What Happens To Your Body When You Don’t Eat (Fast)

What Happens To Your Body When You Don’t Eat (Fast)

September 6, 2019 100 By Jose Scott


Fasting is the new fad, and if you check numerous
forums where people talk about their fasting experience you’ll find it has helped a lot
of people lose weight. You’ll see people talking about how they
tried all kinds of diets: low-carb, the keto diet, low fat, reduced sugar, all kinds- but
for some folks, none of those worked for them. Then they fasted, and the weight came off. On top of that, they talk about mental clarity,
feeling light on their feet, more agile. You can watch David Sinclair, a Professor
in the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School, telling people they should skip meals,
something in the past that was seen as an unhealthy way to live. So what actually happens when you fast, either
doing the short intermittent fasts or the grueling 5-day fasts? Let’s find out. Harvard University is where we decided to
go to find out about intermittent fasting, only because we believe we can trust the school’s
research over some other more dubious health guru websites. Scientists at Harvard, including David Sinclair
who we just mentioned, have done all kinds of tests on rats to see what makes them healthier
or unhealthier. When it comes to fasting, the rats came out
looking pretty good. The results were often the same with any of
the rats on a fast, it would lose weight, and its blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood
sugars would often improve. The U.S. National Institutes of Health agreed
that when rats fasted there were health benefits, including a more efficient energy metabolism. That’s rats, though, not humans. So, what scientists then had to find out is
would humans get the same benefits? Should we give up three square meals a day,
or lots of small meals, and just deprive ourselves of food now and again? Let’s have a look at what happens to the
body when we fast. The experts tell us that when we don’t feed
ourselves for somewhere between 12 and 16 hours our glycogen stores in our liver become
depleted. The body then switches from using sugar as
a source of energy to using fat. If you did a lot of exercise this can also
happen. This metabolic state that happens during this
time we call ketosis, and this brings about changes in the body. Most of us don’t actually reach this state
because we have grown up being told to eat when hungry, don’t go to school on an empty
stomach, or we just put sugar in that morning coffee at the office. Fasting means trying to avoid calorie intake,
although there are some that say a few calories might still keep your body in the fasting
state. That’s debatable, as some say only have
water or tea. As we said, some leading researchers around
the world did lots of tests on rats, allowing some to eat what they wanted and others were
only given food now and again. This is the conclusion we found in one paper
that was published by the National Institutes of Aging. “Emerging evidence suggests that intermittent
dietary energy restriction might improve overall health and reduce risk factors for diabetes
and cardiovascular disease in humans. Our new findings in laboratory animals provide
evidence that similar intermittent eating patterns can enhance the beneficial effects
of aerobic exercise on endurance performance.” You can read a lot of books on why our obesity
crisis happened and the long and short of it all is many people are too sedentary, or
just eat way too much and way too much sugary, processed food. It won’t surprise you that the book “The
Obesity Code” tells people they shouldn’t constantly be snacking and they should try
and eat healthy foods, more veggies, fruits, healthy proteins, and less refined grains,
processed foods and sugar. It’s no surprise that some of the fattest
countries in the world have a snacking culture and a fast-food culture. Still, some people do eat quite well and still
can’t seem to lose weight. It’s as if the body has a certain calibration
and wants to stay at a particular weight. That’s where fasting has helped people. It’s worked where diets have failed. You see, there is some evidence that even
when we restrict our bodies of calories the body thinks oh God, I am starving, and so
slows down and takes what it can from the few calories you put in. Even if you are a big person, if you reduce
calories you might not lose weight because your body goes into survival mode. It slows down its metabolism. If you watch enough Joe Rogan you’ll know
this is an ongoing argument, but what most people do agree on is that fasting seems to
work for most people. But if you look at human studies which had
some people on a plant-based healthy diet and some other doing one day fasts, the results
weren’t much different. Some people lost weight, others weren’t
affected much at all. Then again, there is lots of evidence out
there from people who actually tried fasting and the results for most people were positive. But we’ll get around to that later. Researchers from the University of Alabama
were interested to see if fasting might help people with prediabetes, meaning they were
on their way to getting full blown diabetes. It’s well known that if you eat a ton of
food before you sleep it can increase your chances of getting diabetes. We don’t need to tell you that if you are
very obese because your fingers are hardly ever doing anything other than putting chips,
cookies, all kinds of processed junk into your mouth, you are at risk of getting diabetes. The proof is in the pudding, and America has
a big pie of evidence. In 2018 the U.S. Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention told us that one in seven Americans has diabetes, and while lifestyle is not to
blame for around 5 percent of cases, the vast majority of the remaining 95 percent have
