How Does Intermittent Fasting Work? [Rules, Schedule + Tips]

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How does Intermittent Fasting work? Why is it a useful tool for weight loss and what are the Intermittent Fasting rules that you must follow to see results? Today, we're diving into how Intermittent Fasting works so that you can jump straight into your Intermittent Fasting journey.

how does intermittent fasting work

How Intermittent Fasting Works

What is Intermittent Fasting and what does it do to your body? Intermittent Fasting tells you when to eat, not what to eat. And when you eat can have a big impact on your health and wellness goals. Eating less frequently (but not necessarily less food) can help reduce how often the body is releasing the storing hormone insulin. Insulin is released when we eat and it shuts off the fat burning process (called lipolysis) while turning on fat storing. So by not releasing insulin as frequently (by incorporating Intermittent Fasting), it can allow for more time in the "fat burning" state.(1)

A gut cleaning system is also turned on while fasting. This gut cleaning process is called the Migrating Motor Complex (MMC). When you're in a fasted state, the MMC is turned on. When you eat, it turns off. The MMC helps to flush out left behind food and bacteria from the GI tract. When the MMC can't turn on (from snacking throughout the day), this can potentially lead to bacterial overgrowth in the GI tract and result in bloating or even SIBO.(2)

By using a daily Intermittent Fast, it can help to keep insulin from spiking as frequently while also turning on the gut cleaning process.

Related: How to START Intermittent Fasting [Intermittent Fasting Schedule Quiz!]

how does intermittent fasting work

The Rules For Intermittent Fasting

The rules for Intermittent Fasting are quite simple: you fast during your "fasting window" and you eat during your "eating window". But what does it mean to "fast"? And how do you pick your "eating window"?

There are two main types of Intermittent Fasting:

  • True Fast

  • Fasting Mimicking

A "True" Fast is where you only have water, electrolytes and perhaps black coffee or unsweetened tea during your fast. And that's it. This allows you to get all of the discussed perks of Intermittent Fasting. However, a True Fast isn't always the best option for everyone.

Then there's "Fasting Mimicking". With this type of fast, you still follow the same basic "fasting" and "eating" window rule. The main difference is that you can be a bit more flexible with what you have during the fast. The goal with this type of fast is to keep the storing hormone insulin from spiking during the fast. This means you can have a small amount of liquids/ingredients that don't spike insulin while you're fasting.

Related: What Breaks a Fast?