Intermittent Fasting 101: What Happens In Your Body While You Fast?

Intermittent Fasting 101: What Happens In Your Body While You Fast?

You need glucose or sugar that comes from food, such as fruits, beans, dairy products, grains, and even sweets, to be used by the body as energy. Whenever your body needs energy, the stored glucose in the muscles and liver are released into the bloodstream.

However, this process changes during fasting, wherein the liver uses its last glucose reserves after eight hours, and the body undergoes gluconeogenesis. This process marks the transition of the body into fasting mode.

In this post, you’ll learn what happens to your body when you fast.

What Is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting is otherwise called intermittent energy restriction, which involves following meal timing schedules cycling between non-fasting and voluntary fasting over a given period.

Healthy people should undergo extended fasting for 36 to 72 hours without food twice or thrice a year upon consultation with a physician. It’s called autophagy, wherein the body cleanses damaged cells, so as new, healthier cells will be regenerated.

Here are the three methods of intermittent fasting:

  • Alternate-day Fasting: It is a type of intermittent fasting that involves alternating fasting within 24 hours. It means that you should eat not more than 25 percent of your usual energy needs, which is followed by a non-fasting or “feast day” period the next day. It’s considered the most challenging form of intermittent fasting since the number of days for fasting per week is greater than the feast day periods.
  • Periodic Fasting: It involves consecutive fasting, like the 5:2 diet, wherein you fast one to two days per week. During the fasting period, you can consume 500 to 700 calories per day rather than undertaking complete fasting.
  • Daily Time-restricted Feeding: With this type of intermittent fasting, you’ll only eat in a certain number of hours in a day. For instance, you can skip a meal, such as a 16:8 diet, wherein you have 16 fasting hours and eight non-fasting hours.

Body Effects Of Intermittent Fasting

  1. Weight Loss

Fasting aids in weight loss. Intermittent fasting includes 12-hour, 16-hour, or 24-hour fasting. While some diet plans for fasting require you to drink only water, others allow drinking of zero-calorie beverages.

Even if fasting isn’t necessarily better as compared to other weight-loss methods, you still need to reduce your daily calorie intake for it to be effective. Intermittent fasting can better promote weight loss as compared to traditional calorie-reduction methods.

  1. Intense Hunger

Hunger pangs may result due to fasting because your body is accustomed to utilizing glucose as an energy source. Depriving your body of food could increase your food cravings.

Here are some of the things that happen to the body when fasting:

  • Once you start fasting, the stored body fat will be utilized as energy source after stored glucose in the muscles and the liver are used up.
  • Eventually, your hunger pangs reduce with normal appetite and fewer cravings. However, if you are suffering from bad hunger pains that it already interferes with your everyday life, you can get something to eat so you won’t starve.
Intermittent fasting word on notepad with clock, fork and knife on white plate, weight loss and diet concept
  1. Lower Blood Pressure For Improved Heart Health

Fasting can help lower your blood pressure because of restricted dietary intake, most especially saturated fat, like those found in red meat, butter, cheese, and other animal-based food options. Saturated fat can increase “bad” cholesterol, which can increase risk for cardiovascular disease.

According to a study, 24-hour water-only fasting can improve heart health, which reduces the substrate of trimethylamine N-oxide or TMAO produced by intestinal bacteria that may increase the risk of Coronary Artery Disease or CAD.

Here are the effects of fasting on cardiovascular health:

  • Regulation of blood pressure (lowers blood pressure)
  • Reduces cholesterol levels, most especially bad cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein or LDL levels
  • Reduces weight (obesity is a risk factor for CAD)
  1. Stronger Body

Intermittent fasting proves to be essential for immunity, metabolism, and brain health. It reduces oxidative stress, inflammation, and blood sugar levels. Also, intermittent fasting helps reduce the risk of  diabetes.

  1. Better Skin

Intermittent fasting is thought to have indirect beneficial effects to the skin because of better blood glucose regulation. Also, it improves bacterial flora in the digestive system, which helps improve inflammatory conditions, like acne or pimples and eczema.


Intermittent fasting can help improve heart health, immunity, metabolism, and can promote proper functioning of the nervous system. It aids in weight loss and fat burn, benefiting those who want to shed off some excess pounds. Intermittent fasting can also help improve skin health, as well as your overall well-being.

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