For many years, we’ve been advised to eat up to six times a day to keep our metabolism up. A high metabolism can help you lose weight and improve your health.
The problem is that eating that regularly is not possible for everyone. Some people may not have the time and flexibility of preparing so many meals in one day.
Plus, the definition of what constitutes a meal may vary in different cultures.
What if you could go against the aforementioned popular advice? Nutrition experts are now recommending intermittent fasting (IF) for burning fat and improving your health. Many of these experts believe that the human body is not designed to be fed regularly. This belief is based on history and observing other animals. Our ancestors did not eat throughout the day. They spent a big chunk of their time searching for food.
Animal studies show that intermittent fasting stimulates brain activity and increases lifespan. Therefore, experts believe that limiting your eating to a set period and fasting for the rest of the day can have an amazing effect on your body.
What’s the Effect of Intermittent Fasting on Your Metabolism?
IF is not about starving yourself. You rotate between calorie consumption and calorie restriction. You still consume the number of calories that your body needs. What you need to do is limit this calorie intake to a specified time window.
Studies show that intermittent fasting boosts your metabolism.
How Does Intermittent Fasting Help with Weight Loss?
When your body runs out of glucose, it will enter into a fasted state. In this state, there’s no digestion taking place. When you eat throughout the day, digestion pumps glucose into your bloodstream. Insulin levels rise so that your cells can absorb the glucose. Excess glucose is then stored as fat.
A fasted state will cause a decrease in your insulin levels. The first 24 hours of fasting can cause a 70 percent decrease in insulin. In response to this, the pancreas will release a hormone known as glucagon.
To provide energy for your cells, glucagon works to pump glucose into your blood from stored fat. Insulin stores sugar as fat whereas glucagon helps converts the stored fat back into glucose.
You need adequate sugar in your blood for your body to keep performing at an optimal level. This blood sugar normally comes from the food you eat. If you don’t eat for at least 10 hours, your body will get glucose from fat cells and muscle.
When you fast for short periods, your body will burn stored fat for energy. Thus, intermittent fasting helps people lose weight. You can experience increased weight loss if you create a caloric deficit.
This analysis brings us to an important question.
How Does Intermittent Fasting Affect Muscle Mass?
Surprisingly, intermittent fasting can preserve your muscle. As long you don’t enter into starvation mode, you’ll maintain your lean muscle. Starvation will cause your body to break down protein for energy and that will result in muscle loss.
Intermittent fasting increases the human growth hormone which helps your muscles to grow. It also helps to conserve muscle glycogen.
Contrary to popular belief, intermittent fasting will not cause muscle loss. Your body automatically turns to fat cells for an alternative energy source. It only breaks down protein after extended fasting periods. This is why IF proposes restricted fasting.
When you have more muscle, resting metabolic rate increases. This is a pretty significant benefit of intermittent fasting. Metabolic resting rate is responsible for 70 percent of your caloric burn. The higher it is, the more calories you’ll burn.
How to Begin Intermittent Fasting?
You can follow these simple steps:
- Consult your doctor
- Select an intermittent fasting method that fits into your daily routine
- Eat nutritious foods
- Stay hydrated
- Be consistent
- Don’t give up too soon
The Final Word – Intermittent Fasting, Weight Loss & Muscle Mass
Intermittent fasting is beneficial for weight loss and building muscle. Coupling intermittent fasting with strength training will further increase your muscle mass.
This will boost your metabolism and help you burn more calories. As a result, you’ll lose more weight and rock a gorgeous lean body.