Intermittent Fasting – How it Works? Animation


Intermittent fasting refers to eating plans
that alternate between fasting and eating periods. The goal is to systematically starve the body
long enough to trigger fat burning. While research is still underway and the method
may not be suitable for everyone, there is evidence that, when done correctly, intermittent
fasting can help lose weight, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, prevent or control
diabetes, and improve brain’s health. During a meal, carbohydrates in food are broken
down into glucose. Glucose absorbs through the intestinal wall
into the bloodstream and is transported to various organs, where it serves as the major
energy source. Excess glucose is stored for later use in
the liver and adipose tissue, in the form of glycogen and fats. In between meals, when the body is in the
fasted state, the liver converts glycogen back to glucose to keep supplying the body
with energy. Typically, an inactive person takes about
10 to 12 hours to use up the glycogen stores, although someone who exercises may do so in
much less time. Once the reserve of glycogen in the liver
is depleted, the body taps into energy stores in adipose tissues. This is when fats are broken down into free
fatty acids which are then converted into additional metabolic fuel in the liver. Thus, if the fasted state lasts long enough,
the body burns fat for energy and loses that extra fat. Losing the extra fat is translated into a
range of associated health benefits. Insulin is the hormone required for driving
glucose into cells. Insulin level is regulated to match the amount
of glucose in the blood, that is, high after a meal and low between meals. Because insulin is secreted after each meal,
eating throughout the day keeps insulin levels high most of the time. Constant high insulin levels may de-sensitize
body tissues, causing insulin insensitivity – the hallmark of prediabetes and diabetes
type 2. Fasting helps keep insulin levels low, reducing
diabetes risks. Fasting also has beneficial effect on the
brain. It challenges the brain the same way physical
or cognitive exercise does. It promotes production of neurotrophic factors,
which support the growth and survival of neurons. Fasting, however, is not for everyone. Among those who should not attempt fasting
are: – children and teens
– pregnant or breastfeeding women – people with eating disorders, diabetes type
1, advanced diabetes, or some other medical problems
– people who are underweight or frail Fasting can also be unsafe if overdone, or
if not done correctly. There are several approaches to intermittent
fasting, but the easiest to achieve is perhaps the one that simply extends the usual nighttime
fast. A daily cycle of 16-hour fast followed by
a 8-hour eating window is usually sustainable. For intermittent fasting to be safe and effective,
it must be combined with balanced meals that provide good nutrition. It is important to stay hydrated, and know
your physical limits while fasting. The fast must be broken slowly. Overeating after fast, especially of unhealthy
foods, must be avoided.

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