If you follow the fitness community closely, you’ve probably heard the term, “ intermittent fasting ” once or twice. While some see it as necessary with the western diet arguably encouraging us to overfeed, there are countless other benefits besides lowering our calorie intake.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is not consuming anything that needs to be metabolized by the liver for a set amount of time (Usually seventeen to nineteen hours, including sleep time.) It is also an optional to alternate fasting periods every other day. This means not just food, but substances such as caffeine break a fast. In other words, water only.
Fasting resets our circadian rhythm
Arguably, one of the greatest benefits of intermittent fasting is its ability to reset your circadian rhythm. Our circadian rhythm is a master clock, not just in our brain but in every cell of our body. It affects everything from the release of our hormones to our metabolism and the ability to recover after workouts.
Fasting and Insulin Sensitivity
Intermittent fasting also increases insulin sensitivity. Insulin is the most potent storage hormone our body releases. The more we release, the more energy we store, either as muscle glycogen or fat. When we become resistant to insulin our body needs to produce more. Fasting helps make us more sensitive to insulin so that our bodies don’t have to produce as much. Besides the benefits this has on our waistline by restricting calories, this is also extremely beneficial to the prevention of chronic diseases such as diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
What to eat when you finally break your fast
Once your fast is complete you’ll be left with a five to seven hour feeding window. It is crucial to make what you eat now count. Foods high in protein to help you stay full longer and to give your body a proper energy source. Healthy fats are also ideal for this. As with anything, moderation will be your friend. Probably the most important thing though is making sure you consume enough water.
All in all, the most important to be safe when you first begin fasting. Listen and respect your body. Everyone’s blood sugar reacts differently.
Happy and Safe Fasting!