12 Surprising Benefits of IF on a Low Carb Diet

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Use intermittent fasting to live longer, look younger and stop stress.

Maximize Your Low Carb Diet

When it comes to fasting, low carb dieters have advantages:

  • stable blood sugar levels stave off hunger
  • ketosis maximizes fat loss

Choosing the right type of exercise increases health through a type of beneficial stress. The body responds to the stress of calorie changes, becoming stronger and healthier.

IF Isn’t New

Humans have become healthier using irregular meal schedules long before grocery stores and modern food preservation made three meals a day possible.

Intermittent fasting involves skipping an occasional meal or adjusting when we eat most of our daily calories.

 

Intermittent Fasting is Easy on Low Carb

Being on a low carb diet makes intermittent fasting relatively easy:

When eating low carb foods, your energy levels don’t spike and crash with every meal, so you shouldn’t experience mental fogginess or feel overly exhausted during a fast.

Instead, meals will give a satisfying energy boost.

 

IF is the Ultimate in Flexibility

Practicing intermittent fasting (or IF) means incorporating regular periods of fasting into your meal schedule.

The IF schedule is very flexible.

Some people fast for a 24 hour period once or twice a week.

Others try shorter but more frequent fasts by restricting their daily caloric intake to a window of four to eight hours.

Drink zero-calorie liquids during the fasting hours to boost energy levels and prevent dehydration.

 

Adjust the Fast to Fit Your Exercise Style

Intermittent fasting actually improves athletic performance, as long as you limit the amount of time you spend fasting.

Extended periods of fasting are not usually recommended if you are exercising intensely.

There are, however, techniques for fasting and exercising that can produce dramatic results.

 

Low to Medium Intensity, Endurance Exercise

The benefits of fasting for endurance athletes come from a two-part approach: training during a fasted state, and competing during a fed state.

Training during a fast improves performance by forcing the body to adjust to lowered glycogen stores. This adjustment results in the body using glycogen more efficiently.

Training while fasting also stresses the metabolism and the muscles, forcing the body to compensate. As a result, the muscles become stronger.

This sets up a huge boost when competing in the fed state– the body now maximizes it’s pre-workout fuel.

 

High Intensity, Short Duration Exercise

Short-term fasting is also beneficial for power training. Intermittent fasts lasting less than 24 hours will not cause muscle loss or prompt your body to enter starvation mode as long as you consume adequate calories and protein when you are eating.

For example, if you are eating 1,500 calories per day, a typical (easy) fasting schedule might include a 300-500 calorie breakfast, followed by an all-day fast. Eat remaining daily calories during a healthy, late meal.

Weightlifting while fasting offers even more advantages. During a fast, the body uses protein more efficiently, giving a boost to muscle growth. Eat lean, healthy proteins to gain lean mass without adding fat.

 

Lose Weight, Feel Satisfied and Gain Control

Deliberate intermittent fasting is a powerful weight loss tool. Fasting involves restricting calories and reduces hunger.

Many people feel a reduction in hunger while fasting, and a feeling of accomplishment when they end the fast with a healthy, satisfying meal.

While fasting, there is less calorie counting, less fixation on eating meals and less opportunity for overeating.

Hormonal changes involved in fasting also promote weight loss, even if you don’t restrict your daily calories. Fasting lowers the body’s levels of insulin, releasing more stored body fat. When insulin levels fall, the body uses it’s stored fat for energy.

Fasting increases catecholamines, hormones that cause the body to use energy at a faster rate. This makes fasting a particularly useful tool for dieters, since it promotes the loss of fat specifically, allowing you to keep your muscle mass.

 

Fight Disease and Live Longer

The body responds to the stress of fasting in remarkable ways that promote health and longevity. Fasting helps fight disease.

Cells experience the stress of the fast and go into a type of survival mode, giving them an increased resistance and advantage over unhealthy cells.

Regular fasting decreases low-density lipoprotein, or “bad” cholesterol. It’s also thought that fasting may improve the way your body metabolizes sugar.

This reduces your risk of gaining weight and developing diabetes, the two greatest risk factors for heart disease.

 

Look Younger and Reduce Stress

Fasting reduces oxidative stress. Oxidative stress damages the cells with a harmful build-up of oxidized protein.

Medical professionals associate the effects of aging with this type of stress. Fasting helps the cells reduce these oxidized proteins and allow the cells to work in a healthier way.

 

Increase Brain Function and Cell Repair

Fasting increases the brain cells’ ability to repair themselves, purge toxins and eliminate waste material.

Fasting encourages the body to release more of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).

These proteins support healthy brain function and prevent degenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease.

 

Find Your Body’s Natural Rhythm Again

Intermittent fasting helps stabilize circadian rhythms. Circadian rhythms are more strongly tied to eating patterns than to light exposure.

Planning a fast on your trip helps beat jet lag by resetting your internal clock to the new time zone.

 

Make the Fasting Decision

Most healthy adults on a low carb diet should have no trouble with an occasional, intermittent fast.

But before adding IF to your routine, make sure your body has fully adjusted to eating low carb.

This amount of time is different for everyone. Fasting is not recommended for unstable conditions.

You should not feel sick, dizzy, or inexplicably exhausted during a fast. If you do experience these symptoms, have a small snack, or adjust your fasting hours to include a light breakfast of 100-300 calories.

Allow yourself to adjust to the low carb food changes in your diet. Work on getting enough sleep and reducing chronic stress if possible. Then consider adding intermittent fasting to your routine.

Fasting stresses the body, so it can do more harm than good if you’re already under any kind of chronic stress. Consider postponing the fast if you are experiencing any of the following:

  • fatigue or feeling very sleep-deprived
  • suffering the physical effects of training too hard
  • chronic lifestyle stress from family or work issues
  • are leptin resistant
  • having blood sugar problems

Intermittent fasting improves athletic performance, benefits health, leads to faster weight loss and is easy to practice.

If your body is healthy and able to handle the added stress, IF is a great way to maximize your low carb diet results.

 

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