5 Signs You Are Fasting TOO MUCH
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Stalled Weight Loss
For somewhat of an extreme example, a study from the European Journal of Sports Science journal found that young men ate about 650 fewer calories per day when they limited their food intake to a 4-hour period
Not everyone is going to restrict themselves to a 4-hour eating window, but the point is that with a shorter eating window, the harder it is to eat at maintenance, let alone a surplus
Study #1 – The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism
A short-term study found that college women at the University of Virginia who fasted for two days experienced a 75% drop in leptin
Study #2 – Obesity
Another study in obese participants, which involved eight weeks of ADF, found that leptin concentrations were reduced by 21% by the end of the experiment
Lowered T3 is seen with calorie restriction and protein restriction as well – weight loss lowers thyroid activity
If you fast too much then you’re likely not meeting your fuel requirements to properly recover from training
Protein & Recovery/Muscle Growth/Repair
Resistance exercise improves muscle protein balance, but, in the absence of food intake, the balance remains negative (i.e., catabolic)
So if you’re lifting but consuming a lack of protein, your energy needs and tissue regeneration needs will not be met and you’ll speed up the degeneration process
Ding H. et al. Nature Communications 2016 is a very cool study that shows how fasting changes the nature of fat tissue in such a way as to decrease heat production, potentially leading to the feeling of being cold.
One of the main properties of visceral fat is that it can’t “brown” i.e. it doesn’t effectively express the uncoupling proteins (UCPs) that dissipate the mitochondrial transmembrane gradient to produce heat. In brief, the researchers found that fasting decreased the ability to subcutaneous fat to “brown” and produce heat, likely as an adaptive mechanism to conserve energy during a period of caloric deprivation.
Furthermore, fasting appears to preferentially burn visceral fat, the least healthy type of fat, which is great news!
Additionally, burning calories generates heat, so if your metabolism slows down and your thyroid becomes sluggish, then that would mean that slowed-down cells burn less energy, so the body produces less heat overall
Even for those who are experienced fasters, a lack of proper hydration (i.e. if you fast every day and only drink water with no electrolytes, and with not enough electrolyte replenishment during your fasting window) will result in side effects – and if you’re doing this all the time you will become severely mineral depleted
When we have lower insulin levels, our kidneys excrete more sodium, which can lead to a lower sodium/potassium ratio
This isn’t really a direct effect of fasting too much, but fasting does cause gut mucosal atrophy, or a breakdown of the mucus membrane (the absorptive and secretory layer of the GI tract) – so your GI Tract will be more sensitive upon breaking your fast
So when people consistently fast for more than 16 hours and then immediately consume massive meals they’re bombarding their gut with too much food at once – likely the reason why a lot of people report having diarrhea and general digestive discomfort after fasting