Intermittent fasting is great for lowering blood sugar, insulin, and inflammation but it’s not going to lower cortisol. Quite the opposite.
Fasting is a physiological stressor like anything else your body may come across. It creates a similar effect on the body as exercise, screaming at others, running from predators, or being anxious.
If your body isn’t adapted to intermittent fasting, then it’s going to cause more stress than you can handle. When taken too far, it can have negative outcomes.
Here are some things that make fasting less stressful on your body:
- Become Fat Adapted – This conditions your body to use more of its own body fat for fuel instead of glucose. To achieve that, practice intermittent fasting, lower your carb intake slightly, and avoid inflammatory foods.
- Don’t Start Off Too Intense – Fasting is a muscle that needs to be built up like anything else. As your mitochondria become more efficient at using fat for fuel, fasting will get easy. If you haven’t done anything like this before then it’s better to start off with 16/8 fasting, move on to the Warrior Diet, and then try to do some prolonged fasting. Exercising in a fasted state while being in a caloric deficit may not be the best advice either.
- Have Proper Refeeds – If you’re not getting enough nutrients during the eating window, then it’ll lower your thyroid further and can make it more difficult to fast the next day. You shouldn’t overeat on calories but instead focus on nutrient dense foods like meat, eggs, vegetables, and tubers.
There are far too many stressors in our life that we deal with and all of them add up. My advice is to deal with the root cause – remove the unnecessary stressors as much as you can and still practice some intermittent fasting.