Looking to use Intermittent Fasting to decrease hormonal belly fat? Today, we're diving into everything you need to know about Intermittent Fasting for hormonal belly fat.
Which Intermittent Fasting Is Best For Hormonal Belly?
There are a variety of different Intermittent Fasting methods that can be used -- and this first step is crucial for specifically addressing hormonal belly fat (aka visceral fat). The two main forms of fasting include Alternate Day Fasting and Time Restricted Eating.
Alternate Day Fasting (ADF) is a method where you fast for 24 hours, then you eat "normally" for the next 24 hours. In essence, you fast for a full day, every other day.
Time Restricted Eating (TRE) is a method where you fast for shorter periods of time every day. Common examples of Time Restricted Eating include fasting for 16 hours and eating for 8 hours (16:8) or fasting for 12 hours and eating for 12 hours (12:12).
At first glance, it might seem that the longer fast should win when it comes to decreasing belly fat. However, one recent 2021 study found that in rats, ADF resulted in decreased lipolysis (aka fat breakdown) in belly fat.(1)
On the flip side, a study done in humans using TRE with a daily 16 hour fast found an increase in fat breakdown and a reduction in belly fat.(2)
If you're looking to lose belly fat with Intermittent Fasting, the TRE method has been shown to be more effective.
However now you have to choose which method of TRE will be best for you. Check out my free Intermittent Fasting Schedule Quiz below to determine your Intermittent Fasting Schedule.
Will Intermittent Fasting Get Rid Of Belly Fat?
As noted with the studies above, Intermittent Fasting can aid in a reduction in belly fat (with the proper Intermittent Fasting Schedule). But why is that?
Insulin is the storing hormone and when it's high, the fat burning process called lipolysis is turned off. In fact, consistently high levels of insulin have been directly tied to weight gain around the belly.(3) Intermittent Fasting has been found to decrease fasting insulin levels.(4) While fasting, insulin levels naturally dip back down and fat burning is able to turn back on. This balance of insulin levels with fasting is likely the key component to why Intermittent Fasting is helpful with belly fat loss.
However, if you break your fast with a meal that greatly spikes insulin, then this has the potential to reverse any progress made with the fast. Foods that greatly spike insulin include those rich in starches and sugars (think honey, grains, sugary drinks and potatoes).
In order to double down on the insulin balancing perks of Intermittent Fasting, it's crucial to break a fast with a meal that's rich in protein, fat and fiber while also being lower in sugar and starches.
How Do I Get Rid Of Hormonal Belly Fat?
Intermittent Fasting can help address one of the major hormones that have been tied to weight gain around the belly -- insulin. But there are other factors outside of fasting that can contribute to a balance in the storing hormone insulin.
1. Reduce Sugar Intake
Sugar is one of the biggest drivers of the storing hormone insulin. Sugar can be quite sneaky, too! Be aware of foods that are high in sugar like sweetened yogurts, fruit juice, green juices, protein bars and sweetened coffee/tea.
2. Improve Sleep Quality
Poor sleep quality has been found to increase insulin resistance the very next day. It also increases cortisol, the stress hormone, which has been tied to weight gain around the belly.(5) You can prioritize high quality sleep by following the "no tech time rule": no TV, phone, laptop or computer 1 hour before bed. Lights from electronics trick your brain into thinking it's day time out, which shuts off the sleep hormone melatonin. By limiting the tech, this naturally allows melatonin to increase and helps improve sleep quality.
3. Walk More
And specifically outside. Walking is a low intensity exercise that does not greatly increase the stress hormone cortisol. Plus, being outside in nature has been found to help naturally reduce the stress hormone cortisol.(6) Try and take a morning 20-30 minute walk during your fast to double down on the fat burning perks!
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Keto Coffee Cheers,
Autumn Elle Nutrition