The Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is a wellness practice that involves periods of eating normally spaced with periods of fasting or refraining from calorie intake.; While many people practice intermittent fasting for weight loss, it has many benefits that have nothing to do with weight. Intermittent fasting may increase your energy, improve your metabolism, and increase your overall wellness.
Benefit #: Intermittent Fasting Might Slow Aging
None of us can escape aging.
But we can age more slowly, and fasting may be a way to do that.
Fasting seems to slow cellular senescence.
What the heck does cellular senescence mean, exactlyand why should you care?
Senescence is a big word that refers to the condition or process of deterioration. When were talking about the senescence of a cell, we mean a cell has aged to the point where it cant divide and regenerate.
When our cells senesce:
- They stop growing and repairing.
- They resist an honorable and beneficial death .
- They release pro-inflammatory, tissue-destroying chemicals.
- They increase protein synthesis and glycolysis .
- The ends of their chromosomescalled telomeresshorten, and they show genetic damage.
Now, to some degree, senescent cells come in handy. For example, they might help suppress tumors or improve our immunity.
But as we age and senescent cells accumulate, they start causing problems such as inflammation, chronic diseases, metabolic dysfunction, poor recovery, and most of the unpleasant physical things we associate with getting old.
Senescence is inevitable, but malleable. That means we can speed it up, or slow it down.
We can speed it up with things like:
- environmental toxins
We might be able to slow it down with IF.1
To understand why, we need to define a few more key terms.
Lets start with apoptosis, or programmed cell suicide. Apoptosis is a crucial part of keeping us healthy, especially as we age.
Fasting may improve cellular signaling.
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.
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Is Intermittent Fasting Healthy
Is intermittent fasting safe? Remember that youre only supposed to fast for 12 to 16 hours and not for days at a time. Youve still got plenty of time to enjoy a satisfying and healthy diet. Of course, some older women may need to eat frequently because of metabolic disorders or instructions on prescriptions. In that case, you should discuss your eating habits with your medical provider before making any changes.
While its not technically fasting, some doctors have reported intermittent fasting benefits by allowing such easy-to-digest food as whole fruit during the fasting window. Modifications like these can still give your digestive and metabolic system a needed rest. For example, Fit for Life was a popular weight loss book that suggested eating only fruit after supper and before lunch.
In fact, the authors of this book said that they had patients who only changed their eating habits with this 12- to 16-hour fruit fast each day. They did not follow the diets other rules or count calories, and they still lost weight and got healthier. This strategy might have simply worked because the dieters replaced junk food with whole foods. In any case, people found this dietary change effective and easy to make. Traditionalists wont call this fasting; however, its important to know that you may have options if you absolutely cant abstain from food for several hours at a time.
Potential Drawback: High Stress Hormones
With the shift from carbohydrate to fat metabolism comes another type of shift: a hormonal one.;
As your body gets used to burning fat for fuel, it may utilize stress hormones like cortisol to liberate amino acids and fats from your reserves. This process can feel stressful until your body becomes efficient at fat burning, at which point cortisol levels return to normal.
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Major Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
Research shows that intermittent fasting periods do more than just fat burn. When changes occur due to this metabolic switch, it affects overall brain & body health. Many things happen during intermittent fasting that can protect you against chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, age-related neurodegenerative disorders, inflammatory bowel disease, and even cancers.
Studies reveal astonishing effects of intermittent fasting for both animals and humans. Here are some of its amazing benefits which have been revealed so far:
> Weight loss: As mentioned above, intermittent fasting can help you lose weight and belly fat, without having to consciously restrict calories. In animal studies, intermittent fasting prevented obesity. In 6 brief studies, obese adult humans lost weight through intermittent fasting in less than a month.
> Insulin resistance & Diabetes: Intermittent fasting can reduce insulin resistance, lowering blood sugar by 3â6%. Practicing it along with required medication can protect you against type 2 diabetes
> Memory & Brain health: Studies discovered that intermittent fasting boosts working memory in animals and verbal memory in adult humans. Intermittent fasting increases the brain hormone BDNF and may aid the growth of new nerve cells. It may also protect against Alzheimerâs disease.
