What is intermittent fasting?
The diet world is notorious for trends and fads. The latest sensation in this space is called intermittent fasting, and it is currently one of the world’s most popular health trends. You’ve seen ads and videos on social media imploring that it is the next best thing. What we’ll do in this post is delve into what intermittent fasting is all about and how it may or may not impact your life.
Is intermittent fasting a diet?
Quite simply, intermittent fasting (IF) is an eating arrangement where you cycle between intervals of fasting and eating. Studies show that this diet can help with weight loss, increase metabolism, and even protect your body against disease.
A new way to look at your day
The diet does not say anything about which foods to eat but focuses more on when you should eat them. One thing that intermittent fasting does is causes you to view your day as not when you wake up in the morning, but when the day starts at midnight. If you view your day in this way, most people are already fasting 6-8 hours every day, it just happens while you sleep. So, the transition into intermittent fasting can be as simple as extending that fast a little longer by skipping breakfast and eating your first meal eating at noon and your last meal at 8 or 9 pm.
By doing this you are technically fasting for about 16 hours, and only eating in an 8-hour eating window. This is known as the 16/8 method and it is one of the more popular intermittent fasting methods out there.
The science of intermittent fasting
Since the beginning of time, humans have fasted, whether out of necessity, when food was scarce or for religious reasons, where going without food was a part of worship. Our biology and evolution have shown that there is nothing out of the ordinary about fasting. Believe it or not, our bodies are very well equipped to handle extended periods without food.
Benefits of intermittent fasting
What modern science has taught us, is that when in a fasting state the body’s internal processes change, as a survival mechanism. This has to do with genetics and important cellular repair processes. When fasting, our bodies get significant reductions in blood sugar and insulin levels, as well as a spike in human growth hormone.
Weight Loss is one of the main benefits of intermittent fasting
You’ve seen the ads and the Facebook posts about how much weight you can lose through intermittent fasting. The reason so many people fast is because it’s an effective way to lose weight. It is a simple and efficient way to cut calories and burn fat. Others do it for metabolic health benefits.
There is also some scientific evidence to show that intermittent fasting can help lengthen your lifespan. Studies show that it can extend life as effectively as restricting calorie intake in rodents.
Fasting helps to cleanse the body, that said, some people use fasting as a way to prevent disease. There are research studies that suggest it can help protect against diseases, like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, Alzheimer’s, and others.
Helps with simplicity
Some people like the convenience of fasting. It makes life simpler, while simultaneously improving your health. Eating fewer meals, the simpler your life will be. Not having to eat every couple hours, (not to mention the preparation involved in meal planning) also saves time.
Try intermittent fasting to see if it’s for you
Humans as a species have adapted to fasting over eons of time. Modern research studies show that there may be potential benefits in weight loss, better metabolic health, disease prevention, and longevity. Check with your doctor first, but give it a try. Who knows you may have just discovered the fountain of youth.