Fasting is mindfully abstaining from food for a set time. While many people choose to fast for spiritual reasons, others turn to intermittent fasting to heal their body. But is it actually good to go without food? Here’s a look at fasting health benefits, and the danger of fasting.
Low carb intermittent fasting is growing increasingly common for its health benefits. Here are the states your body goes through to begin fasting.
Fed State: Your body is in a fed state for the first 3-5 hours after eating. This is the time that your body is breaking down and absorbing the nutrients from the food. It is also the time when your insulin levels will be the highest, making it hard for your body to burn any fat.
Post-Absorptive State: This is the period of time that follows the fed state. Your body is done absorbing the nutrients from the food you ate and is now going about its normal business. This period lasts until 8-12 hours after eating.
Fasting State: After the post-absorptive state your body will enter a state of fasting. At this point, your body has used the sugars from your food and you’ll have low insulin levels in your body. This is why you will see fasting health benefits. It is the time that your body is going to start burning fat for energy. With a regular breakfast, lunch, dinner schedule you rarely stay in a fasting state very long. After all, breakfast is when you literally break your fast. Intermitted fasting looks to increase the fasting window.
Low carb intermittent fasting uses this body calendar to maximize fasting health benefits. Intermittent fasting includes a few different strategies, time-restricted feeding, alternate-day fasting, and whole day fasting.
Time-restricted intermitted fasting limits the window of time in the day that you’re eating. It extends the period of time of fasting you experience all day. Time-restricted feeding has you eating all of the food you need for the day, but you’re eating them in a set window of time. For example, you may have a lunch at 1:00, something to eat mid-afternoon, and dinner at 7:00. You wouldn’t eat again until 1:00 the next day, giving yourself 18 hours between meals. Alternatively, some people just skip breakfast and only eat two meals a day. With this schedule, your body will be in a fat-burning fasting state for a much greater duration of the day.
Alternate Day Modified Fasting (ADMF)
One long-term study found that alternate day fasting could extend your lifespan 30-50%. The study had patients alternate calorie intake each day. Half the time they would eat regularly, and the other day they would be limited to eating 20-50% of their normal food intake. Like time-restricted feeding, ADMF limits the window of time you consume your calories on the fasting day. The study was very successful and is believed to be largely because of the body’s fat-burning response during fasting.
This has been a very successful tool for weight loss. A study found obese patients on an alternate day modified fast not only lost weight but also quickly grew accustomed to the diet.
Whole-day fasting has you going an entire day without food once a week. It is a more focused window of fasting but has still shown to have a significant impact on weight loss.
Regardless of the fasting schedule, you follow, you should continue to drink water throughout the day. It is important not to drink anything with carbs during the fasting period because this will pull you out of a fasting state.
Fasting Health Benefits
If you can get over the idea of not eating then you could really benefit from low carb intermittent fasting.
As mentioned above, fasting can be a great weight-loss tool. Fasting is also good for regulating hormones and insulin levels.
By not eating you’re gaining extra time to your day. Many people take this time for spiritual or mental growth. Whether religious or not, taking the time to clear out your brain and rest has amazing health benefits. Meditation reduces stress, can help with blood circulation, and augments brain clarity.
Theoretically, you don’t have to change your diet for intermitting fasting. You can still eat junk and see some improvements from fasting for part of your day. That is because intermittent fasting isn’t a diet. It is an eating schedule. However, you shouldn’t change the way you eat simply to burn fat. The most important reason to change your diet is to support your health and to thrive.
Low carb intermittent fasting is easier in many ways. Cutting the amount of carbohydrates in your diet will put your body into a fasting state much quicker. This is because every time you load up on carbs you’re flooding insulin into your body. Your body has to use up all of those carbs before it will turn to burning fat for energy. Fasting is often used to enter a state of ketosis. This is why they fasting health benefits are the same as a that of a ketogenic diet.
Danger of Fasting
Low carb intermittent fasting is safe for most individuals. There is a danger of fasting for type 1 diabetics or people who regularly experience hypoglycemia. There may be other reasons not to fast, and you should consult with a doctor before making this a regular part of your daily schedule.
The largest danger of fasting comes from going too long without food. Our body needs nutrients to sustain it. It is important that when we eat, we are eating nutrient dense foods that will keep our body running.
Fasting can be a great option for people looking to lose weight, and improve brain clarity. Eating a diet filled with good whole food will help you experience fasting health benefits.