> Anti-aging: Intermittent fasting can extend lifespan in rats. Studies showed that fasted rats lived 36â83% longer.
Could Help Promote Balance In Other Areas Beyond Food
When we think of intermittent fasting we immediately think of food, since that is what we are limiting. But could we benefit from taking a break from other things in our life?;
The basic concept of fasting is to abstain from something for a specific period of time, so what other things could we fast besides food?;
Television, social media, and video games to name a few may all be things we could use a break from that may positively impact our health and well-being.;
At the end of the day, consciously choosing to reduce or shift our habits can help us create health and wellness goals based on our values and beliefs.;
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History Of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is assumed to be a new dieting technique. Although its health benefits have only recently been discovered, fasting has been around for centuries. Fasting dates back to as early as to the Middle Ages.;
Throughout its early years, it was solely used for religious practice. Then, throughout war times and pandemics it was used to help with rationing and plagues. It was used to help people limit food and ensure supplies did not run out.
Now, it is still used for religious purposes. But, it is also used as a dieting technique by millions across the world. Once people saw real results from studies, the demand for information and guides increased rapidly.
Non-religious people that use intermittent fasting for its health benefits use it for weight loss, to improve gut health, reduce heart conditions and much more.
Although intermittent fasting is essentially nothing new, it is now used more than ever. Lets find out more about the health benefits of intermittent fasting:
Possible Reversal Of Type 2 Diabetes
Evidence shows that IF can help with insulin resistance and sensitivity. The food control which is encouraged by fasting helps to reduce blood sugar levels, which is helpful for controlling insulin. More evidence suggests that intermittent fasting may be able to reverse actually developing the diseases.
One study involved type 2 diabetic patients using fasting as a therapeutic technique for reducing insulin resistance as opposed to medication. The results demonstrated that fasting can be as effective as medication. Fasting helps control blood sugar levels, which helps control and improve insulin complications that diabetic patients suffer with. Thus, suggesting that fasting may lower the risk of developing diabetes.
This study also resulted in these patients losing weight, reducing their waist circumference and improving their blood sugar levels.
Isnt Fasting The Same As Reducing Calories
No, not necessarily. Fasting can reduce the time you spend eating and primarily addresses the question of when to eat.62 Calorie reduction addresses the question of what and how much to eat. They are separate issues and should not be confused with each other.
Intermittent Fasting Benefits That Arent Weight Loss
The surprising effects extend to heart health and muscle maintenance.
Most people try fasting with one goal in mind: losing weight.
But science has also discovered health benefits linked to whole-day, alternate-day, and time-restricted fasting, says Carolyn Williams, Ph.D., the registered dietitian that helped develop the new book The Mens Health Guide to Intermittent Fasting.
Scientists speculate that the benefits of short-term fasts may come from the structured break they provide to around-the-clock eating.
Even if you dont change the content of your diet, by controlling the time period in which your calories are consumed, you give your body a pause from a constant onslaught food, says Williams.
Maybe youre skeptical. But Williams says that, at first, she was too.
She studied the research. She looked at the data. She even tried a time-restricted fast herself. I expected the fast to affect my blood sugar because Im prone to low blood sugar and I know how I get without eating, Williams says.
But Williams says she was surprised to find that she had no trouble going 16 hours without eating. Her method: She stopped eating after dinner and fasted from 7 p.m. to 11 a.m., following the popular 16:8 intermittent fasting pattern, which leaves an 8-hour-long window for eating.
I find Im really not hungry; in fact, sometimes I have to remind myself to eat lunch, Williams says.
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May Extend Your Lifespan Helping You Live Longer
One of the most exciting applications of intermittent fasting may be its ability to extend lifespan.
Studies in rodents have shown that intermittent fasting extends lifespan in a similar way as continuous calorie restriction .
Intermittent fasting has also been shown to increase the lifespans of fruit flies 30443-3.pdf” rel=”nofollow”>43).
In some of these studies, the effects were quite dramatic. In an older study, rats that were fasted every other day lived 83% longer than rats who werent fasted .
In a 2017 study, mice that were fasted every other day saw their lifespans increase by around 13% .
Daily fasting was also shown to improve the overall health of male mice. It helped delay the onset of conditions such as fatty liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma, which are both common in aging mice 30512-6″ rel=”nofollow”>46).
