Does Intermittent Fasting Increase Cortisol?
Intermittent fasting has become an increasingly popular way to lose weight, and many people are wondering if it causes cortisol levels to increase. The short answer is yes, fasting can cause an increase in cortisol, the body’s main stress hormone. But before we delve deeper into this subject, let’s take a look at what cortisol is and why it matters.
What is Cortisol?
Cortisol is a hormone released by the body in response to stress. It can help regulate metabolism, boost energy levels, and maintain blood sugar levels. It can also have a negative impact on your health if it is produced in excess. High cortisol levels are linked to insomnia, weight gain, depression, and other health conditions.
Does Intermittent Fasting Increase Cortisol?
Studies have shown that fasting can increase cortisol levels, with a very strong effect seen in those who fast for extended periods of time. VLCD (very low calorie diets) and LCD (low calorie diets) have not been found to cause significant increases in cortisol, however. A meta-regression analysis also showed that cortisol levels increased in those who fasted for 16-24 hours, with a small decrease in those who fasted for longer periods of time.
Cortisol has the effect of raising blood sugar, so those with blood sugar regulation issues may find that fasting can make the problem worse. In addition, men are less prone to increased cortisol levels due to fasting than women.
Why is High Cortisol a Problem?
High cortisol levels are linked to a number of health issues, including:
- Weight gain
- Cardiovascular disease
- Impaired immunity
It’s important to note that even though fasting can increase cortisol levels, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll gain weight if you’re stressed during a fast. Cortisol actually helps you burn fat and turns on fat burning hormones. However, if you’re already over-producing cortisol due to anxiety or work stress, intermittent fasting can make the problem worse.
What is the Best Way to Avoid High Cortisol Levels?
If you’re looking to avoid high cortisol levels while fasting, it’s important to keep your stress levels low. Take regular breaks throughout the day, practice relaxation techniques, and be sure to get enough sleep. Additionally, it’s important to listen to your body and stop fasting if you start to feel overly stressed or fatigued.
It’s clear that intermittent fasting can increase cortisol levels, which can lead to a number of health issues. It’s important to be mindful of your stress levels while fasting and take regular breaks throughout the day. Additionally, it’s important to listen to your body and stop fasting if you start to feel overly stressed or fatigued. By following these tips, you can enjoy the benefits of intermittent fasting while avoiding the risks associated with high cortisol levels.
What steps can I take to reduce my cortisol levels while fasting?
Cortisol is beneficial for us during a fast, but it is important to keep it balanced and regulated. We can maintain our cortisol levels when fasting by incorporating practices such as mindfulness meditation and yoga into our routine.
Does intermittent fasting put a strain on the adrenals?
During times of stress, your adrenal glands produce hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline to help you cope. It is important to maintain a balance of these hormones for optimal health. However, intermittent fasting can lead to an increase in cortisol levels, which can throw off the balance and worsen adrenal fatigue.
Would not eating enough result in an elevated level of cortisol?
A 2016 study indicated that reducing the amount of calories consumed is connected to increased levels of cortisol. This means that the less you eat, the greater the concentration of cortisol in your body. Fasting in particular can result in a dramatic spike in cortisol levels.
Is intermittent fasting a source of stress for your body?
Fasting can cause an uptick in cortisol, the hormone responsible for stress, which can lead to increased food cravings and the possibility of overeating and binge eating.
Learn More About Intermittent Fasting with Fasting Books
At Fasting Books, we’re committed to helping people on their health and wellness journey to achieve their goals. We offer a wide selection of books on intermittent fasting, including guides for beginners, recipe books, and more. Our books are written by experts in the field and provide valuable insight into the benefits of intermittent fasting and how to implement it into your lifestyle. Visit us at fastingbooks.com to learn more and start your journey today.