Most of us would have been taught or heard how important it is to eat regularly, having 3 main meals per day and 2 snacks. I know when I was studying there was a big push on women eating every 2-3 hours to help stabilise blood sugar levels and prevent dips in blood glucose. The scary thing is this approach is still be pushed by our major universities and even scarier there is still a push on everyone aiming to consume on average 50% of your calories from carbohydrates per day! That’s fine if you are going to use up all of those carbs, the problem is we are part of a very sedentary society, so the likelihood of people using all those carbs each day is minimal. We will touch on that again in another blog but here’s hoping we see a change soon!
WHAT IS FASTING?
Fasting is basically a cycle of eating in which there are set periods you don’t eat and periods in which you do. For example, a very common fasting pattern is 14:10, what this means is you do not eat for 14 hours, so say 6 pm till 8 am and then you are free to eat during 8am - 6 pm. Most will start with this approach and move to a slightly more restrictive approach such as a 18:6 fasting cycle.
It is very much an individual approach, some thrive on fasting others not so much.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU FAST?
Lets look at what happens when you consume carbohydrates, and no they aren’t all bad 😊 When we consume Carbohydrates our body releases insulin as insulin is the vehicle for carbohydrates to get into our cells for use. Elevated insulin and insulin resistance is commonly seen in individuals who are overweight and/or struggle to lose weight. Insulin is a hormone that is produced by our pancreas in response to glucose in the blood. To put it into perspective, Type 2 diabetes is often associated with elevated insulin and insulin resistance and we generally will see increased weight. Type 1 diabetes is due to autoimmune disease and the person is unable to make enough insulin and this is where we often see low weight.
Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose and if we do not use what we have consumed the excess glucose is then stored in our fat cells and liver as fat. When we fast our insulin levels drop and our fat cells are able to release the store energy for our body to use.
When implementing Intermittent Fasting into our diets our insulin levels come down this supports weight loss. Also on a Ketogenic Diet our insulin levels also stay low, as carbohydrate intake is kept low and fats higher, so minimal insulin is released as fat has no impact on insulin. A low carb or Ketogenic diet along side Intermittent fasting provides effective and safe weight-loss to occur. It also increases energy as ketones are produced and our cells run more effectively on ketones. The benefits of a ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting are vast!
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF FASTING?
Let's list a few of the most common and well researched benefits of Intermittent Fasting
- -Improves fasting glucose and insulin levels
- -Increase insulin sensitivity and lower insulin levels. It can be very beneficial with those with type two diabetes. It is important to monitor your blood sugar levels, if you are on medication, to ensure you dose your medication appropriately. If unsure please consult with your healthcare practitioner.
- -Helps support healthy weight loss
- -May help improve energy levels. It is important to note that during your eating window you need to focus on eating a good quality, balanced diet.
- -Improves cardio-metabolic risk factors
- -Decreases inflammation in the body
All in all, a well-formulated ketogenic diet, alongside Intermittent Fasting, has numerous health benefits that can and do make a significant difference in many people's lives. Diet is an extremely powerful nutrition tool when used correctly.
If you are struggling to lose weight, it is worthwhile speaking to your healthcare professional and asking for fasting insulin and glucose blood tests to be conducted. Your insulin levels, in Australia, should still below 10.