It sounds strange right? Gaining muscle by not eating! Well, let the truth be told! Fasting while helping you shed some extra kilos (obviously) also helps you to gain muscles, regulate insulin levels (Fat storing hormone) and boost your growth hormone, which helps in building muscle.
It is in fact, the most effective and cheapest way to achieve all this. I mean, you don’t have to invest a fortune on a diet, supplements and gym subscriptions, spend time in the kitchen cooking and still reap some serious benefits.
That’s a win-win situation right? Then why is it so underrated? Well, because there’s no money involved in it. You are not buying any expensive product, equipment or diet plans. You are not adding to the multi-billion dollar business that runs in the name of health. Naturally it gets the slack of the health connoisseurs.
By 1980, the government’s newly set dietary guidelines started asking us to eat small but frequent meals in a day which contained more carbs and fewer fats. With their half baked knowledge and biased preferences, they demonized fat, promoted carbs, and caused the obesity rate to go through the roof.
This health mayhem it’s not gonna stop unless we take the matter in our own hands. By the end of this blog you’ll understand how excess insulin promotes fat gain. Please stick around as a lot of science and valid explanations are coming ahead (in simple words, I promise).
Topics To discuss:
What is Intermittent fasting and hunger?
What is Insulin (Fat storing hormone) & how it works?
What is Glucagon (Fat burning Hormone) & how it works?
What is Intermittent fasting and hunger?
Intermittent fasting is simple. You don’t eat for at least 16 consecutive hours in a day. This seems like a radical idea considering that we have been told to eat every two hours, eat six small meals to lose weight and that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
Unsurprisingly hunger is the number 1 concern when it comes to fasting. So, let’s take a look at how hunger works so we can better deal with it.
“We often fear what we do not understand; our best defense is knowledge.”Tim Russ
Dr. Jason Fung mentioned one of the many studies which depict a group of people who were put on three days fast. They were without food for 3 days and what they saw was surprising. The hunger hormone ghrelin gradually but continually decreased, which means the subjects were less hungry despite not eating for 3 days straight. Their hunger was completely down-regulated. Another Study from Medical University of Vienna shows the same equivalent results.
Ghrelin (hunger hormone) fluctuates, it’s never steady. You don’t get progressively hungrier the longer you go without eating your body adapts to your REGULAR eating pattern. So you’ll usually feel hungry during your mealtime (biological clock) and if you skip it after while you’re no longer hungry. Ghrelin has moved down by now.
What is Insulin (Fat storing Hormone) & how it works?
If you want to stay healthy and live longer, you probably want to keep your insulin low. Higher level of insulin correlates with fat gain. You can not GAIN FAT if insulin is low and you can’t LOSE FAT if insulin is high.
So when you eat insulin rise up. Now, different food will give you a different insulin spike and dietary fat especially SATURATED FATS has very minimal response to insulin. Fiberless carbs provoke massive rises in insulin. So carbohydrates that we were told to eat for weight loss are actually causing us to GAIN FAT. And dogma of FAT will make you FAT sounds ludicrous!
Insulin’s prime role is to absorb and store nutrients. After about four to six hours after you eat, insulin levels will have gone down, and the glucose level in your blood starts to decrease, this prompts the pancreas to secrete glucagon (Fat burning hormone)
The excess level of insulin will make you FAT and the excess amount of Glucagon will burn your FAT. These hormones can’t function simultaneously either of one has to lower down for others to function. Let’s see what is Glucagon and how it works.
What is Glucagon (Fat burning Hormone) & How it works?
Insulin stores food energy, but glucagon pulls that energy out from your glycogen and your fat stores and uses it for energy. Glucagon sounds like a friend in need. So what activates your Glucagon levels? Well the most suited question to ask is what doesn’t?
You’re eating every two hours and getting six small meals a day and its predominantly SUGAR and CARBS and a negligible amount of Dietary fats. This means a constant insulin spike. You never let glucagon do its job and your body never starts burning into your glycogen or your fat stores. Not a good strategy for losing weight.
Insulin needs to be low for glucagon to use your glycogen or fat stores for energy. With high insulin, you have no access to your stored energy. So it makes sense for extra insulin to promote hunger as the only way you can get new energy is to eat and raise your blood glucose.
Insulin is not an evil thing. It is important for human survival. Without insulin we could die. But excess insulin, Hyperinsulinemia, is also dangerous to health.
If you’re eating every two hours, you’re constantly pumping out insulin. This explains why you can eat a bowl of cereal for breakfast or a huge plate of pasta for lunch and be hungry in just an hour or two.
So even after all carbohydrates are processed after the meal, Insulin takes another 3-4 hours for insulin to come back to its normal level.
Intermittent fasting shows that Ghrelin (the hunger hormone) fluctuates continuously during the fasting stage.
Small and frequent meals of carbs and sugar cause insulin to go through the roof and make you gain fat.
While fasting, glucagon (Fat burning hormone) suppresses hunger by lowering insulin (Fat storing hormone) and is burning primarily body fat for energy and your body enters the state of ketosis.
We want to aim for higher glucagon levels and lower insulin levels which can efficiently be achieved by fasting and by following a keto diet. Keto options that are low in carbs and high in fats and protein will allow the insulin to stay down. Fat loss and muscle gain in keto are highly appreciated.
Meat, Chicken, Eggs, Fish, Paneer, Dairy, Ghee & butter are high in essential fats and first-class protein and lower in carbs which will not spike insulin and help you built muscles.
I’ve explained how you can lose fat on fasting. In the next blog I’ll explain the science of how fasting helps in building muscles and discuss what food to eat in detail.
Some people have already received better results with a low-carb high-fat lifestyle. Click here to view. I’m posting this link for Authenticity to give you confidence that this diet definitely works.
Our work has also been review by some of the PHDs, MDs, Surgeon, Nutritionist worldwide who has been part of Low carbs industry for while now. Click here to view.