Sure enough, skipping meals is an effective way of burning fat. That said, the health benefits of fasting exceed far beyond just simple weight loss. If you’re planning to embark on your first fast or maybe looking for ways to improve your next one, you should keep in mind a few things.
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In a nutshell:
But first and foremost, you must learn the different stages of fasting. Doing so lets you prepare mentally and physically for what your body will undergo during the fast. For instance, in the first 8-12 hours, you may be feeling hungry and tired but then once you get past those, your blood sugar starts stabilizing. Fasting starts about 8 hours after your last meal. During this time, it’s mostly characterized by changes in your blood sugar levels. After going 8 hours without food, your blood glucose starts to drop. And so by 12 hours, your body then starts tapping into your sugar stores and your blood sugar levels will stabilize. In addition, at 12 hours, your body will start entering the early stages of ketosis. This means your body stops relying on carbs for fuel, and instead, burns body fat stores to remain functional. Short-term fasting can also help lower blood pressure and boost insulin sensitivity. Now moving to the 2nd stage of fasting, your body should be in full ketosis by then. Because your body doesn’t have enough carbohydrates to fuel it, the liver then starts converting fat stores into ketone bodies. This stage of fasting provides three benefits. In addition to suppressing your appetite, your body also goes into a fat-burning mode. And since your system doesn’t have any food in it, your body starts burning through body fat quicker than normal. If you can tolerate intermittent fasting for 16-18 hours a day, expect your body to be burning through fat and filling up quickly when you break your fast. It’s also during stage 2 of fasting that you get a boost in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). If or when you reach a full-day fast, then that’s when your body switches to the repair mode. It starts recycling damaged or old cells and reduces inflammation. In short, if you want a natural anti-inflammatory or anti-aging method, a 24-hour fast might just be what you need. At the fourth stage of fasting, your body is transitioning from intermittent fasting to a longer fast. As the body gets accustomed to the several days of fasting, the growth hormone levels start shifting. Ultimately, this leads to a new batch of benefits, say muscle growth and repair. A study of healthy adults concluded that a person’s growth hormone secretion can be increased by a whopping 400% if they do 48-hour fasting. The same fasting plan can also boost the frequency of growth hormone bursts throughout the day. Although it can seem counterintuitive, occasionally fasting for two days can help build muscle. If you’ve lasted three full days without food and only water, then congratulations, you’ve reached the final stage of fasting. Before you consider doing this, it’s imperative to understand that a 72-hour fast is a very serious undertaking. If you proceed with it, you must drink lots of water, have plenty of electrolytes, and above all, stop fasting if you start feeling lightheaded or unwell. Based on research, 72-hour fasting can result in a near-complete rejuvenation of the immune system. Fasting triggers stem cell production, prompting the old immune cells to be replaced with new ones. However, when these patients had a fast during chemo, their immune system remained strong throughout the process. Each stage of intermittent fasting comes with different benefits. From those stages, you can pick a window of time fast and stick to it. But one of the common practices is the daily approach, which restricts daily eating to one 6-to-8-hour period each day. Are you now fully on board after learning the things fasting can do to your body?
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