Why IF (Intermittent Fasting)???
Have you heard of IF (intermittent fasting)? Maybe even thought of trying it? Do you know why Intermittent Fasting is effective or what the purpose of it is (besides not allowing late night snacking)?
Intermittent fasting is going periods of not eating and then eating only during certain time frames (ie between 12-8pm, or 4-10 pm). It is also referred to as time restrictive eating. So in a sense this is only a lifestyle eating pattern, not an actual diet (since you can follow whatever diet regimen you want during those eating windows).
The benefit to intermittent fasting is not only that you have black and white periods where food is ok and when you cannot eat (meaning you usually have lower calorie intake since you can't just mindlessly snack all day), but it most importantly this lifestyle pattern lowers your blood insulin levels during the majority of your day.
Why does lowering your insulin level matter? Well it plays a HUGE roll in fat gain and fat loss. If you haven't already heard, you cannot burn fat or breakdown fat storage when your insulin levels are high. Why?
Because when insulin is high, your body is in storage mode, and it is storing fat.
When you eat food and you have sugar (glucose) in your blood, your body pumps out insulin to lower your blood sugar. This means that when insulin is secreted it is taking the sugar out of circulation and forcing into the cells for storage (glucose is stored as glycogen in the cells as a short term storage). It does not allow energy out of the cells, only in. This means that your body will not be using any stored energy when insulin is around.
How do you lower insulin levels, well the best way to do this is not eat anything! When you are not spiking your blood sugar, insulin is not secreted.
Plus if you are not eating, your body doesn't have energy floating (glucose) around for immediate use and is forced to bring some energy out of storage (that glycogen that was stored earlier).
But what happens when the stored glycogen in the cells is also used up? That is when the body will start to breakdown fat (the breakdown of fat produces ketones that your brain can use as fuel--- your brain actually loves this fuel --- think of high octane racing fuel).
So fat breakdown can only occur when your body is depleted of blood glucose (from a recent meal) and glycogen (from stored glucose). This is where intermittent fasting comes in. Going for periods of not eating (typically 16 hours) allows your body to use all the short term storage and begin to breakdown the fat storage.
This is why intermittent fasting is key for fat loss, and why it is becoming so popular today.
Here is a short video breakdown of Intermittent Fasting and the basics.