Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
Some studies suggest that adopting an intermittent fasting practice may help with weight loss, improve memory and mental performance, cardiovascular health, type 2 diabetes, and the effectiveness of cancer treatments .
While much of this research comes from animal studies, emerging human data has offered promising results – especially related to the potential for helping with weight loss and improving some aspects of nutrition-related chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease .
It’s important to note that the long-term effects of intermittent fasting have not been fully established, but current research shows some promising short-term benefits that we’ve outlined in our list below. Additionally, while the potential benefits of fasting are exciting, there is not enough research to proclaim it is more effective for weight loss or improving health than a basic healthy eating approach.
The Hour By Hour Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
We all naturally fast or take a break from eating for at least 8 hours a day. Its when were asleep!
The prevailing view has always been to start your day with a hearty breakfast but recent research suggests that taking a longer break can help you lose weight and improve overall health. Its a movement that has gained popularity but it is also evidence based with research continuing to show its benefits.
Whether you call it intermittent fasting or time-restricted eating, it involves intentionally taking a break from eating for anywhere from 12 to 16 hours a day.
Intermittent Fasting has been shown to:
Lower Insulin Levels
Increase Fat Burning,
Help with Cellular Regeneration
Also, it stands to reason that if youre eating for fewer hours a day, theres a good chance youre eating less overall, helping to lose weight if thats a goal.
Pretty impressive huh?
And its not nearly as hard as you think.
There are numerous health benefits related to intermittent fasting including:
Weight and body fat loss. …
Increased fat burning. …
Lowered blood insulin and sugar levels. …
Possible improved mental clarity and concentration. …
Possible increased energy. …
Possible increased growth hormone, at least in the short term
Heres a breakdown of what you body does each hour of fasting :
All food has left the stomach
Insulin is no longer produced
Body starts to ramp up the fat burning
Intermittent Fasting Can Be Hard But Maybe It Doesnt Have To Be
Initial human studies that compared fasting every other day to eating less every day showed that both worked about equally for weight loss, though people struggled with the fasting days. So, I had written off IF as no better or worse than simply eating less, only far more uncomfortable. My advice was to just stick with the sensible, , diet.
New research is suggesting that not all IF approaches are the same, and some are actually very reasonable, effective, and sustainable, especially when combined with a nutritious plant-based diet. So Im prepared to take my lumps on this one .
We have evolved to be in sync with the day/night cycle, i.e., a circadian rhythm. Our metabolism has adapted to daytime food, nighttime sleep. Nighttime eating is well associated with a higher risk of obesity, as well as .
Based on this, researchers from the University of Alabama conducted a study with a small group of obese men with prediabetes. They compared a form of intermittent fasting called “early time-restricted feeding,” where all meals were fit into an early eight-hour period of the day ,or spread out over 12 hours . Both groups maintained their weight but after five weeks, the eight-hours group had dramatically lower insulin levels and significantly improved insulin sensitivity, as well as significantly lower blood pressure. The best part? The eight-hours group also had significantly decreased appetite. They werent starving.
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Skipping Meals Can Cause Headaches Dizziness And Nausea
Long periods of fasting can lower your blood sugar levels and leave you feeling lightheaded, dizzy, with headaches, and/or nausea.
If you have a medical condition, talk to your doctor to make sure it’s safe to try intermittent fasting. People with type 1 diabetes and/or on diabetic medications may be more susceptible to unwanted side effects or struggle with controlling their blood sugar levels .
Your body will also need some time to adjust, so try choosing a day of the week or period of time that you dont need to be very active or deeply concentrate when first starting a fasting practice.
Fasting For Weight Loss
So far, the research studies evaluating intermittent fasting have been relatively short and have enrolled only a limited number of participants. In one, published July 1, 2017, in JAMA Internal Medicine, 100 overweight people were assigned to one of three eating plans: restricting daily calorie intake by the same amount every day , fasting on alternate days, and continuing with normal eating habits. At the end of the 12-month study, both diet groups had lost weight compared with the normal eaters. However, the fasters didn’t fare any better than the conventional calorie cutters.
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Intermittent Fasting Can Still Lead To Weight Gain
Feeling starved during your fasting period might make some people more prone to binging behaviors when theyre not fasting. And eating more calories than what your body burns will lead to a long-term increase in body fat even if you consistently fast for 12-16 hours each day.
In other words, if you are having trouble maintaining your hunger and end up going completely rogue on your non-fasting periods, you could end up gaining weight.
Going rouge during your non-fasting periods can sabotage your health goals, start a meal prep routine or plan your meals to ensure you’re nourishing your body.
Not sure what style of diet is right for you? Use a meal plan quiz to get started!
