Effects of Fasting on Insulin

A decreased insulin level is one of the most consistent hormonal effects of fasting.

All foods raise insulin to some degree.

Refined carbohydrates tend to raise insulin the most and fatty foods the least, but insulin still goes up in both cases.

Therefore, the most effective method of reducing insulin is to avoid all foods altogether.

During the initial stages of fasting, insulin and blood glucose levels fall but remain in the normal range, maintained by the breakdown of glycogen as well as gluconeogenesis.

After glycogen is used up, the body begins to switch over to burning fat for energy.

Longer-duration fasts reduce insulin more dramatically.

Regularly lowering insulin levels leads to improved insulin sensitivity your body becomes more responsive to insulin.

The opposite of insulin sensitivity, high insulin resistance, is the root problem in type 2 diabetes and has also been linked to several diseases, including;

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Abdominal obesity
  • Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (fatty liver disease)
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Gout
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Cancer

Lowering insulin also rids the body of excess salt and water because insulin is well known to cause salt and water retention in the kidneys.

This is why low- low-carbohydrate diets often cause diuresis, the loss of excess water much of the initial weight lost on a low-carb diet is water.

This diuresis is beneficial in reducing bloating and helping you feel lighter.

Some may also note a lower blood pressure.


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