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What is intermittent fasting? And how to do it?

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Although it is a style of diet that has become increasingly popular, its origin dates back to 1973. It is also used as a religious act.

In recent years, more and more different weight loss diets have emerged, but do you know what intermittent fasting is? Although it is a diet style that has become increasingly popular, its origin dates back to 1973 .

The first person to perform intermittent fasting fulfilled it under an exhaustive study , presented obesity and the tests consisted of subjecting the person to a fast that would last 382 days.

During fasting, this person consumed water, coffee, tea and vitamins , so they went from weighing 206 kilos to 81 kilos . This led her to improve her health, including stability in terms of her high blood pressure.

In the same way, it is found that the father of medicine, Hippocrates, considered that fasting was a way to face the disease , he argued that the body had to be deprived of food that would interfere with its recovery process.

In turn, the practice of fasting has also been used as a religious act . However, for today intermittent fasting is proposed as a method to lose weight , but first you must know what it is for? The phases of fasting, the myths and of course how to do it?

What is intermittent fasting for?

  • Putting this type of fasting into practice helps shape the way in which the body assimilates carbohydrates from the diet you eat.
  • It allows to reduce the increase of insulin.
  • Improves the way stress is modulated, providing metabolic benefits.
  • Prevents elevation of insulin and prevents weight gain.
  • It allows the body to rest from food intake for a long time.
  • The pancreas works in a more balanced way.
  • It prevents diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and obesity.

Phases of intermittent fasting

When a person is subjected to intermittent fasting, his body goes through several phases, which are:

  1. Food: A meal is eaten and from those foods the body takes glucose, this is directed to the different tissues including the brain. When there are excess glucose, it is stored in the form of glycogen in the liver.
  2. Post-absorption: This phase occurs in the next 24 hours after eating food when fasting, here the body is forced to take the glycogen reserve that is in the liver to produce the glucose necessary for the entire body.
  3. Gluconeogenesis: When the body already depletes all the glucose and glycogen reserves it needs to form glucose in some way, then it takes glycerol and amino acid molecules to form them and supply the energy demand.
  4. Body fat: Once all the reserves have been exhausted, the organism is responsible for taking energy from the body’s fat, this type of fat releases glycerol molecules and fatty acids. Here two mechanisms are activated:
  • Glycerol, by gluconeogenesis, forming glucose molecules that supplies an energy demand mainly for our brain.
  • On the other hand, fatty acids lead to the formation of ketone bodies that help produce energy.
  1. Body in a state of ketosis: When you have 5% fat in the body, it will give priority to fat as a component that will produce energy.

This activates a series of mechanisms that include the stimulation of growth hormone that is responsible for protecting the muscle, optimizing the priority of burning fat, first.

Doriprilefin hormone is also elevated which keeps the metabolism active and prevents it from slowing down.

How to do intermittent fasting?

If you want to start the practice of intermittent fasting, you should follow the following:

  1. Dietary control: In principle, there must be a control in eating by making changes in the diet and acquiring new habits. All flour and sugary drinks must be completely eliminated.

In the same way, regulate the intake of protein and increase the consumption of vegetable fiber.

  1. Approach: The main thing is to focus on fasting, if it is carried out correctly, the possible fact of presenting insulin dependence can be eliminated as in the case of people with obesity. With fasting this cycle is broken, generating a regulated insulin production.
  2. Fasting periods: The goal of intermittent fasting is to reach 16 or 18 hours a day while fasting, but this has to be done progressively, that is to say, start with short periods for 2 or 3 times a week.

Ideally, the period is completed after dinner to begin the fast during the night to sleep, then skip breakfast and mid-morning snack to start with lunch.

  1. What to eat ?: During the fasting period you should drink liquids such as water, coffee without sugar , tea or a chicken or beef bone broth (from the broth you get an intake of sodium)
  2. What to do during each period ?:
  • There can be an intake of sugary drinks.
  • You have to eliminate the consumption of flour.
  • Regulate protein servings.
  • Increase your intake of high fiber vegetables.
  • Constantly hydrate.

Possible reverse effects

Before starting intermittent fasting, it is important to consider the reverse effects of this type of diet.

  • Possible feeling of hunger.
  • Irritability.
  • Possible reduced ability to concentrate.

These are some of the possible effects that can be reflected when the person is subjected to this eating plan. However, these effects last for a couple of weeks while the brain adjusts to the changes.


  1. Burns the muscles: It is said that intermittent fasting burns the muscles, but in reality if the person is obese this will not happen . It could only happen in case of those who have a low percentage of body fat (they only have 5%)
  2. The brain stops working: Another myth is that the brain stops working, although while going through the adaptation process, irritability and reduced ability to concentrate may occur, this only occurs because the brain is adapted to receive glucose as a source of energy.

But when fasting is done, a change occurs where energy is obtained from fatty acids and glycerol, so it will take a few weeks for the brain to adapt to this change.

  1. The metabolism is slower: If fasting is carried out properly by a professional, the metabolism should not be reduced , on the contrary, the hormone epinephrine is increased, which helps to keep the metabolism active.
  2. It causes hypoglycemia: The reality is that a healthy person who performs intermittent fasting should not have these symptoms , since the cortisol hormone and the growth hormone that is responsible for compensating the sugar levels and preventing them from falling due to the absence of glucose.


Intermittent fasting when it starts can be 3 times a week , but it cannot be continuous days, that is to say that you have to leave a rest day in between where you consume a complete diet.

You can start the fast from the last meal as in the case of dinner, as well as if you want to reach the goal of reaching an ideal weight once you have fulfilled the fast you cannot consume all the meals and foods that you did not consume during the fast.

It is recommended that people suffering from diabetes do not practice this type of weight loss method,  neither adolescents, nor women who are breastfeeding. In addition to always consulting a nutritionist or specialized doctor.

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