For our ancestors a bad hunting day was very rough , they used to starve for days.Also, in case they found something to hunt, they were obliged to put a great effort and walk several miles to eat maybe two or 3 meals a week.Nowadays things have changed, we can order pizza by composing some numbers.
Did you know that your body can take up to 2 months without food? pretty impressive right? So as it looks like, our bodies are made to sustain long-period of hunger and we even made a name for it, we called it ‘Intermittent fasting’.
Intermittent fasting is a popular dietary approach used for weight loss and overall health.it consists of stop-eating for long period of time such as 12/14/16/18 hours followed by shorter periods of eating.It has gained a certain popularity in the last few years among athletes and health professionals due to its positive effect on the body.
So what does science say about it?
Glucose is the main source of energy in our bodies and especially our brains.Glucose levels fluctuate throughout the day from 0.8 to 1.8g/dl called glycemia.As our cells need glucose each second, our body needs a mechanism to store energy for a later use.
Glycogen is the main source of glucose in our body, it’s basically a long chain of glucose as shown it the picture.
It’s produced mainly by liver cells but also other types of cells like muscle cells.Adipocytes are also known as fat cells or lipocytes on the other hand store excess carbs and fats in form of fatty acids to avoid any energy waste as it can be broken down for energy purposes in a process called lipolysis.
and as I said at the beginning this makes sense for the long run.Proteins also can be used as energy source by breaking them down into amino acids and producing glucose in a process called Neoglucogenesis.
Basically, all carbs, fats, and proteins can be used as a source of energy.
It’s 7 am in the morning and you are eating breakfast.As your glycemia begin to rise, your insulin levels begin to rise too, therefore influencing your hepatocytes(liver cells) to store more and more glycogen and your adipocytes to store fatty acids.
So what happens if you suddenly stop eating afterward?
Your glycemia stays high for about two hours and then it begins to drop slowly.At this moment your hepatocytes begin to break down glycogen to maintain your sugar blood levels
After 6 hours, your glycogen levels are almost depleted and your body begins breaking down fats, but fatty acids can’t be used for energy unless they are converted into ketone bodies from Acetyl Coa.Acetyl Coa is a product of glucose breakdown usually 1 Glucose=4 Acetyl COa.
Ketone bodies are produced in the liver and the process is called Ketosis and depending on your fat stocks you can stay on ketosis for as long as 6 to 7 days.
So as you can see, fasting accelerate your body to go into ketosis mode rapidly and you begin to lose weight.Some low carb diets can also promote ketosis but the problem is that today sugar is everywhere and it becomes harder to go into ketosis.
Ketone bodies are very good for the brain, scientists have even found that ketone bodies enhance the memory and attention and strengthen connections between neurons.
A study published in the Journal of Translational Medicine has found that fasting for 8 weeks improves health-related biomarkers, decrease fat mass, and help maintains muscle overall mass, they even noticed an increase of resistance and body strength during these periods.
Another study was done on mice where they give the two mice the same amount of calories but they scheduled the time of eating.One mouse has an available food all the time, while the other has available food for a certain period of time.The result was amazing!
The last mouse show an increased strength, endurance and lower body fats compared to the first one.Hormonal changes are thought to be the main cause of these changes.In fact, after a long period of non-eating, Growth hormone levels begin to rise and its anabolic effect begin to kick off increasing the lean mass (nonfatty).
Intermittent fasting also increases insulin sensitivity thus decreasing the risk to develop type 2 diabetes, decreases atherosclerosis which means a lower risk to develop cardiovascular diseases and even prevent cancerous cells from developing by reducing oxidative stress.
Many studies are still investigating the health benefits of intermittent fasting and the future looks very bright so I guess now is the best time to unlock your ancient mode!
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All The Rest – Wikipedia