Intermittent Fasting and Weight Loss
There are SO many benefits to intermittent fasting that go far beyond weight loss. At The Natural Path, this is one method of eating that I encourage all of my patients on my weight loss programs to try! The truth is, we are in bodies with an older genetic code. The people who came before us did not have food on demand and were a lot more active than we modern day humans are! We can thank cell phones, computers and other electronic devices for leaving us more sedentary for hours each day.
Until the last 150 ish years, most people lived a “feast or famine” lifestyle. It was not uncommon for them to go 2 or more between meals until they could afford to buy more food or until they could find another animal or plant to eat. They surely were not having Door dash come by multiple days per week. Of all developed nations, we find the population in the US to be the most unhealthy. WHY? Well, if you ask me, I feel very strongly that it has to do with our food intake. Eating food from packages for multiple meals per day has resulted in a myriad of health issues, such as diabetes, obesity, hypertension, heart disease, and so many more.
In my clinical experience, it is a privilege to know how to eat well. Unfortunately, so much of what I see about the “proper” way to eat is riddled with false information. The sad, inconvenient truth is that our bigger industries, including the food industry bow down to the all mighty dollar over human health (not all, but many). The more of their packaged foods that we eat then the more their business grows. Even in the 1970’s people ate 2-3x/day and snacking was not really a “thing.” Today, we find people eat for 16-18 hours a day and sadly most of this food has low nutritional density.
Let’s Talk about Insulin (Resistance)
Have you ever taken something for some time and then needed MORE of it to have the same effect? The same thing happens with insulin. When we eat a diet high is sugar/carbs, our pancreas is signaled to release insulin. The insulin attaches to the sugar in our blood and transports it into the cells where it is used for energy or stored as fat. Insulin is also known to take the sugar molecules into the liver where they are linked into long chains called glycogen. Glycogen is then stored in the liver where it can be accessed as a source of glucose when needed. Once glycogen reaches max capacity in the liver, the glucose is then converted into fat tissue. This fat is a “fuel source” for later! Many Americans today are stuck in this cycle of high blood sugar–> high insulin–> fat storage. In order to break this cycle, we need to lower insulin levels chronically!
When this process occurs in excess, we gain weight.
It only makes sense that if we want to reverse this process, we have to lower insulin.
Lowering Insulin Levels with Intermittent Fasting
From all the literature I have reviewed in the past few years, it seems fasting is by far the most potent tool we have to lower the insulin levels in our body. Fasting has been practiced by most all religions and cultures through history. The ancient Greeks saw fasting as a natural remedy for illness. Fasting helped with mental clarity and purification of the body. Even 2000 years ago, Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine was using fasting to help with obesity. I am very thankful for Dr. Jason Fung for bringing fasting back into the research.
The Many Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Fasting has been shown to:
Fasting also has many logistical benefits. Once you ADAPT to the fasting regimen the benefits really begin to take hold. Our bodies many need to take time. I suggest starting with an 8 hour eating window daily and a 16 hour fasting window and letting your body get used to it. You will be amazed at how much time is freed up and how much more sustained your energy can feel. Give it a try!
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