Health Benefits Of Fasting Backed By Science
Despite its recent surge in popularity, fasting is a practice that dates back centuries and plays a central role in many cultures and religions.
Defined as the abstinence from all or some foods or drinks for a set period of time, there are many different ways of fasting.
In general, most types of fasts are performed over 2472 hours.
Intermittent fasting, on the other hand, involves cycling between periods of eating and fasting, ranging from a few hours to a few days at a time.
Fasting has been shown to have many health benefits, from increased weight loss to better brain function.
Here are 8 health benefits of fasting backed by science.
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Intermittent Fasting Promises Better Health And Longer Life But Does It Work
The obesity epidemic has spawned a cottage industry of weight-loss schemes. Currently in vogue is intermittent fasting, which involves alternating intervals of extreme calorie reduction with periods of normal eating. Proponents of an intermittent fasting regimen claim that it helps shed pounds faster than traditional diets, as well as reduce inflammation and other heart disease risks.
Hidden Science Of Fasting According To Scriptures
To the ever turbulent lashing waves of our mind, fasting comes as a blessing in disguise. It is a ritual to cleanse ones body and soul of impurities. By doing this we invite positive energies to gush forth within and also permeate those in our immediate circle. It is one of the paths of unwavering focus and a step closer to the divine. One who is in control of his desires is ultimately the master of his world.
With better control of ones mind comes a heightened understanding of the self. It takes us on a path of introspection and becomes a tool to check our emotions. Hunger is usually a state where our emotions and desires get the better of us. We are under a spell to do anything and everything to satisfy our pangs of hunger.
It is a state of no control where we do not think clearly. Fasting makes us more receptive to our outer environment by giving us a strong grip on our minds. Those who practice upavasas find it easier to control their emotions and can easily detach themselves from sudden emotions. Our digestive system also cleanses easily.
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Fasting Speeds Up The Metabolism
Intermittent fasting gives your digestive system a rest, and this can energise your metabolism to burn through calories more efficiently. If your digestion is poor, this can effect your ability to metabolise food and burn fat. Intermittent fasts can regulate your digestion and promote healthy bowel function, thus improving your metabolic function.
Stage 5 Fasting : Stem Cells And Immune Function
The final stage of fasting begins after a full three days without food.
Before you read about the benefits, note that a 72-hour fast is a serious undertaking. If youre going to try it, make sure you drink plenty of water, get plenty of electrolytes like sodium, magnesium, and potassium, and stop fasting if you feel lightheaded or otherwise unwell.
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Muscle Growth And Repair
A study of healthy adults found that 48-hour fasting increased human growth hormone secretion by up to 400%. It also increased the frequency of growth hormone bursts throughout the day.
HGH increases muscle mass and stimulates faster muscle repair. It may also speed up the healing process for wounds and more serious injuries. HGH is so effective that taking it externally is banned in professional sports and is considered doping.
It seems counterintuitive, but occasionally going without food for two days may actually help you build muscle, not lose it.
Induces Various Cellular Repair Processes
When we fast, the cells in the body initiate a cellular waste removal process called autophagy .
This involves the cells breaking down and metabolizing broken and dysfunctional proteins that build up inside cells over time.
Increased autophagy may provide protection against several diseases, including cancer and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimers disease .
Fasting triggers a metabolic pathway called autophagy, which removes waste material from cells.
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Mental And Emotional Benefits Of Fasting
Because fasting improves mental clarity and focus, it can become a tool in your life to give you greater freedom, flexibility, and energy to get done the things and projects that are important to you.
Many experienced fasters find it helpful to fast whenever they need an additional boost for a major project or deadline, e.g. writing a paper, preparing for a big presentation, getting ready for a long trip. Artists and writers often talk of foregoing food during great creative inspiration that it helps to keep the momentum going.
Emotionally, you will feel calmer, clearer and happier. Fasters often report that depression lifts, goals begin to feel more obtainable as obstacles are put into proper focus. Doctors have reported patients experiencing improved concentration, less anxiety, sleeping better and waking more refreshed.
Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between our emotional and mental aspects, where one begins and the other ends. Am I sad because I had this thought? Or did I have the thought because I’ve been feeling sad? Fasting has a way of clarifying those issues. Your awareness can focus in more accurately and determine the source of some unpleasantness, that then snowballed into a mess. Once the source is identified, it’s easy to see how overblown everything else was that came after.
In other words, you see things from a clearer, more appropriate perspective. SeeEmotional Benefits of Fasting for more details on the emotional cleansing that can occur.
