In my search for proven and effective ways to lose weight, I have encountered many approaches to turn the tables and get rid of unwanted fat.
One method I often hear is fasting. In this article, we will talk about fasting, the different ways of doing it, its benefits, and zoom in particularly on 24 hour fasting.
What is a 24 hour Fast?
In fact, Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, is one of the first documented physicians to support the health benefits of fasting. He believed that fasting or abstaining from food for a period of time can help the body heal itself from a disease. Since then, fasting has been a known technique to support a healthy life.
Fasting is practiced for a variety of reasons: to cleanse, detoxify, lose weight, treat a medical condition, and even conform to religious practices. We must remember that the type of fast we choose to do should be appropriate for our level of health, body chemistry, and any special physical need we may have. I strongly suggest consulting with your doctor before embarking on a fasting journey, especially if you are on any medication or have a serious health condition.
What Are the Kinds of Fasting?
1. Intermittent Fasting
This type of fasting has taken social media by storm. People have come forward claiming that intermittent fasting, also known as cyclic fasting, has helped them lose weight. Intermittent fasting is actually a catch-all phrase for eating and not eating intermittently. In fact, through this article, I have come to realize that almost all of the fasting methods stem from intermittent fasting. However, typical intermittent fast times range from 14 to 18 hours.
2. Time-Restricted Eating
With time-restricted eating, you will have to abstain from food for anywhere between 12-16 hours. You will have eating windows, which permit you to eat as much of your favorite healthy food as you want.
It is simple to implement. For example, you finish dinner at 7 p.m., you shouldn’t eat anything again until 7 a.m. If you are feeling extra, you can extend your no-eating time until about 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. I find this the best introductory form of fasting as you sleep during a large chunk of the “no eating” period.
3. 16/8 Fasting
With this kind of fasting, you fast for 16 hours a day and eat the other 8.
4. Alternate Fasting
This kind of fasting will have you severely restricting the amount of calories you consume during the fasting days, then eating to your heart’s content during non-fasting days. While food isn’t completely off the table, you are going to stick to 25% of your normal caloric intake. For example, if you consume 2,000 calories in a day, you will only be allowed 500 during fasting days.
5. 5:2 Diet
Similar to alternate fasting, with the 5:2 diet, you eat normally for 5 days and on the other two, you are only allowed 500-600 calories a day.
6. 24 hour Fast
Lastly, we have the 24 hour fast. I decided to center on this kind of fasting because it seems like a Gordian task! 24 hours without food? A whole day without eating?
Okay, so before you exit this page because of this impossible (and can I just say, nonsensical) thing I’m saying, let me clarify - it’s actually not a 24-hour fasting. It goes like this: You eat dinner at 7 p.m. and then fast until the next day’s dinner at 7 p.m. You do not actually go a full day without eating since you are still taking one meal on that fasting day.
Why 24 Hour Fasting?
The 24-hour fasting has some serious advantages. First, the longer the duration of the fast, the more it is effective. Since you still eat every day, there is no need to skip medications that require food intake like metformin or iron supplements.
I also find it easy to incorporate into everyday life. For me, I always eat dinner with family. I can still do the 24-hour fast without anyone noticing the difference since it really only means skipping breakfast and lunch. If you have an eight-to-five, you can simply drink your usual cup of joe, skip breakfast, do working lunch, and be home in time for dinner. It saves you time and money! No need to rush preparing breakfast or your packed lunch. You can get more things done during your lunchtime, but personally, I would rather nap.
If you are looking to lose weight through this approach, it is best to do this three times a week. I have heard many people saying it’s so simple they have increased it to five times a week, and sometimes even every day. I have yet to try that.
Benefits of 24-hour Fasting
1. Boosts Weight Loss
No one can ever lose weight without cutting down their food intake - that’s a fact. Through fasting, we do not only cut down our caloric intake, but we also learn how to discipline ourselves by not giving in to every hunger pang we feel.
2. Promotes Secretion of Human Growth Hormone
Human growth hormone or HGH is naturally produced by our bodies but remains active in the bloodstream for only a few minutes. It’s been proven to effectively treat obesity and help build muscle mass which is important for burning fat. HGH also increases muscle strength that can optimize your workouts. Put fasting and human growth hormones, you have an effective fat-burning machine in your hands.
3. Normalizes Insulin Sensitivity
When we consume too many carbs and sugar, our bodies can become insulin resistant, which is a precursor to multiple chronic diseases, including type-2 diabetes. Nobody wants to go down that expensive and grueling road, so it is of utmost importance to keep our bodies sensitive to insulin.
4. Normalizes Ghrelin Levels
(When I first read this, it registered as gremlin, just saying.)
Ghrelin is known as the hunger hormone. It is responsible for telling our body that it is hungry. Dieting and restrictive eating can speed up ghrelin production, which will leave us feeling hungrier. I’m not going to lie, you will experience this in the first few days, but this is actually your body normalizing ghrelin levels.
Eventually, you will adjust and not feel hungry just because you are aware it’s your meal time already. Instead, your body will become more adept in discerning if it really needs food.
5. Lowers Triglyceride levels
If there is too much consumption of bad cholesterol, triglyceride levels shoot up. When triglyceride levels are elevated, the higher the risk of heart disease. 24-hour fasting lowers bad cholesterol level, decreasing triglycerides in the process. If you are curious, no, fasting does not affect the levels of good cholesterol in the body.
The benefits of 24-hour fasting are extremely appealing, but I would like to reiterate that it may not be for everyone. Hypoglycemics and diabetics should probably avoid fasting until blood glucose and insulin levels have been normalized. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should absolutely avoid it as it can have negative effects on the baby.
Furthermore, if you are on maintenance medications or have other health conditions, it is best to consult your doctor first to seek clearance and be educated on the proper way of introducing fasting to your lifestyle. However, as seen in most people, 24 hour fasting, or any other type of fasting has been really helpful in managing weight and health.
I strongly recommend taking additional supplements to help with the hunger pangs. I suggest taking Nutra Botanics’ L-Carnitine 5000mg if you are fasting. Since 24-hour fasting does not require total beverage fasting, taking this will not defeat the purpose of your fast. This is a long-standing product that helps suppress hunger and converts body fat into energy. Through Nutra Botanics’ L-Carnitine 5000mg, you will surely last long and stay energetic all throughout your 24-hour fasting.