Stages of Intermittent Fasting & Their Benefits

Stages of Intermittent Fasting & Their Benefits

Intermittent fasting is a great way to lose weight, improve mental clarity and reduce your cholesterol levels.

This diet plan works by decreasing the amount of time that you eat food. It can be done through the 16:8 method, in which you fast for a period of 16 hours and only eat within the next 8 hours.

You may also go for the 24 hours fast where you skip eating for this duration at least once a week. Other intermittent fasting approaches also exist.

As you restrict the duration of time you eat, you tend to consume fewer calories, which eventually causes you to lose weight. Intermittent fasting also slows down insulin in your body and increases the rate at which your body burns fat.


Stages of Intermittent Fasting & Their Benefits

Several intermittent fasting stages exist, but one of the most useful ones for weight loss is the fat-burning stage. This is technically called ketosis and is what is responsible for success on this diet plan.

According to this study, ketosis is the state where your body relies on fat reserves, not external sources, for sustenance. This makes you lose weight.


Intermittent fasting can yield tangible results if you truly follow the plan. Whenever you break the fast too early or extend your eating window for too long, then you are exposing yourself to reduced weight loss.

If you selected a fasting plan that does not suit your lifestyle, that is, one that denies you energy reserves when you need them, such as in the morning, you are likely to break the fast.

Sometimes you may follow the timings well, but the problem could be the calories you eat. While intermittent fasting is more concerned about when you eat rather than what you eat, you still want to reasonably restrict your calories.

According to this study, the combination of calorie restriction and intermittent fasting caused obese women to lose weight.

Sometimes the opposite may be true. You could be hitting a weight loss plateau on intermittent fasting because you are consuming too few calories.

Your body will adjust to a low-calorie plan by minimizing your rate of metabolism. This means that you will stop seeing results.

You should reduce your calorie intake gradually. That way, your body is always adjusting and causing you to lose weight.

You need to understand the stages of intermittent fasting well for you to monitor how well the plan is working for you effectively.



The first stage is the post-absorptive phase and occurs just 6 to 12 hours after you have had your last meal.

The most predominant aspect of this phase changes in your blood sugar.

When you have not had anything to eat for close to 8 hours, you experience blood sugar dips, as outlined in this research. The symptoms of low blood sugar include fatigue, excess hunger, brain fog, and food cravings.

Most people find this stage to be the hardest and may even break their fast at this point. Being aware of it increases the chances of you remaining on the plan and experiencing tangible results.

After your blood glucose levels have stabilized, you will then start to rely on glycogen for energy.  Glycogen is a form of stored sugar that acts as a fuel source when glucose reduces.

Eventually, your blood sugar levels will stabilize. If you have diabetes, this stage will be useful to you because it will increase your body’s insulin sensitivity, as outlined in this study.


This stage is one of the most important stages of intermittent fasting because it is the point where your metabolism enters into a fat-burning state.

It occurs about 12-18 hours after fasting when the amount of glycogen in your body is increasingly depleted. At this point, the body starts to produce ketone bodies (compounds that emanate when your body is depending on fat as a source of fuel).

The stage is called ketosis, and it often manifests as a reduction in appetite. In fact, one of the most important benefits of intermittent fasting is having the ability to curb your appetite so that you no longer crave foods that will increase your weight.

Among the stages of intermittent fasting, ketosis or the fat-burning stage matters because it is where you will start to lose weight. When your body uses its fats reserves for fuel, you use what is already stored in the body rather than what you eat.

Another bonus of the fat-burning stage is mental clarity. Ketosis helps to activate new brain pathways that elevate your mood and increase your cognitive abilities.


Stage 3 is known as autophagy, one of the stages of intermittent fasting that is self-replenishing. At this point, your body has been on a fast for 24 hours.

Your cells are now getting used to the extended fast. Therefore, they respond by becoming highly efficient.

The result is that your body removes all the damaged and old parts then replaces them with new ones.

This stage is quite helpful to persons with Alzheimer’s because the process helps to rejuvenate brain cells. If you have excess inflammation or are aging, autophagy helps revamp your self-cleaning ability.


In this phase, you will have fasted for 48 hours or so. You will start to experience an increase in the human growth hormone (HGH) level in your body.

This hormone helps foster muscle repair. If you wanted to build muscle, you have to be on an intermittent fast for this long.


It is also the stage where your immune system will be strengthened and rejuvenated.

This often occurs after 3 days or 72 hours of fasting.

When at this stage of intermittent fasting, you will begin to experience an immune system rejuvenation in which your body creates immune cells to replace the ones that are worn out.

This is made possible through stem cells.

It would help if you were cautious of a decline in electrolytes and an increase in thirst. As a way of getting through this period, ensure that you increase the amount of water you are drinking and have enough potassium, magnesium, or sodium.

This way, you will not feel lethargic or nauseous.


Knowing the various stages of intermittent fasting is a pivotal way of understanding what your body requires and experiences. That way, you can manage every aspect and increase your chances of success on this plan.

The first stage is often the hardest because of the reduction in glucose level. You will feel extremely tired and deprived.

Be aware of this and resist the urge to get off the fast.

As you continue to fast, you will find that the process gets easier because you will enter into ketosis; the fat-burning stage. Not only will your appetite reduce, but this likely is where you will lose weight.

Subsequent stages of intermittent fasting help to boost your immunity and replenish old cells.

All these aspects indicate that intermittent fasting is a great way of losing weight and getting healthy.

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