Posts By Monique Tello Md Mph
Thanks for visiting. Don’t miss your FREE gift.
The Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness, is yours absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School
Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health, plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise, pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more.
Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School
Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss…from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts.
BONUS! Sign up now and get a FREE copy of theBest Diets for Cognitive Fitness
Stay on top of latest health news from Harvard Medical School.
Plus, get a FREE copy of the Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness.
You May Protect Your Heart
Intermittent fasting can improve your heart health in multiple ways. Studies have found it can improve insulin sensitivity, decrease LDL cholesterol levels while increasing HDL cholesterol levels, reduce levels of oxidative stress in the cardiovascular system, and reduce inflammatory processes that likely contribute to atherosclerosis, among others, according to a Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry review.
Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
There are numerous health and weight control benefits with IF. It has metabolic health benefits, maintains hormonal balance, aids in weight loss, etc. It is simple and easier to prepare the body to eat during a restricted time period.
The benefits of intermittent fasting are as follows:
Weight loss: Eating during a specific or limited period reduces the number of calories we consume. It is regarded as one of the best diets for those looking for weight loss and fat loss diets.
Heart health: Helps to improve resting heart rate. It also helps to improve risk factors, such as triglycerides, blood pressure, inflammatory markers, and LDL cholesterol that are associated with increasing the risk of heart disease.
Lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes: Helps to reduce insulin resistance, thereby lowering the chances of type 2 diabetes. Intermittent fasting shows a significant reduction in blood glucose levels.
Prevents cancer: Fasting has beneficial effects on the metabolism at the cellular level. Intermittent fasting can reverse the symptoms of chronic health conditions like cancer.
Cellular repair: Initiates the cellular repair process and brings positive changes in the hormonal levels. Thus, it helps in the removal of waste material from cells. It also breaks down the dysfunctional proteins in the cells.
Reduces oxidative stress: Oxidative stress is a sign of increased risk of developing chronic diseases. IF improves the bodys resistance to oxidative stress and fights inflammation.
Also Check: Intermittent Fasting And Alcohol
How Long Should You Fast For
Many people adopt intermittent fasting for long periods of time, while others simply do it until they have reached their weight loss goals. Its up to you whether you want to follow it for the long term, bearing in mind that many people advocate the long-term health benefits.
There are many different ways of intermittent fasting, so choose the one that will make it sustainable for your lifestyle. For instance, some plans suggest only fasting for one day a week, or alternate days. But for many people, it really does become a way of life.
As , one of Healthy Life Essexs contributing nutritionists says:
I consider fasting as one of my things and have introduced it into my life since I first learned about the benefits. Im fascinated by the tradition of fasting which has been practised since antiquity in most of the worlds religions. Its perfectly normal for us to experience fasting we do this naturally every day, breaking our fast with breakfast. Building on this with safe fasting puts the body under a little stress, which has so many potential benefits for health.
Intermittent Fasting: What Is It And Is It Safe
Intermittent fasting may seem like a recent trend, but actually, humans have periodically refrained from eating for millennia for a host of reasons: Believe it or not, physicians of yesteryear used to prescribe fasting to treat a host of ailments, while ancient philosophers pushed their plates away in attempts to boost their mental clarity. Fasting has also been a form of political protestthink: the hunger strikes of Mahatma Gandhi, Irish Republican prisoners in the 1980s, or British and American suffragettes in the early 1900s.
To this day, avoiding food is a regular part of many religions. Traditionally, Muslims forgo food and beverage during daylight throughout Ramadan Jews skip eating and drinking on Yom Kippur and Hindus and Buddhists fast weekly.
Now fasting is trickling into the secular spotlight due to media coverage that claims intermittent fasting not only leads to weight loss and boosts metabolism but that it may also curtail cancer risk and even extend lifespan.
But is intermittent fasting, a practice thats both ancient and newly trendy, as effective as some attest? Below, we take a closer look.
What is intermittent fasting? The ultimate guide
The theory is that this process may strengthen some cells ability to withstand additional stressors, which explains the potential link between IF and delayed aging as well as a reduced risk of cancer risk. But the benefits have yet to be proven.
Different types of intermittent fasting
You May Like: Intermittent Fasting Drinking Alcohol
What To Eat During Intermittent Fasting
Knowing what to eat during intermittent fasting is good to maintain a good healthy eating regimen by eating a high metabolic meal to prevent the side effects of fasting from affecting you too much. Eating high metabolic meals promotes digestive advantage and aids better intermittent fasting results.
Here are foods that you should take when you are on an intermittent fasting diet.
Keeps Cells Healthy And Vibrant
When we fast we give our body time to rest and repair, tending to natural processes put in place to keep our cells healthy. Autophagy is an example of a process our body naturally undergoes to keep our cells healthy and in turn, keep us healthy!
Autophagy is the process our cells go through to remove waste and dysfunctional cells to help our body clean out damaged cells and regenerate new and healthier cells. Evidence suggests when we intermittent fast, we increase the frequency of this process, so our body works harder to remove any unwanted junk and dysfunctioning cells .
