The Life Plan Diet for men begins with a 36-hour fast, which resets your hunger thermostat, increases your fat-burning ability, and helps you break weight-loss plateaus. But there are more surprising physical benefits to fasting.
Perhaps the most straightforward way to lose belly fat is to not eat at all. Don’t laugh: The science of extreme caloric restriction has shown it to be one of the few food-based interventions that extend life span. Researchers at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute reported in 2011 that fasting not only lowers one’s risk of coronary artery disease and diabetes, but also causes significant changes in a person’s blood cholesterol levels. Fasting was found to reduce cardiac risk factors, including triglycerides, weight, and blood sugar levels. Fasting allows the body to use stored fat as a source of fuel instead of glucose. This decreases the number of fat cells in the body, which lowers the likelihood of insulin resistance and diabetes.
Fasting has been proven not only to induce weight loss, but also to give your pancreas a break from producing insulin. According to Dr. Michael Mosley, author of The Fastdiet, during the first 24 hours of a fast your body experiences real change. First, research has shown that fasting may improve mood and protect the brain from dementia and cognitive decline. It also positively affects the body. The glucose circulating in your blood gets burned for energy, and when that’s depleted, the body turns to the muscles and liver and uses glycogen, another form of glucose. When the glycogen has been completely depleted, the body turns to the fat stores, and that’s when you will experience real weight loss. This process is called ketogenesis. When this happens, your brain is getting its energy from ketones, which are the breakdown of metabolized fat. Sometimes you can smell it: The ketone on your breath has the smell of acetone, the chemical in paint thinner and nail polish remover. When you become ketotic, you lose a lot of water weight. It’s like a diuretic that stimulates your kidneys to secrete liquid.
Fasting literally shocks your system: It’s like rebooting your computer after months of its running slowly. It shrinks the stomach and, surprisingly, it eliminates hunger pangs. It also facilitates true sugar withdrawal, which is especially important if you’ve developed a real addiction to carbohydrates. I’ve found that if I can fast for a couple of days I completely lose interest in sugar when I go back to eating, which is a real benefit for being able to maintain this eating plan over the long term. Unfortunately, a prolonged fast is not really sustainable, and ultimately will cause you to lose muscle mass.