Studies on intermittent fasting’s benefits are overturning conventional wisdom and government dietary guidelines.
The idea that we must eat three square meals a day – or worse, five or six small meals – and must NEVER skip breakfast is being revealed as nonsense.
Intermittent fasting won’t hurt your health. In fact, it’s probably healthier than traditional eating plans.
Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss
But a closer look shows that IF burns fat without the muscle loss associated with normal diets. If it’s delivering the same weight loss but without muscle loss, it’s clearly much better at burning fat.
One reason r this is that IF improves insulin sensitivity, and reduced insulin enables fat burning.
In a study of obese prediabetic men, one group ate between 7am and 7pm; while the other was restricted to 7am to 3pm. After five weeks, the group with the eight-hour eating window had significantly lower insulin levels and much better insulin sensitivity.
That means better blood sugar levels, and that’s one of the reasons why IF reduces appetite. Once you’re used to IF, you’ll be less hungry and you’ll feel full sooner.
When you’re following an intermittent fasting system, the calories you save by skipping a meal or a day of eating are not matched by the increased amount you eat at your next meal. You end up eating fewer calories, and once you are used to fasting this happens without much stress or effort.
Unlike other forms of dieting, intermittent fasting also boosts metabolism, which helps you maintain burn fat-burning momentum.
Intermittent Fasting For Health
Inflammation and oxidative stress: intermittent fasting can help reduce chronic inflammation and oxidative stress, which lie at the root of many health problems. This is likely to enhance overall health and extend lifespan.
Heart and cardiovascular health: a review of studies finds that intermittent fasting increases good HDL cholesterol, reduces triglycerides and bad LDL cholesterol, and decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease. Other studies have shown that IF reduces blood pressure.
Brain health and functioning: in animal studies IF boosts cognitive functioning and increases the growth of new neurons and protect the brain from degeneration, including Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological disorders.
Gut heath: fasting can improve the balance of bacteria in the gut and reduce inflammation in the digestive tract.
Cancer prevention and treatment: there is evidence that IF can slow and even halt the progression of cancer, and enhance the effectiveness of radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
Longevity and healthy aging: intermittent fasting can extend lifespan, and improve health in old age.
Intermittent Fasting Schedules
There are two broad types of intermittent fasting plan – building fasting into your day or building it into your week.
Daily fasting involves going 12 to 20 hours a day without eating (which will include your sleeping hours) and then having a 4 to 12-hour “eating window”.
The best-known form of daily fasting is the 16:8 (or Leangains) system.
This involves fasting for 16 hours (or 14 hours for women), followed by an eight-hour “eating window”. For most people, this means skipping breakfast, eating a hearty lunch (or brunch) and eating dinner.
12-hour fasts can also be beneficial.
The other way to fast is by building it into a weekly pattern.
Variations on this include a once-a-week 24-hour fast and alternate-day fasting, which involves eating no more than about 500 calories on fasting days and eating as you please on the other days.
But the most popular version is the 5:2 system, which involves eating just 500 calories in one or two meals on your fasting day and eating normally on the other days.
Take The Fast Track To Fat Loss and Better Health
Smart use of intermittent fasting can reshape your body and rebuild your health.
In other posts I will show tips and tricks for making an IF diet part of your lifestyle.