Turn Your Aches Upon Jesus
When we fast, the aches in our stomachs and pains in our gut are reminders that Jesus is the true food, not our daily bread, and that Jesus is the true drink, not our typical beverages. Christians will fast, as Jesus promised, because as people of faith, we know that believing in him means coming to him to satisfy our souls hunger and quench our souls thirst and one of the best regular reminders of it can be abstaining temporarily from other food and drink.
The great reward of fasting is God himself. Open your mouth wide, he says, as we empty our stomachs, and I will fill it . God rewards Christian fasting because it attunes us to the very purpose of God in the universe: to magnify himself in our desiring, enjoying, and being satisfied in him. And he rewards it not just with what were asking for with our fast, but ultimately with who he is as our desire, enjoyment, and satisfaction.
Christian fasting is not mainly about what we go without, but who we want more of.
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Benefits In Lowering Cholesterol:
Apart from aiding weight loss, the health benefits of fasting for 24 hours also include improved cardiovascular functioning. People falling victim to heart problems constitute a major chunk of the deaths in the present world. It accounts for 31.5% of the global annual deaths. Fasting causes a fall in blood pressure which in turn reduces ones chances of heart problems.
One small study revealed that eight weeks of alternate-day fasting reduced levels of bad LDL cholesterol and blood triglycerides by 25% and 32% respectively.
Hence knowing how to fast for health becomes all the more important in todays world. Once we start inculcating fasting into our lifestyle, owing to these fasting benefits, health issues would become the least of our worries.
Should I Try Intermittent Fasting
The most effective diet is the one you can stick to while still living your best life. Its hard to know which will work best before trying, but doctors and recent studies offer some guidance. Dr. Peterson said that complete, zero-calorie fasts generally prove to be too difficult to maintain. People stick with them maybe for the short-term, but they get quite hungry in the long-term, she said.
Time-restricted feeding fasting overnight and into the next morning is likely the easiest form of fasting to comply with. A longer than normal fasting period each night allows you to burn through some of your sugar stores, called glycogen. That does a couple things. It gives your body a little bit more time to burn fat. It also may help your body get rid of any extra salt in your diet, which would lower your blood pressure, Dr. Peterson said.
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Oh No Overeating Lethargy
Another important factor associated with the harmful effects of intermittent fasting is the appetite not being effectively satisfied. Although a person is physically full, he/she will be tempted to eat more. This behavior leads to over-eating, and it almost kills the underlying purpose of losing weight by starting intermittent fasting in the first place.
Another chapter of this unfortunate dark side of intermittent fasting is the drastically reduced energy levels during the earlier parts of the day. This results in a person feeling lazy and lethargic during work and also causes reduced concentration levels that can affect ones ability to carry out day to day activities.
It Protects Your Ticker
While were talking about risk factors for heart disease, high cholesterol is another biggie. In a small 2010 study, fasting every other day slashed participants levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides by 25 and 32 percent, respectively.
In fact, long-term findings suggest that routine fasters are more than 70 percent less likely to have heart failure than folks who never fast.
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May Aid In Cancer Prevention And Increase The Effectiveness Of Chemotherapy
Animal and test-tube studies indicate that fasting may benefit the treatment and prevention of cancer.
In fact, one rat study found that alternate-day fasting helped block tumor formation .
Similarly, a test-tube study showed that exposing cancer cells to several cycles of fasting was as effective as chemotherapy in delaying tumor growth and increased the effectiveness of chemotherapy drugs on cancer formation .
Unfortunately, most research is limited to the effects of fasting on cancer formation in animals and cells.
Despite these promising findings, additional studies are needed to look at how fasting may influence cancer development and treatment in humans.
Summary Some animal and test-tube studies suggest that fasting could block tumor development and increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy.
What Are The Risks Associated With Fasting
Though many studies have proven the benefits of fasting in general, fasting as a method of weight loss needs more evidence. The most important thing to note is that fasting is not for everybody.
- If people have a history of eating disorders, fasting may not be a good idea. Intermittent fasting has been known to trigger binge eating behavior, which can cause complications of its own.
- Individuals with diabetes who take medications and insulin may have severely low blood sugar levels, which may be life-threatening.
- Some individuals resort to dry fasting, which means they do not drink water nor do they eat solids for the periods of fasting. This trend is dangerous because it can trigger severe dehydration, exhaustion, electrolyte imbalance, heatstroke and headaches. It is also damaging for the kidneys.
- Fasting is a potential migraine trigger.
- Severe caloric restriction can often push a person into dangerously low body weight.
- Ketogenesis brought on by fasting may have undesirable effects because the body is getting used to burning fats instead of glucose. This is called keto flu.
- Unsupervised fasting may trigger nutritional deficiencies. This may adversely impact all the body functions in the long run.
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