Although this is far from being determined in humans, intermittent fasting has become very popular among the anti-aging crowd.
Given the known benefits for metabolism and all sorts of health markers, it makes sense that intermittent fasting could help you live a longer and healthier life.
Intermittent Fasting: Is It Right For You
U-M dietitian Sue Ryskamp weighs in on intermittent fasting benefits, who it works best for and how to get started
Weight loss can be difficult, but could intermittent fasting help? This eating pattern, which features cycles of fasting and eating, is making headlines as research confirms its not only what you eat, but when you eat, that matters in the struggle to lose weight.
During intermittent fasting, individuals use specific periods of eating typically within an eight-to-10 hour window to lose weight, says Michigan Medicine dietitian Sue Ryskamp, who sees patients at U-Ms Frankel Cardiovascular Center.
The premise behind intermittent fasting is relatively simple, she says: When our insulin levels go down far enough and for long enough, as they do during a fasting period, were able burn off fat.
Insulin levels drop when a person is not consuming food. During a period of fasting, decreasing insulin levels cause cells to release stored glucose as energy. Repeating this process regularly, as with intermittent fasting, leads to weight loss. In addition, this type of fasting often results in the consumption of fewer calories overall, which contributes to weight loss, Ryskamp says.
A Harvard research study also reveals how intermittent fasting may slow the aging process through weight loss, lower blood pressure and reduced cholesterol.
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The 14 Health Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is typically associated with weight loss. But, it offers more than just that. Fasting can improve your overall health as much as it can aid weight loss.
The modern diet industry is now crowded with new methods for losing weight and body fat. Yet, there are only a select few that people stick to. This is usually because of the various other health benefits they offer. Also, there are only several diets that actually work and can be sustainable.
Diets are now often used as a lifestyle rather than just a weight loss tool. Intermittent fasting being a method many intervene with their current eating habit and lifestyle. The fasting methods involved with intermittent fasting can offer 14 incredible health benefits:
Intermittent Fasting May Be Easier Than Traditional Diets
Research suggests that counting calories and limiting your food options can cause stress and increase cortisol production, which can subsequently lead to abandonment of the diet, feelings of deprivation, uncontrolled cravings, and weight regain. Adapting to intermittent fasting, a method of scheduled eating and fasting, relies strictly on time. Some people want more flexibility when it comes to losing weight, says William Yancy Jr., MD, program director for the Duke Diet and Fitness Center in Durham, North Carolina. They dont want to think about dieting every day of the week, they lose motivation after a certain period of time of restricting calories. Intermittent fasting works for people who like to follow rules, explains Elisabetta Politi, RD, nutrition director for the Duke Diet and Fitness Center. Rather than saying, Just eat less, we tell them not to eat after 6 p.m., she says, and for those who have the discipline, it works.
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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.;
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.
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May Increase Your Life Span
There are several reasons that intermittent fasting may positively impact our life span; weight loss, decreased blood pressure, and most of the benefits we listed above may all contribute to prolonging our life while also increase our quality of life at the same time.;
Intermittent fasting has been found to affect longevity in animal studies, having beneficial effects on life span and markets for health, stress, metabolic response, and age-related diseases .;
These findings are hard to confirm in human trials as there are many factors that affect epidemiological studies and many different types of fasting. But at the end of the day, some of the benefits of intermittent fasting may increase our quality of life overall and reduce our risk of developing chronic diseases.;;
May Be Beneficial For Heart Health
Heart disease is currently the worlds biggest killer .
Its known that various health markers are associated with either an increased or decreased risk of heart disease.
Intermittent fasting has been shown to improve numerous different risk factors, including:
- blood sugar levels
The effects of fasting on heart health need to be studied more in-depth in humans before recommendations can be made.
Studies show that intermittent fasting can improve numerous risk factors for heart disease, such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels, triglycerides, and inflammatory markers.
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Intermittent Fasting Benefits #: Brain Health
One of my grandparents suffered from severe dementia. It was hard to watch but I imagine it would be harder to experience. Id like to avoid the same fate.
But a healthy brain is about more than just future dementia. Brain health affects your entire life and body. Your brain controls you both physically and mentally.