Around the celebration of World Health Day, the BYS Family are pushing our bodies to the limit yet again to bring you the downlow, as we tackle one of today's most popular bio hacks – fasting!
There are plenty of intermittent fasting methods to suit all experience levels, but we’ve committed to a 24-hour fast. The good news is that we can still enjoy our BYS Coffee - after all, that's what matters, right? 😉
So let's take a deep dive into why we chose to tackle 24-hour fasting, and discuss all of its potential benefits.
FIRSTLY, WHAT THE HECK IS 24-HOUR FASTING?
A 24-hour fast is a type of intermittent fasting that is exactly what it sounds like: a fasting method that involves going completely without food and calorie heavy beverages for 24 hours (water and black coffee are OK!). Individuals typically use the 24-hour fasting method once a week or a couple of times per month, depending on their health goals.
So why on earth would someone want to do this? Well, there’s a load of science-backed research around why intermittent fasting could be good for your overall health...
IMPROVE BLOOD LIPID LEVELS 🩸
Fasting has been associated with a significant decrease in blood lipids such as cholesterol and triglycerides. According to a 2015 study, the 24-hour fasting method has been linked with a 5-20% drop in total cholesterol and a 17-50% drop in triglyceride levels.
REDUCE BRAIN FOG 🧠
When you fast, your body burns fat stores for energy, releasing substances known as ketones into the bloodstream. Ketones are commonly known for their weight loss effects, but they also stimulate the release of a molecule called BDNF, which may aid in the formation and strengthening of neural connections in parts of the brain important for learning and memory. Other research has also revealed that fasting may cause comparable changes in the brain as much as exercise does.
PROMOTE GOOD GUT HEALTH 🦠
A study indicated that a 24-hour fast increased the amount of beneficial bacteria in the gut microbiome. In other words, fasting gives the digestive system and the gut a break from the continuous process of breaking down food.
IMPROVE INSULIN RESISTANCE 🍭
Through reducing levels of leptin, the hormone generated by fat cells to control appetite, and boosting adiponectin, a hormone that plays a role in glucose and lipid metabolism, fasting may help lower fasting blood glucose and improve insulin sensitivity. According to a 2021 study, individuals randomised to the 24-hour fasting method improved their insulin resistance scores by 32.5%, whereas the control group improved by 3.7%.
ASSIST WITH WEIGHT LOSS BY REDUCING CALORIE INTAKE 🔥
Weight loss in conjunction with regular 24 hour fasts has arguably the largest volume of scientific-based evidence. When you fast for 24 hours, your body uses up the majority of its glycogen stores. Glucose, which is stored in your body as glycogen, is the primary source of energy for your body. After depleting all glycogen reserves, your body begins to burn fat for fuel. The most recent research found that individuals who followed a low-calorie diet and engaged in 24-hour fasts up to two times per week for 12 to 24 weeks achieved body weight reductions of up to 9% when compared to control groups. Of course if your health goals don’t include weight loss, just ensure you are eating at a caloric maintenance or surplus during your non-fasted period.
TAKE HOME MESSAGE
Everyone is different, and no two bodies are the same. The 24-hour fast is a more demanding fasting approach, especially for beginners, so consider starting with shorter fasting periods and working your way up. If the idea of fasting deliberately makes you uneasy, or if you are unable to function without breakfast then it’s probably not for you. But if you are up for a challenge packed with benefits and it aligns with your health goals, go for it!
Disclaimer: As with any significant dietary or lifestyle change, always speak with your General Practitioner before beginning any fasting regimen.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brianna-lee is a qualified Nutritionist with a diverse and extensive portfolio career and qualifications in Nutrition, Psychology, Fitness/Pilates, and Business. She has spent the last ten years working in the Health and Wellness industry and alongside allied health professionals. Brianna-lee is passionate about health and integrating modalities to educate individuals on achieving optimal health and long-term wellness. She was also a recipient of ANTA National Bursary Award 2022 for her academic excellence.