Increased autophagy may play a role in protecting us from several diseases including neurodegenerative diseases, cancer, inflammatory diseases, and cardiovascular diseases .
Recommended Reading: What Is 14 10 Intermittent Fasting
Fasting And Fasting Mimicking Diets In Rodents Diseases And Longevity
There are two major forms of fasting studied in rodent models: intermittent fasting , which usually refers to a water only or very low calorie period lasting less than 24 hours and followed by a normal feeding period of one to two days, or periodic fasting which lasts 2 or more days and is separated by the next cycle by at least one week .
The role of IF on aging and diseases in rodents is still controversial. In rats, multiple studies indicate that every other day fasting consistently extends lifespan and that this effect is more pronounced than that caused by fasting for 1 day every 3â4 days . However mouse studies using different genetic backgrounds indicate that IF can have no effect on mean lifespan and may even reduce lifespan when started at 10 months of age . Even when the IF was started at 1.5 months, the effects on longevity were minor and not consistent .
However, in rodents IF enhances cognitive performance , which may be caused in part by its stimulatory effect on synaptic plasticity and also improves insulin sensitivity, and reduces blood pressure and heart rate .
May Help Manage Inflammation
Our bodies naturally undergo inflammation as a part of the process it uses to fight off harmful pathogens or recover from injuries by triggering our immune system.
However, when inflammation persists for too long it can start causing us harm. Chronic inflammation happens when the immune system continues to be triggered by what it thinks is a threat. Prolonged inflammation plays a role in the development of chronic health conditions such as atherosclerosis, heart disease, osteoporosis, and even diabetes .
Intermittent fasting has been shown to reduce concentrations of pro-inflammatory markers such as homocysteine, interleukin 6, and C-reactive protein which play a role in the development of these chronic diseases .
Although fasting may provide some health benefits, looking at the quality of our diet and lifestyle can help us create healthy habits to support our health.
Read Also: How To Get Electrolytes While Fasting
Vegetarians And Vegans May Have An Increased Risk Of Stroke
Researchers in the United Kingdom analyzed the risk of stroke and other health problems over two decades among nearly 50,000 people based on the diets they followed. The types of stroke were also analyzed, including bleeding into the brain and nonbleeding stroke . Compared with meat eaters:
- rates of heart disease were 13% lower in pescatarians
- rates of heart disease were 22% lower in vegetarians
- rates of stroke were 20% higher among vegetarians. However, the overall risk was small, equal to three extra cases per 1,000 people over 10 years.
- the higher stroke risk among vegetarians was mostly due to hemorrhagic stroke
- the higher stroke risk was not observed among pescatarians.
If confirmed, these findings will complicate the way we look at plant-based diets. Are there serious and underappreciated downsides to these diets that should make us think twice about choosing them? Or is the increased risk of stroke heavily outweighed by cardiac and other health benefits?
This study is also a reminder that the health impact of a particular intervention may not be easy to predict or explain. In most cases, the risk of stroke and heart disease tend to rise or fall together, but that wasnt the case in this research.
Intermittent Fasting Can Help Weight Loss
IF makes intuitive sense. The food we eat is broken down by enzymes in our gut and eventually ends up as molecules in our bloodstream. Carbohydrates, particularly sugars and refined grains , are quickly broken down into sugar, which our cells use for energy. If our cells dont use it all, we store it in our fat cells as, well, fat. But sugar can only enter our cells with insulin, a hormone made in the pancreas. Insulin brings sugar into the fat cells and keeps it there.
Between meals, as long as we dont snack, our insulin levels will go down and our fat cells can then release their stored sugar, to be used as energy. We lose weight if we let our insulin levels go down. The entire idea of IF is to allow the insulin levels to go down far enough and for long enough that we burn off our fat.
Read Also: Is 119 High For Fasting Blood Sugar
What Are The Minimum Number Of Hours You Can Intermittent Fast & Still Get Benefits
Intermittent fasting is one of the trendiest eating styles of the momentand for good reason. This eating approach can yield a number of impressive results: weight loss, increased fat burn, improved cognitive functioning, reduced inflammation, and potentially even increased longevity.
But all that said, one big question still remains: How long do you have to fast to reap these potentially life-changing rewards? Is there a minimum number of hours you need to restrict food to get the perks?
We asked some leading intermittent fasting experts to weigh in on the topic so you can better tailor your intermittent fasting plan according to your specific goals.
Intermittent Fasting And Muscle
Two ground-breaking studies have recently been published on the effects of intermittent fasting on males. One group of researchers studied the effects that 16 hours of intermittent fasting had on males that lift weights. They found that muscle mass stayed the same, fat mass decreased significantly, and the males who fasted for 16 hours a day burned more fat for fuel compared to the control group that only fasted for 12 hours.
Another study showed that combining 20 hours of fasting with resistance training resulted in an increase in muscle mass, strength, and endurance, and this was achieved by eating ~650 calories per day less than normal.
