The Complete Guide to Fasting
Obesity is a major health concern for many people. Close to 39.6 percent of American adults are obese, according to 2016 statistics from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Some people fast frequently to cut weight. It is important to consult a doctor to choose the right fasting protocol. Here is a complete guide to fasting that will help you improve your health.
How Does Fasting Work?
When you overeat, the body ingests more energy than it can use. It stores some energy for future use. Insulin regulates the storage of energy in the body. The pancreas produces more insulin when you eat to help the body store excess energy. The body breaks down carbohydrates into sugar units that it can link to make glycogen. The liver and muscles store glycogen.
The body has a limited storage capacity for carbohydrates. Once it reaches its storage limit, the liver converts glucose into fat, a process known as de-novo lipogenesis. It stores part of the newly formed fat and exports the rest to other parts of the body. We have two energy storage systems in our bodies, glycogen and body fat. Glycogen has limited storage, but it is easily accessible. Body fat has unlimited storage space and it is difficult to access. Dieticians offer fasting tips and guidance to people with a high body fat percentage.
When you fast, the body burns stored energy, thus reducing blood glucose. It breaks down glycogen into glucose to offer energy to cells for up to 36 hours. The body then converts fat into energy. Naturally, the body exists in the fasted and fed states. It is tricky to gain weight if you balance fasting and eating.
3 Main Types of Fasting
The following are the main types of fasting:
1. Macro Nutrient Restriction Fasts
The fast entails restricting a particular macronutrient. Fats, carbohydrates, and proteins are the macronutrients that the body requires. Macro Nutrient Restriction Fasts are popular among athletes with high protein requirements. They take cooked vegetables, carbohydrates, and high-quality fats for three days per month. A reduction in protein intakes allows the gut to heal.
2. Calorie Restriction Fasts
They are the most popular fasts. A calorie restriction fast involves refraining from eating for 18 to 48 hours. It is advisable to take enough calories a few days before you start fasting. Choose one day in which you will take an early dinner and fast for a certain period. You will only take water during the fast.
3. Seasonal Eating
The body has varying nutrient requirements in different seasons. Tubers and fatty meats are often consumed in winter while lean meats and fruits are eaten in summer. Eat foods that are naturally available.
The Benefits of Fasting
- Besides weight loss, fasting offers other health benefits including:
- Reversal of diabetes type 2
- Reduced inflammation
- Increased energy
- Improved concentration and mental clarity
- Reduced sugar levels and blood insulin
- Longer life
- Improved fat burning
- A short-term increase in of growth hormone
Fasting involves refraining from eating for a certain period. This therapeutic approach has amazing results if you do it properly. Time-restricted feeding and intermittent fasting are the most popular fasting approaches. They lower blood sugar levels and prolong the life expectancy of an individual.