The Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Many of us struggle with weight loss, and there are oftentimes many cases where we are looking for a solution. One of these is intermittent fasting. What is it though? Is it really that beneficial? Is fasting really the option that you should choose for weight loss and health? Well, you’re about to find out, as this article will explore into greater detail just what intermittent fasting is and why it might be super beneficial for your own personal health.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
You’ve actually probably done this before and you just never really thought much on it. Think about the time from your last meal of one day to the first meal of the next day. Let’s say that you eat at 6 pm and then you eat breakfast the next day at 8 AM, or whatever it might be. You’re actually fasting for 12 hours and feeding for about 12 hours. This might seem complicated, but it’s actually something that you do. It’s nothing new, where you don’t eat for a period of time.
Often, intermittent fasting involves not eating for about 16 of those hours, and then feeding for about 8 of them. Within those 8 hours, your body will get all of the nourishment that it needs, and then for the next 16, it will then let it digest and be used as fuel for the body.
There are lots of benefits, and for most people, they’re already doing this sort of thing. Typically, unless you’re eating all the time, you do this to a degree. Some people do fast for longer in some cases, such as about 20-24 hours without food or feel the benefits. You can exercise while doing this, and it is important that you follow some sort of exercise routine in this, since it will change the way your energy balances, and it can make a difference in your life.
Now, if you do this, don’t think you’re going to spend your feeding times pigging out on foods that are high in carbs and low in nutrition. That’s really the opposite of what you want to do. What you want to eat instead, are those foods that are high in fat, nutrients, and essentially give you everything that you need in order to be successful with this. You need to make sure you’re feeding your body before you begin with this, since all too often, it is assumed that you can eat whatever you want. That isn’t the case, but instead, you should have a diet that is fitting for yourself, and one that best includes everything that you need in order to have your body go through the motions of each day. After all, if you don’t do this, then chances are, you’re going to end up hungry later on, and then the diet will go out the window.
So now that we’ve explored what it is, let’s discuss how this can be beneficial to your overall health.
The Changes in body Composition
There are many different benefits to this, and it can even change the composition of the body. One of the biggest ones is that it changes the way the genes, hormones, and cellular function happen in the body. Typically, these processes are done to make the body fat more accessible to others. It will change your insulin levels by dropping it, which makes fat burning easier. It will change the growth hormone by making it increase by as much as five times the normal amount, which leads to more fat burning, muscle gains, and other benefits. It will make the cellular processes occur in a much faster and more accessible rate, and you’ll be able to remove the waste material from these cells, and finally, it will change the gene expression in your body, which actually can increase your lifespan and even prevent you from getting diseases. That’s right, your body composition will change because of this, and that’s something that you should consider.
Now, naturally, when you do this, you need to make sure that you’re giving the body the nutrients that it needs. The last thing that you need is to starve the body and not give it food to replenish itself with. That is the problem with this, since all too often, it can be a huge issue for those that don’t follow a routine. Do make sure that you do, for it can make a difference between this working, and this not working out for you.
Intermittent Fasting and Weight Loss
Now, probably the most widespread use of this diet is in order to make you lose weight. Now, some people are not wise with the way they use a diet, and instead, they try to starve the body in order to make it lose weight. That’s not what this is.
Rather, it’s actually a means where you eat fewer meals, eating more during these meals, and later on, it actually balances out, allowing you to take in fewer calories. It will in turn allow you to have faster and better weight loss.
Now, as we said before, the body composition changes. Your insulin levels change and lower, your growth hormone levels increase, and you will increase the amounts of norepinephrine, which will improve how your body breaks down fat and uses it for energy.
Now, how does this affect how much energy you’re using? Well, your metabolic rate increases from anywhere from 3-14%. That’s right, with this alone you’ll be burning so many more calories, and it definitely is something that you should try.
Now, it does work as both a way to increase your metabolic rate, and also to help get rid of the foods that you shouldn’t eat. Often as well, it reduces the intake of calories, and it can cause weight loss over the span of as little as 3 weeks. It can cause an 8% increase of weight loss alone after about 6 months. Now, this is just from the fasting alone, not even taking into account exercising as well. Think about that, it’s pretty huge, and it’s something that can ultimately change the state of your life, and in turn, you’ll be able to get to your goal weight so much faster.
