However, lately there have been a few studies on intermittent fasting and how it helps with weight and fat loss so I thought I would address it since it is important to shed some light on this topic.
Let’s start with a little physiology lesson: when you eat a meal or snack, your body releases the hormone insulin to help utilize and process the food your body just consumed.
Insulin is the key that unlocks the cell for the glucose or sugar you ate to be usable by your body.
If there is always glucose or food in your system, your body will keep releasing insulin for your cells to be able to use the food you consumed. This translates to your body not utilizing fat or being able to tap into fat cells making weight loss challenging or nonexistent.
Your body prefers to use glucose or what we call glycogen (chains of glucose strung together) since it wants to keep your fat for a rainy day. It takes at least 6-8 hours before your glycogen stores are gone or utilized, and then your body uses additional stores of glycogen in the liver, which are “on reserve.”
After all your glycogen is used, your body can then tap into fat cells.
So how does one tap into fat without having to fast for 18-24 hours?
I call it the 12 hour fast. If you eat breakfast as soon as you wake up, then make sure you finish dinner no later than 12 hours later. For example, if you eat breakfast at 7 am, make sure you are done with dinner before 7 pm.
This consistent 12-hour cycle requires some self-discipline in not eating after dinner, and even going to bed a little hungry but it works. Many recommend 18 hours of fasting but I think this becomes extreme and after a while can lead to a compromised metabolism and overeating.
The last few months I’ve had a few clients try this who were not able to lose weight and guess what? They experienced the scale moving in a favorable direction.
Challenging? Yes, but if you want to lose weight, lower your risk of diabetes and other health issues, a 12 hour fast allows your body’s insulin to do it’s job, and push the reset button on your metabolism in a positive way. The best part is you can still eat your 3 meals and an afternoon snack without drastically changing your lifestyle.