THE BENEFITS OF INTERMITTENT FASTING
How are you? I hope all is well.
OK, let’s talk about fasting (intermittent fasting) and get a bit sciency 😉🧪!
I know a lot of people don’t believe or understand the practice of fasting. If you’re one of them, just understand that there’s a difference between fasting and starving. Fasting is voluntary while starving is not. You always know when your next meal will be when you’re fasting. Clear!!?
How Does Food Affect Your Body?
Let’s put our lab coat and goggles on for a quick biochemistry class 👩🏾🔬.
Insulin and glucagon are the hormones that regulate blood glucose levels and bring about homeostasis (brings balance in the internal body from external changes) in the body.
When you eat, let’s say a bowl of pasta (lots of carbs), your blood glucose levels increase, and insulin is secreted by the pancreas to signal your body to start taking glucose in the cells and storing it to form glycogen. Therefore, glycogen is store energy that can be used when the body needs it (when there are no more carbs). Few hours after eating your bowl of pasta, your blood glucose levels have decreased, and glucagon is secreted to initiate the breakdown of glycogen into glucose to be used for energy throughout the body. Keep this in mind when you think you’re starving a few hours later after eating 2 full meals before 12 pm.
But the way, when the glycogen storage is full, the excess glucose is stored as fat. Thankfully, this fat can be used as energy when you fast.
Ok, WAKE UP... class is over 🙄!
So, What Is Intermittent Fasting (IF)?
IF is an eating pattern that alternating between periods of eating and periods of fasting.
How Often Should You Do IF?
It really depends on your daily routine and your overall lifestyle. There are different fasting periods. The common one is the 16:8 (fast for 16 hours and eat in a window of 8 hours) For example, my eating window is usually between 1-9 pm. If you just started IF, you can do 14:10 or even 12:12. Great news, the hours you sleep counts as fasting because you’re not eating while you sleep 🤷🏾♀️.
You can do the 5:2. This fast is when you eat normally 5x a week and for 2 days, you eat only 500 calories (A healthy woman should consume 2000 calories on average). You can also fast for 24 hours, 2-3x a week, and eat normally the other days of the week. Make sure to eat a large meal before starting your fast.
During the eating window, we are eating nutrient-dense food, right!? Of course! (Put the chips down, yes you!)
FUN FACT: A person with average weight has about 100,000 calories of fat while a person with excess weight has about 200,000 calories of fat. Calories are potential energy but calm down, we won’t be having a physics class.
3 Reasons Why IF Is Effective
The Benefits of intermittent Fasting
1. BURNS FAT
Burning fat is initiated by fasting when carbohydrates are low in the body. Like I explain in our mini biochemistry class, your fasted body will start breaking down the fat stored and glycogen to have access to glucose to provide the energy needed for all the body’s metabolic processes.
IF also maintain lean muscles because when you fast, you produce more human growth hormone (HGH) that helps build muscles and boost metabolism. Of course, it’s important to consume the right amount of protein and to do weight training exercises.
Also, it’s important to control your stress levels the best that you can or else your body won’t be able to burn fat properly.
Autophagy is the degradation and recycling of cellular components (“stuff” you need to build cells and a strong body) to bring about cellular homeostasis. In simpler terms, it’s a self-cleaning process. During this process, bad and damaged cells are broken down and the broken components are recycled to build new healthy cells. It takes approximately 18-20 hours of fasting to initiate autophagy in the body.
Furthermore, autophagy decreases the requirement of nutrients needed in the body. That means your body becomes more efficient at using nutrients.
3. REDUCE AND PREVENT HEALTH CONDITIONS
(I’m not a physician, not EVEN CLOSE!)
In my cell physiology class, we had one chapter on cancer. The first thing we learn is that cancer thrives on sugar. Yet, when the doctor breaks the news that you have cancer, they usually never talk about changing your diet and reducing sugar (carbs). Everybody knows that sugar is not good, but we don’t know at what extend it is.
Doctors that studied nutrition advise their patients to reduce sugar no matter what the problem is. It can be acne, pain, infection, or even injuries. IF is a great way to reduce and prevent inflammation in the body.
But Like WAIT… What About My Brain, It Needs Carbs, Right?
Yes, your brain needs carbohydrates, and more specifically glucose. But what a lot of people and even personal trainers don’t know, is that the brain would rather be fuel by ketones than glucose. What are ketones, you ask? Ketones are chemicals produced by the liver from fatty acids (fat) when glucose levels are low. Ketones are also good for the heart.
Your body is smarter than you think. It adapts quickly to changes and will continue to work with what is available. It won’t let you die because you haven’t eaten in 5 hours, I promise.
What To DRINK During IF
While you’re fasting, you want to make sure you don’t consume any liquid that will raise your blood glucose levels.
- Water ( you can add a bit of apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, ginger juice, cinnamon)
- Black coffee (you can add coconut oil or ghee)
- Bone Broth
Intermittent Fasting Drink Recipe
- Squeeze 3 lemons into a glass jar
- Add a bit of cinnamon (sticks or powder), ginger (pieces or juice), 10-5 ml of apple cider vinegar, some anise start
- Let it soak for a day
- Add 10-15 l of the mixture to 1-2 cups of water
- Store the mixture in the refrigerator
- Enjoy you fasting window!
If you feel hungry, you can put salt (sodium + chlorine) under your tongue. Many times, you’re not actually hungry but just dehydrated or your body needs electrolytes (sodium, potassium, calcium, chloride, phosphorus).
I started intermittent fasting in 2019. Today, I fast 12-16 hrs, 3-5x a week. My body is fully adjusted. I wake up, drink my coffee, workout, and don’t even feel hungry after a workout. When you are at this point, your body has become efficient at utilizing the nutrients in your body. That includes using your excess fat as energy (aka burning fat).
I hope you’ve learned something new from this post. If fasting is not for you, it’s okay. What’s important to know is that you are what you eat. We always laugh at this phrase, but it took me couple biology classes to really understand that if I eat a burger from a fast-food restaurant; its synthetic nutrients will build the component of my cells, my tissues, and my organs.
REAL FOOD IS MEDICINE!
Now let’s FAST!
“Your body can stand almost anything. It’s your mind that you have to convince!”– Author Unknown
Let me know in the comments below if you ever tried intermittent fasting and how long was your eating window. If you haven’t tried it, let me know if you would like to try it or not and why.
Let’s chat again soon, honeys!