diabetes because of a poor diet and resulting obesity. So, can fasting help? Well, in one study the researchers put prediabetics
on a plan called “early time-restricted feeding.” This meant some participants could only eat
from 7 am until 3 pm and nothing else after or before. The other group could eat between 7 am and
7 pm, a kind of normal timeframe for most people. Both groups actually didn’t gain weight
or lose weight, but those in the 7-3 timeframe showed a drop in insulin levels. They also showed a lower blood pressure, and
another important factor was they just got used to it and showed a decrease in appetite. There is no doubt that this kind of intermittent
fasting has worked for a lot of people, but most researchers do say if you do it also
try and have a healthy diet and healthy lifestyle. Dieting may also help, but the fact is some
people find it easier to just skip meals. Sometimes it’s hard to find healthy food
and sometimes it takes too much time to cook, so fasting is a good option if you want to
try and lose weight without much planning or effort. What about fasting not just for a certain
part of the day, but missing an entire day’s food? The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
published a study from independent researchers who took a bunch of participants and put them
on this one day a week fast for five weeks. It’s conclusion was that indeed people lost
weight, but they were also hungry during that fasting day. It said perhaps adding one healthy meal in
a fasting day would be better. That’s why you’ll hear a lot about 16
hour fasts, 18 hours fasts, 20 hours fasts. Maybe start with the 16 hour fast and build
up to 24 hours. All over the web there is scientific and anecdotal
evidence that fasting can help reduce a person’s weight and also help people with type 2 diabetes. Some evidence also points to fasting increasing
something called the BDNF protein in the brain, which is why some people claim they have enhanced
mental clarity when fasting. Others say that giving the body a break from
food can help reduce pain and inflammation and also help repair cells. Some studies have concluded that chronic pain
can be eased if fasting is done in tandem with a vegetarian diet, while there is some
quite strong evidence that tells us fasting might help with other chronic degenerative
and inflammatory diseases. We found one paper in which scientists wrote
that fasting might help regenerate stem cells and so could have a positive effect on cancer
patients. Studies on animals show that fasting might
even reduce the chances of getting Alzheimer’s disease or heart problems, but so far these
studies have been done on animals so right now we should say it’s only a possibility
it could do the same for humans. We should say, however, that doctors don’t
recommend pregnant women fast, nor malnourished people, nor people with a history of eating
disorders, children, or women who are breastfeeding. Basically, it’s best to do it when you are
an adult and you feel you need to lose some weight or lower your blood sugar. During your fasts, drink lots of liquids,
mainly water, or tea or coffee with no sugar or milk. You can also work out, and don’t worry,
it’s not dangerous to do that according to the health experts. Some people online said they felt great exercising
on their fast, but others have said they felt weak or got a headache. If you do it, take it easy and see how you
feel. As for longer fasting, say 72 hours, most
health experts say such water fasts are best done when medically supervised. We found studies online which did say such
long fasts have helped people who suffer from hypotension. These fasts can help stabilize blood pressure. We must point out, though, that there have
been cases of people dying when doing very long fasts. In 2010 a woman from Florida died on her 21st
day of fasting, so we really advise you to talk to health professionals before embarking
on a long fast. You will find lots of people claiming that
long fasts, often week-long water fasts, can help your cells regenerate and you become
healthier, but a lot more scientific research needs to be done. Some studies have shown that long fasts have
helped people suffering from cancers, heart disease and diabetes, while also promoting
cell re-growth, but as we said, we really think you should check first with a doctor
and ask them what they think about you doing a fast longer than 24 hours. Intermittent fasting, though, from what we
can see, is safe for most healthy people. Just head to any forum and see what people
are saying about intermittent fasting and indeed you will find scores of people saying
that they lost weight, felt more mentally alert, while after fasting they just didn’t
need as much food as before. As one doctor said online, too, his clients
found fasting a lot easier to do than following a strict diet plan. Looking at forums you will find lots of people
saying things like this: “Yes intermittent fasting is very helpful. I have lost 30 pounds, went from 20+% body
fat to 8% so far from just this March. I have been doing it every day since.” There seems little doubt that many people
lose weight when doing these fasts, even just 16 hour fasts. Most people will eat their evening meal early
around 5, and then get through most of the morning without food. While a lot more research needs to be done
concerning all the health benefits, just reading what people say about their fasts online let’s
you know that fasting does work for most people if they want to lose weight, while many people
enjoy how they feel doing the fasts. Have you tried fasting? How was it for you? Tell us in the comments. Also, be sure to check out our other video
I Did 30 Push-Ups For 30 Days And This Is What Happened. Thanks for watching, and as always, don’t
forget to like, share and subscribe. See you next time.