If you have been curious what fasting timeline is right for you, and what results you can expect with different length of fasts, you are in the right place.
In this post, I’ll explain the different stages of fasting (fasting timeline), and the benefits that can be obtained from each stage in the timeline.
As I’ve shared before, fasting is not only effective for weight loss, but it also has additional benefits such as reducing inflammation, improving digestion, reversing insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, and even preventing certain diseases.
There are two main types of fasting: intermittent fasting and extended fasting.
Intermittent fasting involves having a fasting schedule where you fast for a certain amount of time each day.
The most popular variation is the 16/8 method, where you fast for 16 hours (including the time you spend sleeping) and eat all of your calories within an 8-hour window.
However, intermittent fasting can range anywhere from 12 to 24 hours.
Extended fasting, on the other hand, is when you fast for longer than 24 hours. The frequency of extended fasting depends on the length of your fast, and it can be done monthly, quarterly, or even yearly.
Now, it’s important to note that longer fasts do not always equal better results, and frequent extended fasting can lead to diminishing returns, especially for women and those with low body fat percentages.
The stages of fasting begin with the fed state, which is when you have eaten and are digesting food.
After around four to eight hours, your blood sugar and insulin levels will drop to baseline, and your body will start using stored glucose for energy.
At around the 12-hour mark, human growth hormone (HGH) begins to increase, which helps regulate body composition, muscle and bone growth, and sugar and fat metabolism.
Around the 16-hour mark, your body starts to pull from fat stores and produces ketones for energy.
This is when you start burning body fat, leading to weight loss and other benefits such as reduced inflammation, increased mental clarity, stable blood sugar, reversal of insulin resistance, and increased endurance performance.
At around the 18 to 20-hour mark, significant autophagy begins. Autophagy is a cellular process where your body cleans out damaged cells and regenerates new ones. This process is triggered when insulin is low and glucagon is high.
At the 36-hour mark, autophagy ramps up even more, with studies showing an increase of up to 300 percent.
Autophagy can lead to disease prevention, accelerated healing, and increased longevity.
At the 48-hour mark, HGH ramps up even more, up to 500 percent, which further helps with body composition and maintaining lean muscle mass.
Around the 54-hour mark, significant improvements to insulin sensitivity can be seen. Insulin sensitivity is important for glucose uptake and overall metabolic health.
At the 72-hour mark, autophagy peaks, and this is considered the ideal time for most people to end an extended fast.
Beyond this point, there are still benefits to fasting, such as increased stem cell activity, which can regenerate new immune system cells and decrease the risk of cancer and cancer growth rates.
Please remember, that extended fasting should be done under the guidance of a healthcare professional, especially for those with underlying health conditions or who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Additionally, it is crucial to listen to your body and adjust your fasting routine accordingly.
Fasting has numerous benefits for weight loss, inflammation reduction, digestion improvement, insulin resistance reversal, and disease prevention.
The different stages of fasting, from the fed state to autophagy and increased HGH and stem cell activity, offer unique benefits.
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