The benefits of intermittent fasting translate to untrained overweight and obese individuals as well. One study published in Obesity Reviews found that eating fewer calories is effective for fat loss, but it does come with some muscle loss. However, if the subjects fasted for 24 hours and ate as much as they wanted on the next day for a period of 12 weeks, they lost significantly less muscle mass.
Yes you read that correctly 24 hours of intermittent fasting without any resistance training and these subjects were able to preserve more muscle mass than the subjects that ate fewer calories every day without fasting at all. This finding contradicts our common sense, but when we dig deeper into autophagy we can find the mechanism behind this result.
Also Check: Intermittent Fasting Blood Sugar Levels Chart
Beware The Studys Limitations
This study linking a vegetarian diet with a higher risk of hemorrhagic stroke has a number of important limitations that should temper the concerns of vegetarians.
- The study was observational. That means it simply observed what happened among different people who followed different diets over time, without being able to account for every other relevant factor. For example, if vegetarians chose plant-based diets because of a family history of stroke, it could be their genes driving the higher rates of stroke, not the diet.
- The findings might have been different if the study had included a different study population, such as one with different genetic backgrounds or higher rates of obesity.
- The data regarding diet was self-reported. While the use of dietary surveys is common and necessary in research that requires a large number of study subjects, it isnt always reliable.
- The study was not large enough to reliably sort out differences in the rates of disease between vegans and vegetarians. As a result, its not clear whether the increased stroke risk applies to all vegetarians, or whether vegans might have a different risk.
- We dont know whether the health outcomes reported in this study might be due to what is included in the diet or what is eliminated. For example, is the lower risk of heart disease among vegetarians due to the plant-based diet, or is it just due to the restriction of animal-based products?
What Are The Benefits Of The 12
Greek Physician Hippocrates and Athein and philosopher Plato are among the early proponents of the benefits of fasting to improve health, thousands of years back. Plato fasted for better physical and mental productivity. And according to Hippocrates, our food should be our medicine, and to eat when you are sick is to feed your sickness . Fast forward to today, modern science agrees that having a full stomach all the time is not ideal.
After eating, many new proteins are produced in the brain, and during fasting, the body also produces few new proteins. Therefore, cells are prompted to obtain protein from non-essential sources, convert them, and use the amino acids to make new proteins needed to survive.
The benefits of intermittent 12-hour fasting include:
Don’t Miss: Can You Drink Alcohol While Intermittent Fasting
May Prevent High Risks Of Cancer
The main risk factor of cancer is the growth of tumours. Managing to reduce or treat tumours is a breakthrough for preventing cancer.
Intermittent fasting has been studied for its effect on reducing tumour and limiting their growth. Results found that fasting cycles can not only reduce tumours, but also aid in the same way chemotherapy can.
Evidence does not yet verify which cancers intermittent fasting can prevent or reduce the risk of. However, these are results which signal fasting can have great significance for cancer treatment.
It May Increase Human Growth Hormone
Intermittent fasting can encourage fat burn and protect lean muscle in an alternative wayby raising your levels of human growth hormone .
Levels start to decline in our twenties or thirties, leading to dry skin, thinning hair, increased belly fat and wrinkles, says Kellyann Petrucci, M.S., a naturopathic doctor and author of Dr. Kellyanns Bone Broth Diet. Research shows that HGH may help decrease body fat and improve lean muscle mass.
She points to 2011 research from the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute, which found that HGH increased an average of 1,300% in women and nearly 2,000% in men during a 24-hour fastRoutine periodic fasting is good for your health, and your heart, study suggests. Intermountain Medical Center. Accessed 6/21/2021. . When fasting causes hunger or stress, the body responds by releasing more cholesterolthe researchers notedencouraging it to burn fat instead of glucose as fuel and decreasing the number of fat cells in the body.
Also Check: Is 119 High For Fasting Blood Sugar
Simplifying The Mechanisms Behind The Benefits: Autophagy Ketones And Fat Loss
Intermittent fasting is so powerful because you can use it to restrict calories, induce ketosis, and activate the processes of autophagy that are brought about by protein restriction and starvation.
If this scientific jargon is throwing you off, think about what it takes for you to clean your room. You may clean it in your spare time or have a set time on the weekend to do it, but what happens when the weekend comes?
Tasks or chores come up and you prioritize something else. After a week without cleaning, your room is just a bit dirtier than usual, but after a month of being too busy to clean, your room is filthy.
This is what happens to our cells when we eat three or more meals a day that completely fulfills our calorie needs every day. Even by eating the healthiest of foods, your cells still can get backed up with non-essential proteins and toxic compounds so what can you do?
To make sure that you clean your actual bedroom, you fast not from food but from being consumed by other obligations. To make sure that your cells can clean themselves, you must fast from food.
This fasting process will not only activate this clean process for your cells, but it will increase your ketone production and promote fat burning as well. Simply put, by adding intermittent fasting to your keto lifestyle, you can experience the benefits of keto more quickly along with the effects of autophagy.