Many forward-thinking practitioners agree that while calories count, where those calories come from count way more because they influence fat-regulating hormones.
Interestingly, most intermittent fasting studies don’t restrict calories, so how can it help you lose weight?
For one, as you fast your body eventually shifts from glucose to ketones as its primary fuel. In other words, your body literally burns fat for energy, especially if you’re not gorging on sugary, processed foods when you eat and focus on healthy fats, protein, and lots of high-fiber plant foods that optimize your hormones.
Intermittent fasting further improves these fat-regulating hormones, including:
- Insulin: Insulin is a storage hormone. When it stays elevated beyond its prime, it stores fat really well. A lower-sugar diet combined with intermittent fasting works beautifully to normalize insulin. One study found alternate-day fasting (ADF) improved insulin sensitivity to increase fat burning.(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15640462)
- Norepinephrine: Adrenals-secreted norepinephrine turns up things like arousal, alertness, and attention. It shouldn’t always be “on,” but in the case of fasting, it can benefit you. One study found fast-induced increased norepinephrine lowers glucose and boosts your metabolism. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10837292) (Participants got those benefits fasting one to four days.)
- Growth hormone (GH): This hormone’s benefits include fat burning and muscle building. Growing older decreases GH,(8) but intermittent fasting can work in your favor here. Researchers found two days of fasting increased GH five-fold.(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1548337 )
- Ghrelin: This stomach-secreted hunger hormone cranks up your appetite and tells your brain to eat: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11739476) Not necessarily good if you’re trying to lose weight, but remember no hormone is entirely good or bad. Ghrelin can also increase GH release,(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10604470) which is definitely a good thing.
- Cortisol: Your primary stress hormone protects you in the short run (it certainly saved our Paleolithic ancestors from hungry saber-tooth tigers), but cortisol should do its job and chill out. One study found folks who did intermittent fasting had decreased cortisol levels,(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17413096) yet too much fasting (over 24 hours at a time, especially if you’re a novice) could potentially stress your adrenals. (More on that in a minute.)
To your Health, Results and Success!
Lynn Thier – Your Mental Fitness Trainer & Fat Loss Expert!
About: Lynn Thier will get you there ~ with practical cutting edge methods for making positive shifts & change happen. Owner of Peak Performance Academy, Lynn teaches and consults on how to get mentally fit in sport, business and life. Lynn offers seminars, training’s and programs as well as Board Certifications in NLP Coaching, NLP Techniques, Hypnosis & Time Line Therapy(R).