Fasting is the secret to weight loss that big food companies, supplement companies, and big pharma don’t want you to know about because it doesn’t make them any money! Fasting only benefits you! not big pharma and not the supplement companies.
Practicing fasting is such a simple way to lose weight as it requires you to eat nothing and drink water. No meal planning, no food prepping or confusing diets. Fasting is as simple as not eating for as long as you want to fast for all while freeing up your time and saving you money as you don’t need to buy food when your fasting.
So, what is fasting?
Fasting is the voluntary choice to not eat any food whether it is for a few hours, days or weeks. Fasting allows the body to burn through stored body fat for weight loss.
Mainstream advertising doesn’t tell you to fast for weight loss because it doesn’t make them any money. Instead, people are told to always eat breakfast as it is the most important meal of the day, to snack between meals to maintain blood sugar levels and to never miss a meal.
But the truth is a healthy body is designed to go through periods of fasting where no food is consumed. Our ancestors didn’t have packaged snacks to carry around, or a fridge stocked full of food to access every few hours.
Our bodies were designed to have the ability to go through periods of fasting which was crucial to our ancestor’s survival.
Now let me ask you a question. What do you think is the quickest way to lose weight?
By eating 3 healthy meals a day with snacks in-between or by fasting and not eating any food for the entire day?
Fasting is an effective, practical and simple way to lose weight and if you fast long enough you are virtually guaranteed to lose weight by fasting.
Weight loss isn’t only about counting calories. An inability to effectively lose weight is a hormonal problem as well and fasting for weight loss is one of the quickest ways to lose weight, reset your hormones and lower insulin which is the fat-storage hormone.
Insulin is a hormone responsible for transporting sugar out of the blood and into cells for energy use or storage. Insulin tells the body that food is coming in so get ready for storage of glucose.
Anytime food is eaten insulin levels rise signaling the body to store sugar in the liver in the form of glycogen. Once the glycogen stores are full the excess sugar is converted into fat.
In the fasting state, the level of insulin decreases allowing the body to burn stored sugar and body fat for energy which is why fasting for weight loss is so effective.
The most easily accessible energy source for the body is the glycogen stores in the liver. Once the glycogen stores have been depleted, usually after 24 hours or so of fasting the body will start to breakdown stored body fat for energy.
When you are constantly eating, you are consistently raising insulin levels and telling the body to store food energy making weight loss difficult. But when you practice fasting you will be burning stored food energy and body fat for weight loss.
Here is what the various fasting stages look like as discussed by Dr. Jason Fung in The Complete Guide to Fasting
1. Eating: Insulin levels rise as a result of food coming into transport glucose from the food into the cells. Excess glucose is stored in the liver as glycogen.
2. The post absorptive phase is 6-24 hours after eating and into fasting where blood sugar levels and insulin levels begin to fall. In response to blood sugar levels falling the liver starts to breakdown glycogen into sugar to maintain normal blood sugar levels.
3. Gluconeogenesis takes place 24 hours to 2 days after starting to fast. Once glycogen stores have been depleted the liver will make glucose from amino acids via a process called gluconeogenesis (the making of new sugar from protein)
4. Ketosis takes place 2 -3 days after fasting where low levels of insulin stimulate the breakdown of stored fat for energy through a process called lipolysis. This is exactly what someone who is fasting for weight loss wants to achieve!
5. The protein conservation phase begins 5 days after fasting where growth hormone levels rise to maintain muscle mass and the majority of the body’s energy is supplied by fatty acids and ketones which are a substitute for glucose to fuel the brain. (Yes, your brain will still work in times of fasting)
Working through the various stages of fasting causes the body to switch from burning incoming food and glucose to burning body fat for weight loss.
At the start of a fast, the body is still burning sugar from the stored glycogen in the liver for the first 24-48 hours. When glycogen stores in the liver start to get low the body switches to fat-burning which is why extended periods of fasting such as 2 days or longer are extremely beneficial and effective for weight loss.
If someone is fasting for longer than a few days it is a good idea to take a good quality multivitamin to ensure the recommended daily intake of micro-nutrients.
There are no rules set in stone with how to fast for weight loss. You can practice intermittent fasting, alternate-day fasting, fasting once a week, fasting for 3 days, 1 week, 2 weeks or longer. Practice a variation of fasting that works for you and until your weight loss goals are achieved.
I like to practice intermittent fasting daily with a variation of 14-16 hour fasting periods which depends upon my day, hunger and activity levels. I don’t need to lose weight so a 14 – 16-hour fast works great for me but for someone who wants to lose weight, fasting for a longer time period will be more effective for weight loss.
The body prefers to burn glycogen instead of stored fat so to burn body fat for fuel, fasting for 2 days or longer will yield quicker and more dramatic results.
Intermittent and alternate-day fasting will still be beneficial for weight loss and maintaining any weight loss as burning through glycogen stores makes room for storage of new incoming fuel in the next meal.
When there are glycogen stores available in the liver the incoming glucose from the next meal will be stored as glycogen in the liver instead of being converted into body fat.
During fasting, insulin levels are decreased which is the “fat-storing” hormone. Since all food raises insulin to some degree (with refined sugar and carbs raising insulin the most) the best way to lose weight is by fasting and eliminating all foods.
Fasting will naturally lower insulin levels and improve insulin sensitivity in individuals who have developed insulin resistance due to overeating and consistently being in a “fed state”.
The most effective way to lower insulin and reverse insulin resistance to lose weight naturally is by fasting and not eating anything at all.
Some of the benefits of fasting for weight loss include:
-induces weight loss and body fat loss
-lowers blood sugar levels
-improves insulin sensitivity
-improves fat burning
Since elevated insulin levels and insulin resistance is a primary cause of weight gain, the quickest and most effective way to lower insulin levels and reverse insulin resistance is by fasting.
The body develops insulin resistance and thus elevated insulin levels when the cells are already overfilled with glucose causing glucose to spill out of the cell and into the bloodstream leading to elevated blood glucose.
When a cell is full of fat stores there is no storage room for
glucose so glucose spills into the bloodstream leading to elevated blood glucose and insulin resistance.
The best approach to losing weight, reversing insulin resistance and lowering high blood sugar is to not eat any food.
No need to argue about which diet is best for weight loss such as the keto diet or the low-fat plant-based diet as fasting trumps both diets and is the fastest way to burn through excess sugar in the bloodstream, glycogen stores, and body fat.
Fasting is the best way to lose weight and is more powerful than any diet to reverse insulin resistance.
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For more information on fasting I recommend reading The Complete Guide to Fasting by Dr. Jason Fung and Jimmy Moore