IF.


  1. Start with three days of eating only three meals with no snacks.
  2. Then do three days of eating only two meals.
  3. Then do three days of eating only one and a half meals (the half meal being something like a kale shake or light soup).


If you exercise hardcore then you would just do steps 1 and 2. Step three can be added on a light exercise week or if you are just starting out and want to boost your fat burning.


Intermittent Fasting and Ketogenic Diet – A Powerful Combination


Many people who have worked out with conventional personal trainers were told to eat five to six small meals throughout the day (typically high protein/low fat). This is exactly the opposite of what works in the ketogenic diet. The problem with diets low in fat and high in protein is that they keep blood sugar (i.e., insulin) levels high. If insulin stays elevated in the body throughout the day, no fat burning will occur, and therefore, no weight loss. The keto combination of the high fat, lower protein, and very low carbohydrate ratios are the best combination with IF to produce greatest fat burning and weight loss as well as many other health benefits. This allows your body to switch from being a sugar burner to a fat burner, providing your body with a much more sustainable and even kind of energy.


Intermittent Fasting and Other Health Benefits


Intermittent fasting helps with reduction of mid-section weight, protection of muscles, enhanced workout performance. It also increases brain function through the increase of derived neurotrophic factor, which aids in the survival of existing brain cells, increases the growth of new neurons (in the hippocampus (which is damaged by Alzheimer’s), and supports long term memory. It also protects against amyloid plaque, insulin responsiveness (opposite of insulin resistance), and increases the action of cellular autophagy, which is the recycling mechanism inside of cells.  It helps cells to dispose of waste that otherwise turn into diseases.


Several other benefits have been noted such as:


  • Decrease in sugar and carb cravings
  • Builds muscle and promotes overall health and wellness
  • Enhances brain health and helps prevent neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s
  • Reduces oxidative stress and fights aging as well as autoimmune diseases. 
  • Delivers an array of physiologic benefits, including lowering triglycerides, reducing inflammation and lessening free-radical damage


Who Should NOT do Intermittent Fasting?


  • Underweight: defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 18.5 or less
  • Malnourished: You need to put your focus on eating healthier, more nutritious food before you can safely fast
  • Children should not fast for more than 24 hours because they need nutrients for continued growth; if your child is obese, consider cutting him or her back on refined grains and sugar to promote weight loss
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women put their baby’s healthy growth and development at risk when fasting because a consistent flow of nutrients must be shared continually with the baby to ensure its well-being
  • Those taking medication for diabetes or gout.


Is there any proof that intermittent fasting works?


There are many recent studies on intermittent fasting and autophagy which is a cellular process that is triggered by IF. 


This is just a small sample:


  1. https://bit.ly/2iQhP3W
  2. https://bit.ly/2Ra0cLC
  3. https://bit.ly/2UfpdXT
  4. https://bit.ly/2Ra0cLC




https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27832862

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