The Benefits of Intermittent Fasting for Men are Hard to Ignore — Find Your Fasting Window!

Written by Dr. Chris Smith, Updated on January 11th, 2024
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Dieting is simultaneously simple and incredibly complex. The concept of Calories In-Calories Out has long been considered common sense. If you want to drop weight, you need to take in fewer calories than you burn each day.

While this makes sense on a simplistic level, the truth about losing weight is more complicated than that.

There are many interlocking factors that not only contribute to weight loss but to the long-term success of your dieting plan. For example, the type of foods that you eat will affect how readily your body will absorb calories.

The schedule of your meals can also play a major role in your metabolism. For example, there are studies that suggest that eating before bed may be a contributor to weight gain. Many hormones are carefully calibrated to your meal timing as well.

A growing collection of studies suggest that Intermittent Fasting is a highly effective means to lose weight, improve hormone balance, and just feel better.

How Does Intermittent Fasting Effect Metabolic Hormones?

The goal of Intermittent Fasting is to time your meals so that you go for many hours each day without eating (at least twelve). This is highly beneficial to the function of two of your most critical metabolic hormones—Insulin and Human Growth Hormone.

These two hormones work together to provide you the energy that you need for the day, whether or not there is glucose readily available from your diet.

After you eat, your body relies primarily on Insulin to meet your energy needs. Insulin transports glucose where it needs to go. When you need energy, that glucose goes to your muscles. However, when your calories exceed your energy demands, Insulin transports glucose to adipose fat cells for storage.

Human Growth Hormone is also critical to meeting your energy needs, but it is most active when calories aren't readily available from the diet.

When you exert yourself beyond the limits of available glucose, HGH frees stored energy from body fat for use by the body. When you eat too much and too often, this reduces the body's reliance on HGH and leads the body to lean heavily on Insulin.

If you eat too many unhealthy foods (especially foods containing refined carbs and sugars), this can have serious long-term consequences. These foods lead to Insulin Resistance, which is a precursor of Diabetes.

This causes your body to produce even more Insulin, which puts more stress on the Pancreas than it can handle, which leads to weight gain and fatigue in the short term, and can eventually cause Chronic Type-2 Diabetes.

The Science of Intermittent Fasting

During the hours immediately after you eat, your body is less efficient at burning fat. As the liver breaks down carbohydrates, your body is feeding off of a glut of dietary calories. After 3-5 hours or so, your body has broken down available carbs and transitions back to using stored fat for energy.

This flips the switch back to Human Growth Hormone.

Intermittent Fasting helps promote weight loss and Hormone Balance by maintaining the breakdown of body fat for an extended period of time without your body ticking over into starvation mode.

You're still getting the calories you need each day, but you're timing your meals so that your body uses calories from meals more efficiently while also spending more time burning fat.

It's generally accepted that you should consume 500 fewer calories than you need to support your current weight for the most effective weight loss.

Extreme caloric restriction can disrupt Hormone Balance, increase the body's natural resistance to weight loss via hunger hormones such as Ghrelin, and cause your body to favor the burning of muscle over fat.

Fasting Strategies

Researchers are still exploring the benefits and drawbacks of specific Fasting Options. The most popular form of Intermittent Fasting is to only eat during a brief window each day.

A minimum of 12 hours of Fasting is necessary to really get results from fat burning, though many people extend that fast to 16 or 18 hours per day. Another popular fasting strategy is the 24-hour fast.

With this strategy, you eat what you want five or six days per week and go on a total fast the other day or two.

Alternate Day Fasting is considered perhaps the most effective weight loss model for those that can manage it.

During this diet, you eat what you want half the time and go on fast the next day. Just remember, the more intense the fasting schedule, the more important it is to talk to a doctor or other expert about your plans!

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