I began intermittent fasting intending to shed the 35+ pounds I had acquired since graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science. How did I end up as the fat dad with the poor knee when I was a former collegiate athlete studying health and Nutrition for four years? Family, a career, and house improvements took precedence over-exercise. My diet was wrecked by time constraints and readily available food in the break room. I’d grown too self-conscious to remove my shirt at the pool or lake in public.
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When I first started intermittent fasting, I observed that I felt full considerably sooner when I ate a meal shortly after my fasting phase. I would fast for around 16 hours by skipping breakfast in the morning. Then, when I broke my fast by eating lunch, I could only consume about two-thirds of my typical portions. I used to power through it because I didn’t want to waste the food or because I didn’t want to be hungry an hour or two later. Then I chose to use that sense of fullness to help me restrict my meals, which significantly impacted my weight loss journey. So, why was I feeling fuller after eating less than usual? Did my stomach shrink as a result of my fast?
Your stomach is a muscular organ that may stretch and contract (shrink and grow more minor). In this essay, I’m referring to the section of your gastrointestinal tract inside your body when I say “stomach.” You know, where food goes after consuming it, not the externally visible feature known as a belly. I’d want to discuss two sorts of stomach pain here.
Extending your stomach
The first is the kind of dull aching pain you get after overeating. You understand how I feel. You want to relax your belt or just sit and do nothing until it passes while regretting eating those second pieces. That aching sensation is caused by your stomach stretching. You’ve overwhelmed it, and it’s now trying to compensate by growing larger. What happens if you continue to extend your stomach more and further? It takes more and more food to feel full and content. What if you eat more food than “normal”? You put on weight.
Your stomach is shrinking.
The second form of stomach discomfort I’d like to discuss is one that is sharper and is accompanied by intermittent grumbling sounds. This is how hungry pangs feel. The contraction of the stomach muscles causes hunger sensations. Again, when your stomach contracts, it signifies it is shrinking. As a result, your stomach shrinks when you fast.
When trying to lose weight, one popular and effective technique is portion restriction. It takes a lot of self-control and mindfulness to realize when you are full after a meal. Portion control necessitates eating fewer calories. It’s more difficult to eat less while you’re still hungry, and you’re more likely to feel hungry after a modest meal if your stomach is larger than if your stomach is smaller. This is also one of the many reasons why intermittent fasting has been so successful for me! I’ve learned to actively stop eating when I’m satisfied, and I can feel content much sooner after a good 16-hour fast in which my stomach has shrunk.
You should not be terrified of hunger sensations. You’ll notice a difference if you try intermittent fasting!
Is it true that when You lose weight, your stomach shrinks?
- Not quite, but here’s why you might feel stuffed. Our stomachs have a reflex known as receptive relaxation, which occurs when food enters the stomach and causes the muscles to relax and expand to accept more volume. In fact, your stomach can enlarge up to five times its original volume following a meal.
- According to some research, the neurons surrounding and within our stomach wall influence receptive relaxation. They may cause our stomachs to lose suppleness after reducing weight. This is also linked to hormonal changes that influence our hunger and thirst, namely changes in the hunger hormones ghrelin and leptin.
- All of these factors can influence whether you feel hungry or full, but none of them is related to changes in stomach size (even though it might feel like it).
Australian researchers mapped out what happens behind the scenes in fat tissue during intermittent fasting in a mouse study, revealing that it causes a cascade of significant changes based on the type of fat deposits and where they are situated around the body.
Using cutting-edge technology, University of Sydney researchers revealed that fat surrounding the stomach, which can collect into a “protruding tummy” in humans, goes into “preservation mode,” changing over time and becoming more resistant to weight loss.
A doctor-led research team investigated fat tissue types from various areas to better understand their role in every-other-day fasting, in which no food was ingested on alternate days.
Visceral “belly” fat, which surrounds our organs including the stomach, and subcutaneous fat, which rests just beneath the skin and is associated with better metabolic health, were the fat types where changes were discovered.
“While most people believe that all fat tissue is the same, the location makes a major impact,” said senior author Dr Larance of the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre and School of Life and Environmental Sciences.
“Our findings reveal that both visceral and subcutaneous fat experience substantial changes during intermittent fasting,” stated Dr. Larance, a Cancer Institute of NSW Future Research Fellow.
Why is visceral fat resistant to weight loss?
Fasting causes adipose tissue to release fatty acid molecules, which supply energy to the rest of the body.
However, the researchers discovered that visceral fat became resistant to this fatty acid release during fasting.
There were also indications that visceral and subcutaneous fat enhanced their ability to store energy as fat, indicating that the fat store was likely to be swiftly rebuilt before the next fasting period.
Dr. Larance speculated that a history of fasting periods may have activated a preservation signaling system in visceral fat.
“This shows that visceral fat can adapt to multiple fasting sessions while protecting its energy storage,” he said.
“This form of adaptation could explain why visceral fat is resistant to weight loss following long periods of dieting.”
Dr. Larance stated that utilizing a mouse model was a good equivalent prior to human experiments.
“Mouse physiology is similar to human physiology, but their metabolism is considerably faster, allowing us to see changes sooner than in human trials and analyze tissues that are harder to sample in humans,” he explained.
Future study in mice and humans could reveal the processes underlying this resistance, as well as which types of food and other interventions may be most effective in reducing belly fat.
Identifying the fundamental workings of fat deposits
Using a technique known as proteomics, the researchers evaluated over 8500 proteins found in fat deposits, establishing a record of changes that happened during intermittent fasting.
Proteomics, or the study of all proteins, is a relatively new field of study that derives its name from genomics (the study of all genes). It examines how proteins behave under specific conditions, in this case intermittent fasting.
The findings provide a wealth of information that can be used to construct a more complete picture of the inner workings of fat tissue.
The research team was alerted to large cellular alterations produced by intermittent fasting by proteomics, and additional investigation revealed the visceral fat preservation mechanism in work.
The investigation was carried out with the help of the Sydney Mass Spectrometry equipment housed in the Charles Perkins Centre, which is part of the University of Sydney’s Core Research Facilities.
It should be highlighted, according to Dr. Larance, that the findings of the intermittent study may not apply to other diet regimes, such as the 5:2 diet (fasting two days out of seven) or calorie restriction, which is prevalent among persons trying to lose weight.
The findings establish the groundwork for future research that will unravel the chemicals responsible for visceral fat’s resistance to energy release during fasting and assist decide which diet programs would be most advantageous for metabolic health.
“This type of research has been made possible by these new equipment that allow us to ‘see beyond the streetlight’ – it’s hypothesis generating; we knew we’d find something but didn’t know what,” Dr Larance explained.
“Now that we’ve demonstrated that ‘belly fat’ in mice is resistant to this diet, the key question will be why, and how do we effectively combat it?”