Have you ever thought about staying 24 hours without eating anything? If for some this might seem totally inconceivable, for others this works as a dietary technique. Intermittent fasting can be an effective tool for healthy weight management. It can also improve cardiovascular health and increase energy levels.
The fasting method consists of interspersing periods of absolute fast with periods of regular feeding, with the purpose of making the body to use its fat mass stocks.
However, before talking about intermittent 24-hour fasting and how to do it, it is important to note that this method is contraindicated for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, children, adolescents and people with chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension.
Intermittent fast of 24 hours
An intermittent 24-hour fast, or as they call it Eat-Stop-Eat, consists of staying all day without eating: if the person’s last meal was at 8:00 pm on Monday, their next meal may occur only at 8:00 pm on Tuesday. Thus, you may fast from one breakfast to the next one or from one lunch to the next, for example. Although solid food is not allowed, you can drink water, coffee, and other non-caloric beverages during the fast. You may try to follow this diet one to three times each week, being that twice a week is adopted more frequently.
One of the advantages of this method is the calorie deficit that it promotes. After all, if you stop eating anything throughout the day, your body will stop consuming a good amount of extra calories. On the other hand, some people may experience problems when they go without food for long periods of time, particularly those who suffer from low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia.
Although the goal is to lose weight, the person needs to be careful about feeding on days when he is not fasting. Thus, after the day when you don’t eat anything at all, starting the next day with a stake or burger would make your stomach suffer even more compared to its condition when your typical diet includes such meals every day. Therefore, you should start eating light meals such as yogurt or soup, and in small servings.
How our body reacts to the 24-hour fast
When the body is fasting, several situations occur inside the cells. The first change that occurs is the change in the levels of hormones which turn fat stored in the cells in an energy source, helping to reduce subcutaneous fat. Here are some of the changes that occur in the body when it is fasting:
Increased levels of growth hormone:
Our anterior pituitary gland synthesizes and secrets the growth hormone (GH). It is responsible for stimulating the development and reproduction of all the cells of the body, promoting the growth of tissues, organs and body growth. This hormone is critical to maintaining lean mass and maintaining healthy body fat levels.
Reduced insulin levels:
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas and is responsible for transporting the glucose present in the bloodstream into the cells for use as an energy source. During the fasting period, insulin levels decrease significantly, promoting use of fat as an energy source.
During intermittent fasting, the body induces cellular repair processes. Such processes stimulate the renewal of body cells and also the removal of the waste elements in your organism. Among these processes, autophagy occurs, or “self-eating”, which happens when your body cleans our and repairs damaged cells. So, when you have acne or some kind of skin related problems, 24-hour diet may make the magic of reduction and even eliminating them.
Helps in weight reduction:
In general, intermittent fasting will cause you to eat less, thus reducing your calorie intake. In addition, intermittent fasting accelerates your metabolic rate by increasing the breakdown of body fat, which facilitates its elimination.
Reduces oxidative stress and prevents premature aging of the skin:
Intermittent 24-hour fasting stimulates cell renewal by reducing the oxidative process and fighting free radicals that attack healthy cells. This brings benefits against the aging of the skin and prevents the onset of development of various diseases.
In addition, intermittent fasting increases the body’s resistance to oxidative stress. It also helps to fight inflammation, another determining factor for the development of various diseases.
These are just a few benefits you can get with the help of intermittent fasting. However, it is vital to evaluate the patient’s physical and psychological profile during those feeding windows. From the medical point of view, not eating for 24 hours may be acceptable depending on the patient’s profile, which should be analyzed by professional.