Science of Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss
To understand the science of intermittent fasting, we need to look into the basics of nutrition.
And it is quite straight-forward: the food we eat gets broken down to molecules and ends up in our blood, which feeds the cells in our bodies.
Part of those molecules are net carbohydrates (all carbs in the meal minus the fiber) and our body turns them into sugar (glucose) so our cells could use it for energy.
To be able to use sugar for the energy we need insulin, which gets produced in our pancreas each time we throw in some food with carbohydrates.
Any excess sugars that we don’t consume get stored in the form of fat with the idea that we will use that fat for energy later, once we have no sugar left.
The best way how NOT to end up having huge fat reserves (and becoming overweight) is to spend the same amount of energy you get from food.
However, life is not perfect and many of us have lifestyles that limit our chances to move throughout the day. In fact, office workers tend to spend 75% of their waking hours sitting.
So, what can we do to lose or not gain weight?
One way to do it is to focus on increasing your energy consumption through increased physical activity or in layman’s terms – exercising and doing sports. But you knew this one already, didn’t you?
Another way though is to focus on consuming less food than you need for the energy that day and as a result, creating a caloric deficit.
And that’s where intermittent fasting comes in.
Intermittent fasting makes it easier to reduce the number of meals and calories you eat per day. It’s a lot more convenient to not eat at all for some time vs. eating less (I refuse to believe people who say they can eat just one cookie ).
Restricting frequency of meals end up reducing insulin to low enough levels and for long enough time so that our bodies get into the mode of ketosis – when you make a metabolic shift from burning sugar for energy to burning fat and ketones for energy.
Basically, your body starts to use a different type of fuel. Instead of relying on sugar (glucose) that comes from carbs, it relies on ketones, chemicals made in your liver that build up when your body starts burning stored fat for energy.
You can reach ketosis with the help of a keto diet or intermittent fasting. But to understand whether you have reached the magical fat-burning state called ketosis, you need to measure it.
There are multiple options on the market like blood or urine tests, however, by far, the most convenient and easiest test would be breath analysis. Breath ketone monitor like BIOSENSE will help you see all the stats on your true, fat metabolism rate during fasting hours.
Research suggests that a daily ketone score of 120 is associated with fat loss and with the help of ketone monitor you will be able to track your ketone levels throughout the fast or keto diet.
Breath ketone monitor allows for unlimited ketone testing and syncs with your phone to keep all the stats in one place. As you know “If You Can’t Measure It, You Can’t Improve It.” Check out the BIOSENSE ketone analyzer, if you’re interested in better understanding your fasting and weight loss trends.
Is Intermittent Fasting Safe and Healthy?
Yes, intermittent fasting does have a lot of benefits. We talk about them in our 21-Day Intermittent Fasting Challenge a lot.
In general, Intermittent Fasting is safe for most people, but you have to know the risks too.
It is also a good time to say that this article should and does not intend to replace advice from your doctor and you should always consult your physician before planning any fasting and especially extended fasting (longer than 24h).
Now that we made it clear, here are some of the cases (but might not be limited to) that does not go well with intermittent fasting:
- if you have a diabetes
- if you take medications for blood pressure or heart disease
- if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
- if you have a history of disordered eating
- if you don’t sleep well
- if you are under 18 years old
Also, you should be a lot more careful if you are practicing extended fasting, which depending on the source you follow will be continuous fasting for either anything more than 24, 48 or 72 hours. There is a general consensus that any fasts longer than 72 hours should be done under strict medical supervision.
How to Start & How to Do Intermittent Fasting
One of the reasons I personally think Intermittent Fasting really took over is because of how easy it is to start it.
Literally, the only thing you should really decide before you start is which Intermittent Fasting schedule type you are planning to follow.
And before you make this decision, it is important to understand the various types of Intermittent Fasting. That’s how you will find the one that works the best for you and fits your unique lifestyle.
For your convenience, here are the most popular Intermittent Fasting Schedules.