Overall, it’s imperative that you follow the diet regimen to a T because in all honesty, it can be a bit of a problem if you do this incorrectly. You don’t want to put your body into starvation mode, but instead, you want to give your body the nutrition that it needs, while also reducing the amount of meals that you have and increasing your metabolic rate.
Lowering Type 2 Diabetes
Now, type 2 diabetes is one of the most common ailments to affect people in this day and age. It is something that is growing increasingly more common, especially in the last 20 or so years. It definitely isn’t something you want to have, because it’s a lifelong condition, and it causes a whole slew of other issues as well.
Now, anything that reduces the resistance of insulin actually will also help you lower your blood sugar levels. Your insulin will lower over time, since you won’t need to worry as much about it. Now, this in turn will allow you to protect yourself against this form of diabetes.
Intermittent fasting is actually one of the best means to heavily decrease your insulin resistance and also lower your blood sugar levels, which in turn will allow you to have a much higher chance of not getting this. Now, how much does this get lowered? Well, some studies have said minimally about 3%, but in some other cases, it can be reduced by over 30%, which is pretty great.
It is something that can dramatically change your kidney composition as well. Intermittent fasting helps to protect this, and since the kidneys are one of the most hard-hit areas when it comes to complications resulting from this, it’s definitely important to consider. It’s also important to realize that this is protective against those that are at risk for this as well, so it’s not just for those that have this, but it’s also for those that are at risk for it. Plus, even if you aren’t at risk for this, it will allow you to further protect yourself as well.
One thing to be cautious about however, is that it might be different based on gender. You should always talk to your doctor before doing this, since in some cases it can dramatically worsen blood sugar, but if your doctor says it’s all good, then you should be fine.
One thing that many people don’t think about is inflammation. Inflammation that actually happens a lot more than you think, and while some inflammation is good for the body, if you have chronic inflammation, it can cause a lot of problems.
Now, this is often seen as oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is something that can put you at a much higher risk for chronic diseases. Why is that? Well, you’ve got free radicals that are made because of this. You might’ve heard of free radicals being the cause of cancer and aging, but it’s more than just that, it directly targets the important molecules that you need in your body, including your own DNA and protein, and it will damage them, sometimes permanently. This is where cancer forms, and it’s how many different chronic issues begin to come about.
However, despite the risk for this, there are studies that so that it can increase the resistance to oxidative stress, allowing you to fight inflammation.
Better the Nervous system
Finally, intermittent fasting is really good for your brain and the overall neural health. Why is that? Well, it actually can work with the metabolic factors discussed before. Plus, if you’re lowering oxidative stress, inflammation, blood sugar levels, and insulin resistance, it will in turn allow your brain to function better, and the nervous system to act better. It’ll allow your nerve cells to grow as well, which has a whole lot of benefits in terms of brain function and success.
It also will increase a certain brain hormone that is called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, and this is something that is pretty important. For many that have depression, typically it’s because of a lack of this hormone, and other brain problems have a lack of this at the root as well. By intermittent fasting, it will end up improving your overall brain health, and it can help protect against brain damage.
The bottom line
Intermittent fasting is great for you, and it can protect against the following, and help your body, especially if it’s done right:
- Heart disease
- Kidney problems
- Brain degradation
- Metabolic issues
- Inflammatory disease
All of these are attributed to it, and with all of these various protections put in, you can actually dramatically increase your life span. Think about it, with the way you’re taking care of your body, and the different foods that you’re eating, cutting out junk food and not feeding all the time, you’re preparing your body for the best it can be. That means that you can totally extend the length of your life, and in some cases, it can be dramatic, so it is worth a shot.
With all of this though, do consult your doctor before you try it. it’s important that you don’t jump into this right away without seeing a doctor, or getting a plan together, because often, this is something that people tend to jump head-first into, and that’s not fun. Instead, you should prepare your body, and your diet, for this, since the best way to do this is to make sure that you’re getting enough nutrition to keep the body and its processes going, but also not eating all the time as well.