If you've been considering using the intermittent fasting protocol to help you achieve weight loss success, one thing that you may be wondering about is the impact it will have on your cortisol levels.

There are many different benefits that intermittent fasting has to offer. First, it can help to increase insulin sensitivity, which can mean that you have a better chance of storing the carbohydrates you eat in the muscle cells rather than the body fat cells.

Second, it can also free you from so much meal planning and food preparation. If you hate constantly thinking about when your next meal will be, you can get past this with the intermittent fasting approach.

But, cortisol is also something that you must factor in as too much cortisol in your system is going to mean very bad news as far as fat loss goals. Cortisol is a stress hormone that will be released during high stress situations and can encourage you to store additional body fat while breaking down lean muscle tissue.

So that said, what are the impacts of fasting on cortisol?

Let's have a look at what you should consider.

Your Overall Lifestyle Stress

The very first thing to take into account is how much stress you tend to experience on a day to day basis. If you're very stressed out in your life in general, this is going to mean that you're more likely to have a higher cortisol release during the day.

It's not going to be made much worse by intermittent fasting, so don't think the diet will do you any harm. Everyday stress does add up and will strongly influence the progress that you see.

Your Macronutrient And Calorie Intake

Next, you also need to think about your macronutrient and calorie intake. Many people who start up on an intermittent fasting protocol do so because it allows them to use a very low calorie intake and see fast fat loss results.

The problem however is that the lower you take your calories, the more stressful this will be on the body, therefore the more likely you are to notice problems with cortisol.

To avoid this, when using an intermittent fasting set-up, still make sure that you are eating a moderate amount of calories as well. Yes, you do need to use a lower calorie diet, but you don't need to go dramatically low.

Your Workout Program

Finally, also think about your workout program. You may find that you aren't able to tolerate quite so much volume while using the intermittent fasting protocol, so make sure you make a few adjustments in this area to accommodate.

If you go into the gym and perform set after set after set, this will also increase your chance of cortisol release, moving you further away from the goals you want to achieve.

So there you have a few points to note. Intermittent fasting in itself doesn't stand to cause a much higher release of cortisol in the body unless you use a poorly structured program and are highly stressed out on a daily basis as well.

About the author: Shannon is a fitness trainer and freelance writer who has written for Bodybuilding.com.

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