Intermittent Fasting And Testosterone
Intermittent Fasting is an efficient method of controlling calorie intake, and managing both body fat and weight.
Clinical research has also shown that it can be beneficial as a strength enhancer and also in stimulating testosterone release.
For many of us, our morning routine is get up, maybe take a shower and then grab a tea or coffee followed by a sweet treat like a biscuit, or pastry before we get on with our day.
Our body relies on sugars, particularly glucose to provide us with the fuel and energy that we need.
The problem is that if we constantly feed our body, it will not turn to stored fat reserves to burn for fuel, more often than not, any unused sugars in our food will end up being stored themselves, adding to our body fat.
This can and will lead to increase weight, especially if you over eat or have a particularly slow metabolism.
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Fasting has become a popular method of reducing calorie intake, it can take various forms, there are diets like the 5:2 diet, where you eat reduced calories for 2 days out of 7, other methods involve eating inside an 8 hour window, and fasting for the other 16 hours in the day.
The idea behind these is to encourage the body to go into a state known as ketosis (where the body turns to stored fat reserves to burn for fuel).
“But the question here is, does fasting really work, and is it actually healthy?”
In these days of processed and fast foods, obesity is on the rise across all ages. Men in particular are not feeling as vital and energetic as they once were.
The facts are that as we age, our metabolism begins to slow down. Along with it production of certain hormones such as testosterone also decline. – Experts tell us that from the approximate age of 30 onwards our natural Testosterone production reduces by 1-2% per year.
In days gone by, when people just eat fresh foods, and takeaway meals weren’t available, there was not the huge number of overweight people in the world.
People were more active and discounting illness and disease for one minute, were basically healthier too.
Todays modern, processed diets have led us to be a world full of people with slow metabolism, excess belly fat and more prone to certain diseases and health conditions than ever before.
“Intermittent Fasting Can Help”
Before we look at Intermittent Fasting, its important to discover just how the body deals with fats in our diet.
The body stores two key nutrients, Glycogen (from carbohydrates) and Fats. Glycogen proves fuel for our muscles to move and contract.
It is actually our #1 source of fuel, it is readily available in our food and the body processes and uses it very efficiently.
Fats are only burnt for fuel when the supply of carbs has been exhausted.
Any fats in our food that are left over from the fuel burning process are left to be stored. These are effectively a standby source to provide emergency fuel for energy should the body run out of carbs
There has been a lot of hype surrounding the different methods of fasting, but what are the facts?
Lean Body Mass
Research has shown that putting your body into a regular state of fasting has been proven to be very effective and both increasing weight loss and improving lean body mass.
A diet built around fasting has been shown to provide some amazing health and dietary benefits. Its a good way of monitoring calorie intake, managing weight and fat loss.
Studies have also shown that it can help enhance strength and has shown positive effects in the release of certain hormones, in particular testosterone.
In a nut shell, fasting can help increase your natural testosterone production when compared to those eating a regular diet – in particular in obese men.
Research has demonstrated that fasting helps to increase the secretion of growth hormone, this fact is of particular interest to bodybuilders who commonly use fasting to help them grow larger muscles.
These studies also show that in addition to growth hormone, fasting also boosts the release of luteinising hormone (LH) which is direct precursor to testosterone production.
Best Methods For Intermittent Fasting
There are 3 main ways that you can do this.
The 5:2 diet was made famous in a book written by a doctor called Michael Mosley.
He discovered that if you fasted for 2 days per week and eat no more than 600 calories on these days*, you could eat a relatively normal diet for the remaining 5 days of the week and lose good amounts of weight.
*This method has seen some high profile celebrity results and overall it seems to be very successful. However, quite recently Dr Mosley has announced that it’s just as effective if you increase the fasting calorie intake to 800 calories. The original 600 calorie target being very difficult to stick to.
Long standing studies have shown just how effective this method is.
16:8 Method –
This is the most popular and certainly the easiest to follow. Simple to follow, you eat inside an 8 hour window each day and then fast for the remaining 16 hours of the day.
With many of us spending 8 hours asleep each night, we only have to fast for 8 hours while awake.
A suggested time scale is to eat between Midday and 8pm and then do not eat at any other time.
This method can provide some decent results, but it’s not generally as efficient as the 5:2 method
Warrior Diet –
Rather interesting is the warrior diet, this can also be compared to the ‘Caveman or Paleo’ diet, Think of what an ancient hunter or warrior would eat, and just eat one large meal per day, usually between 4 and 8pm.
The meal should consist of meat along with some fruit and vegetables and perhaps a small amount of grains. For the remaining 20 hours of the day you fast.
Intermittent Fasting and Testosterone
Any of the methods above can and should provide you with some noticeable weight loss, increased energy levels and as a welcome benefit, a spike in testosterone production.
If I was to recommend one in particular, it would be the 5:2 method as this is the most researched method and it is certainly proven to be very effective.
On the hormonal side of things, intermittent fasting works because it triggers the release of Growth Hormone and Luteinizing Hormone.
The latter in particular is crucial because it directly triggers the increased release of testosterone from the testes.
And as we all know, testosterone helps to provide increased muscle mass, boost energy and reduce excess body fat.
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