What Is Intermittent Fasting? What Are Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting?
Fitness and weight-loss trends have a tendency to come and go. Fitness trends have varied from the weird, such as Punk Rope, the Atkins Diet, and Aerial Yoga, to the wonderful and highly beneficial, such as Animal Flow, Treadmill Sessions, and Pole Workouts. One of the very latest trends is intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting is a recent phenomenon which is based around the idea that our diet should be centred around a cycle of eating and fasting. The idea is that if we follow this cycle, we will lose weight, reduce our risk of developing debilitating illnesses and diseases, as well as boost our metabolic health.
Intermittent fasting doesn’t stipulate exactly what foods you should eat. Rather, it is only concerned with when you should eat. There are a variety of intermittent fasting methods, but the central premise for each is that you divide your day into an eating period and a fasting period.
Most of us already fast each and every single day, but we’re just not aware of it. After all, the word “breakfast” is actually a composite of two words: Break – Fast. When you sleep, you fast. And when you wake up, you immediately get something to eat. Ergo, you’re breaking the fast.
Intermittent fasting has it that you can prolong your fast by skipping breakfast and waiting until noon to enjoy your first meal. You could then tuck into your last meal of the day at 7PM, and fast again right up until noon the following day.
This method is known as 16/8, and is the most commonly followed method of intermittent fasting. It’s simple and really easy to implement.
Fasting is, of course, nothing new. There are cultures who have been fasting more than two thousand years, while fasting is a core discipline of some modern religions.
The chances are that you yourself have fasted before too, such as when you were sick and couldn’t eat for a few days or even weeks.
What is clear is that intermittent fasting is nothing new or radical, and therefore it’s nothing “unnatural” that we should be afraid of. Humans fast to flush toxins out of their body, to lose weight, as well as for a whole host of other health reasons.
But why should you choose intermittent fasting above any other form? Let’s take a look at a few benefits of intermittent fasting that might convince you that it is a lifestyle choice for you.
It Could Help You To Live Longer
One of the most interesting things about intermittent fasting is that it might be able to increase your longevity.
Although no human studies have yet been carried out, studies in rats demonstrated that a longer lifespan is possible thanks to intermittent fasting.
In one of the most dramatic results, rats who fasted were able to live over 80% longer than those who didn’t.
Because fasting means you intake fewer calories and boost your metabolism, it makes sense that it could extend your lifespan.
It Changes The Function Of Your Genes, Hormones And Cells
One of great benefits of intermittent fasting is that, apparently, it changes the function of your genes, hormones and cells.
See, when you don’t eat for more than a few hours, your body makes a few changes. Giving your body a rest from food gives it the opportunity to get to work on repairing cells and making it easier for your hormones to access stored body fat.
You insulin levels drop, which means you burn more fat. Genes change, which is fundamental for their longevity. Moreover, human growth hormone experiences an upsurge in blood levels which can lead to better muscle gain and even more fat burning.
It Can Help You Lose Weight
Benefits of intermittent fasting also include weight loss.
One of the most common reasons why people try intermittent fasting is so that they can lose some belly fat. It works because when you fast intermittently, the general idea is that you eat less meals. This means that you will consume a smaller amount of calories.
Further, when you try intermittent fasting, you are boosting hormone function that instigates weight loss. Your body breaks down more fat and uses it more productively for energy.
It Can Reduce Your Risk Of Developing Diabetes
Diabetes is becoming more and more common throughout the world. It’s partly down to genetics, but diet also plays a role in its development. You can make changes to what you eat in a bid to lower your risk, but you can also try intermittent fasting.
Insulin resistance is a common factor in the development of diabetes. Anything that prevents insulin resistance is a stellar defence mechanism against this disease. Intermittent fasting has been studied to show that it has crucial benefits for insulin resistance, and can lower blood sugar levels that are spiralling dangerously out of control.
It Could Lower Your Risk Of Cancer
One of benefits of intermittent fasting is that it could also lower your risk of developing cancer. Cancer is one of the worst diseases imaginable, and we all know someone who has been affected by it. The driving force behind cancer is the uncontrolled growth of cells. When cells malfunction, they start to multiply, creating tumours that can only be stopped via treatment.
Although no human study has yet been carried out, tentative animal studies have shown that intermittent fasting may have a vital role to play in the prevention of some cancers.
Tests have also been carried out on humans with cancer, and have shown that intermittent fasting is able to guard against the nasty side effects that come from chemotherapy.
It’s Good For Your Brain
And finally, benefits of intermittent fasting also include smarter brain. The health of your brain is important for numerous reasons. Although most of us would say that we have a healthy brain, not all of us are maximising the health and potential of our most intelligent organ.
Intermittent fasting boosts your metabolism, and a boosted metabolism has been proven to be good for brain health. With an improved metabolism comes less oxidative stress, lower blood sugar levels and lower inflammation.
Moreover, studies in rats have demonstrated that this type of fasting can boost the production of raw nerve cells. More of these cells provide benefits for brain performance.
Do you know other benefits of intermittent fasting?