There’s a reason why fasting is such a great way to lose weight and burn body fat quickly. It’s because of a process called ketosis.
Ketosis is the biochemical process that allows us to burn fat – including body fat – for energy instead of sugar and carbs. That’s important when you’re trying to lose weight. Unfortunately our body can only do one. It can either burn sugars (including carbs and protein which is converted into sugars) or it can burn fat. As long as there’s a source of sugar to burn for energy, your body won’t and actually can’t touch its fat reserves.
The process is controlled by a hormone – insulin. As long as insulin is present, your body can turn the food you eat into body fat, but it can’t pull any out to burn it for energy. Insulin goes up for a few hours after we eat. Here’s how the process works in a healthy person that eats three meals a day.
You have breakfast. Insulin goes up and any food that’s not needed for energy is converted to body fat. A few hours after the meal, your insulin goes down and you start to burn the fat before it’s time for lunch. Rinse and repeat for lunch and dinner and since we don’t eat for at least 8 or 9 hours at night, we burn through the extra body fat at night.
Now what happens when you’re eating 6 smaller meals or snack throughout the day? Or what if your body has become insulin resistant, meaning you have to produce more and more insulin to get the job done and said insulin takes longer to clear out of your system? You rarely get insulin low enough to allow your body to burn body fat.
The solution is to stop eating carbs and limit proteins for long enough stretches of time to allow insulin to deplete. That’s when your body goes into ketosis and starts to burn body fat. It’s why low carb diets work and it’s also why intermittent fasting is one of the easiest and quickest ways to shed the pounds.
Fasting and Ketosis
We all go into ketosis at night when we sleep. We burn fat during that time before we sit down to eat breakfast. And guess what happens if you extend that fasting window by a few more hours and don’t eat until noon, or even 2pm. Your body stays in fat burning mode.