Page 42 - April 2021
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         glycogen, which is then stored in the liver or muscle. However, there is very limited storage space for glycogen in the body.
When we run out of space to store glycogen, the liver starts to turn excess glucose into fat. Some of this newly cre- ated fat is stored in the liver, but most of it is exported to other fat deposits in the body and there is almost no limit to the amount of fat that can be created.
Glycogen is the most easily acces- sible energy source. It is broken down into glucose molecules to provide energy for the body’s cells. Glycogen can pro- vide enough energy to power much of the body’s needs for 24-36 hours. After this, the body will primarily break down fat for energy.
Fat plus inhaled oxygen give out exhaled carbon dioxide, water and energy. About 84% fat is changed to CO2 and 16% fat is excreted as H2O. Diet and exercise serve as major contributors to fat loss. A nutritious diet that provides a proper calorie deficit combined with sufficient exercise is the recipe for sustainable fat loss. Now, let us see different stages of intermittent fasting:
1. By 12 hours, body starts to break down and burn fat.
2. By 18 hours, body switches to fat- burning mode and is generating signifi- cant ketones. Under normal conditions, the concentration of ketones in the plas- ma ranges between 0.05 and 0.1 mM. When we fast or restrict carbohydrates in the diet, this concentration can reach to 5-7 mM. As their level in the blood- stream rises, ketones can act as signal- ling molecules, similar to hormones, to tell the body to ramp up stress-busting pathways that reduce inflammation and repair damaged DNA for example.
3. Within 24 hours, cells are increasingly recycling old components and break- ing down misfolded proteins linked to Alzheimer’s and other diseases This pro- cess is called autophagy.
4. By 48 hours, without calories or with very few calories, carbs or protein, the growth hormone level is up to five times as high as when one started fasting.
5. By 54 hours, insulin has dropped to 42 SCIENCE INDIA APRIL, 2021
Glycogen is broken down into glucose molucules that provide enough energy to power much of the body’s needs for 24-36 hours. After that, the body primarily breaks down fat for energy.
its lowest level point since fasting started and body is becoming increasingly insu- lin-sensitive, which is especially good if one has a high risk of developing diabe- tes, and provides protection from chron- ic diseases of aging including cancer.
6. By 72 hours, the body is breaking down old immune cells and generating new ones. Prolonged fasting for 72 hours has been shown to preserve healthy white blood cell or lymphocyte counts in pa- tients undergoing chemotherapy.
Type 2 diabetes is fundamentally a disease of too much sugar in the body. When we eat glucose, insulin stores the excess in our cells. Over time, if all our cells and storage systems become over- loaded, the remaining glucose spills over into the blood. The body requires
a certain amount of energy every day to survive. The heart, brain, kidneys, liver, etc. all require energy even if one is lying in bed. Fasting allows the body to burn off its excess sugar.
Spiritual leaders in India have prescribed meditation and yoga from time immemo- rial which have reappeared in modern times through a series of experiments in the laboratory. Exercising in the gymna- sium meets the target partially since it does not induce peace and calm for inner body, which can only be brought about by meditation and yoga. There are dif- ferent prescriptions designed by spiritual leaders of modern India like Sudarshan Kriya developed by Sri Sri Ravishan- kar, Kriya by Sri M, meditation process by Sad Guru and so on. To build healthy, modern India in both body and spirit, it is worthwhile to contemplate on any of the streams prescribed by our spiritual leaders.
* The writer is Emeritus Professor, Cochin University of Science and Technology, Kochi
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