stages of fasting

Stages of fasting by the hour: All you need to know

February 4. 2022

Intermittent fasting may have started as a weight-loss strategy, but now it is a trendy and widespread lifestyle. It is an eating pattern consisting of abstaining from foods and drinks for a certain time. Fasting consists of a few stages, which all have different effects on your body. What makes fasting convenient and a perfect way to lose weight is that there are no specific foods you should and shouldn’t eat. It is only time-limited, meaning there is only WHEN (and not what) you should eat.

Fasting has been in practice since ancient times. It is also involved in many religions, and it’s done for spiritual reasons. As a result, we are able to function without food for an extended period of time, for much longer than we think.

Different methods of fasting

Besides the stages of fasting, there are three different methods that all have one thing in common: the fasting period, and during this period, you shouldn’t consume any food. These methods are:

The 16/8

This method is also called Leangains protocol. It consists of skipping breakfast and limiting your daily eating to 8 hours which means you fast for 16 hours in between.

Eat-stop-eat

This method involves fasting for the whole 24 hours, once or twice a week

The 5:2 diet

This method involves eating regularly for five days and then for two nonconsecutive days consuming a max of 600 calories per day.

All three of these methods will result in weight loss as long as you don’t overeat during your eating window. If you reduce your calorie intake, you can end up losing even more weight. 

Health benefits of intermittent fasting

It’s well known that fasting has tremendous results in weight loss and weight control, but let’s see other positive effects it has on your body:

Inflammation: it reduces markers of inflammation which can be key drivers of many chronic diseases

Heart health: it improves blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and blood triglycerides

Insulin resistance: it reduces insulin resistance by lowering blood sugar and insulin levels

Brain health: it increases the brain hormone and can aid the growth of new nerve cells

Stages of fasting

When you know the basics, we can get into more detailed research of fasting stages and their benefits.

Stage one: stable blood sugar

About eight hours after eating, you enter stage one of intermittent fasting. At this point, your blood glucose begins to drop, so you might feel hunger, food cravings, and have trouble concentrating. These symptoms pass quickly, so don’t give up! By 12 hours, your body begins to use stored glucose, which stabilizes your blood glucose levels.

Note: This is considered short-term fasting, and it can lower your blood sugar levels but also increase insulin levels. This makes it perfect for people who have type 2 diabetes or any other blood sugar control issues.

Stage two: ketosis and fat burning

After 12 hours of fasting, you may enter the early stages of ketosis. You can reach full ketosis after 16 to 18 hours. Ketosis is a process when your body stops using glucose as a primary fuel and begins burning stored fat. Your liver converts fat into ketone bodies that power your muscles, heart, and brain. This stage has a few benefits that lead to losing weight. First, this stage is ideal for losing weight because you don’t have any food in your system, so your body burns those stored fats. This is linked to a decrease in ghrelin levels which takes us to the next benefit – appetite suppression. Ghrelin is a hormone that makes you want to eat, so the decrease in its level means decreased food cravings. Also, your hunger is starting to settle down during this stage, which means fasting itself is starting to get easier.

Note: If your goal is to lose weight and get rid of stored fat, you can boost the intermittent fasting results with lipo C injection treatments. These treatments are completely safe and give excellent results as they target the stubborn and hardly reachable fat in your body.

Stage three: autophagy and anti-aging

When your body is under extended fasting, the cells in your body become more efficient, and one thing they do is turn on autophagy which means self-eating. During this period, your cells replace everything that isn’t functioning correctly or is damaged and old. So if you’re up for anti-inflammatory or anti-aging benefits, then fasting for a whole day will help.

Stage four: growth hormone and recovery

This stage occurs after 36 or more hours, and it’s a turning point between intermittent fasting and long fasting. After so much time fasting, your growth hormone levels begin to shift. Secretion of HGH is increased as well as the frequency of the secretion. This can help build muscle and speed up the healing process for wounds and muscle injuries.

Stage five: stem cells and immune function

This final stage of fasting begins after a full three days without food. Before presenting all the benefits, we have to note that this is a serious undertaking, so make sure to consult a doctor or weight loss clinic before aiming for this stage. If you go for it, make sure to drink plenty of water tea and fill your body with electrolytes. If you feel lightheaded or unwell, please stop fasting.

As for the benefits of this stage, fasting triggers cell production, which leads to a near-complete rejuvenation of your immune system. This process triggers creating brand new cells that can replace your old immune cells. 

Before the first stage, there is a beginning period called the feeding period. “Feeding” starts immediately after eating. Your meal consists of carbohydrates, proteins, and fat, which means glucose is available. A larger amount of glucose means that insulin signals the body to store some of it, so it can be used when you’re not eating, as glucose is used as an energy source.

Final thoughts

When you know the stages of intermittent fasting, you can adapt fasting to your lifestyle, health, and goals. The longer you’re fasting, the less you need to fill up after breaking your fast, which leads to a calorie deficit, and that’s how and why you end up losing weight. But because you can experience some unpleasant side effects if you fast for too long, try tracking your fasting period to keep your body away from dangerous situations. You can also keep track of your progress.

If you want to see how you and your body react to such a lifestyle, you can try fast mimicking. There are plenty of fast-mimicking diet recipes to try out.

Keep in mind you can schedule a call with us any time if you need help deciding or you want to find more about weight loss diets and programs that suit you.

Nurse Walton

Author

Nurse Walton

Born and raised in Chicago, IL, Chanay received her Practical Nurse licensure and went to work in clinical specialties such as Home Health, Assisted Living, Long-Term Care and Dialysis Centers. Through this work, she realized the importance of diet, nutrition and weight loss among her patients. This led her to open A Better Weigh, Inc. Medical Weight Loss Center in 2009.

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