Benefit #: Intermittent Fasting Might Improve Brain Health
IF may slow cognitive declineperhaps by:
- Reducing inflammation
- Helping to control glucose and insulin
- Slowing processes of brain cell aging
- Stimulating neuroplasticity
- Preserving neurons
IF also shows promise in treating brain diseases and damage, such as after a stroke or concussion. But not all of the research is positive.2,3
Additionally, some people report brain fog while fasting, so cognitive performance may not improve during the fasting periods themselves. More research is needed to sort it all out.
Different Ways To Do Fasting:
- 5:2 Fasting- In this type ofof fasting, Person eats normally 5 days in a week and the other 2 days are of complete fasting or restricting the calories intake to 500-600
* Make sure you have gap between those 2 days.
- Alternate day Fasting- In Alternate day fasting, A person eats one day and next day is a day of complete fasting.
- Eat stop eat stop- This type of fasting involve, fasting once or twice a week for entire day, you would need to fast for 24 hour.
- 16:8 Fasting in 16:8 fasting, you have 8 hours to eat your meal and next 15 hours are the hours of fasting.
example: if you stop eating around 9 PM at night, you eat 1 PM next day and than eat in a window of 1 PM to 9 PM.
Hour Fast Benefit #: Better Gut Health
If we had to blame a single factor for the modern-days epidemic of chronic disease, wed single out inflammation.
The scientific literature is clear that chronic inflammation has devastating effects on ones health. Inflammation essentially causes poorer expression of your genes. If your mother has arthritis, for example, chronic inflammation may make you more susceptible to developing the same thing.
Thankfully fasting may help. It improves gut health enough to reduce many inflammatory markers. Its ability to promote ketosis means it can also help your body generate new, inflammation-fighting mitochondria. This process is called mitophagy.
In addition to reducing inflammation , increased mitophagy has been correlated with an increased lifespan.
Rodent studies show that IF extends lifespan by 36-8%. Its possible that a similar effect is seen in humans, though more research is needed before we can know for sure.
Fasting also reduces inflammation by relieving your digestive tract from the burden of non-stop digestion. It uses this time off to regenerate the gut lining, reducing your risk of leaky gut syndrome and preventing harmful endotoxins from escaping the digestive tract.
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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!
Increases Brain Function And Health
There is more to brain function than mental health and concentration. Improved cognitive, memory and learning functioning is essential for good brain health.
Studies display how intermittent fasting improves metabolic processes which aid better brain functioning. The timed eating restrictions encourage new cells to produce more regularly and induce BDNF expression.
Intermittent fasting helps the brain reproduce cells and remove old cells. This improves overall brain health. Better brain functioning helps better memory, learning ability and cognitive functions.
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How To Get Started
16/8 intermittent fasting is simple, safe and sustainable.
To get started, begin by picking an eight-hour window and limit your food intake to that time span.
Many people prefer to eat between noon and 8 p.m., as this means youll only need to fast overnight and skip breakfast but can still eat a balanced lunch and dinner, along with a few snacks throughout the day.
Others opt to eat between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., which allows plenty of time for a healthy breakfast around 9 a.m., a normal lunch around noon and a light early dinner or snack around 4 p.m. before starting your fast.
However, you can experiment and pick the time frame that best fits your schedule.
Additionally, to maximize the potential health benefits of your diet, its important to stick to nutritious whole foods and beverages during your eating periods.
Filling up on nutrient-rich foods can help round out your diet and allow you to reap the rewards that this regimen has to offer.
Try balancing each meal with a good variety of healthy whole foods, such as:
- Fruits: Apples, bananas, berries, oranges, peaches, pears, etc.
- Veggies: Broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, leafy greens, tomatoes, etc.
- Whole grains: Quinoa, rice, oats, barley, buckwheat, etc.
- Healthy fats: Olive oil, avocados and coconut oil
- Meat, poultry, fish, legumes, eggs, nuts, seeds, etc.
Drinking calorie-free beverages like water and unsweetened tea and coffee, even while fasting, can also help control your appetite while keeping you hydrated.
It May Lead To Improvement In Many Health Conditions
A 2020 study funded by the National Institutes of Health and published in the New England Journal of Medicine analyzed decades of previous research and found that intermittent fasting can lead to improvements in health conditions, including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancers and neurological disordersResearch on intermittent fasting shows health benefits. National Institutes of Health. Accessed 6/21/2021. .
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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.
Benefits Of 16/8 Intermittent Fasting
16/8 intermittent fasting is a popular diet because its easy to follow, flexible and sustainable in the long term.
Its also convenient, as it can cut down on the amount of time and money you need to spend on cooking and preparing food each week.
In terms of health, 16/8 intermittent fasting has been associated with a long list of benefits, including:
- Increased weight loss: Not only does restricting your intake to a few hours per day help cut calories over the course of the day, but studies also show that fasting could boost metabolism and increase weight loss (
16/8 intermittent fasting is easy to follow, flexible and convenient. Animal and human studies suggest that it may increase weight loss, improve blood sugar levels, enhance brain function and extend longevity.
Also Check: How Fasting Affects The Body
The Alternate Day Fasting Method
The Alternate Day Fasting Method means you have to fast every other day. This technique is advisable to everyone as it is an easy method to follow by all types of people.
In this method, you are allowed to consume 500 calories on a fasting day and can follow a regular diet on other days. However, for best results, you are advised to fast for the entire day by consuming only water, tea, or coffee.
Longer Life And Healthy Aging
Its a natural fact: cell turnover slows down as we age. It can take longer for wounds to heal and unwanted cellular proteins can build up, which can play a role in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimers and Parkinsons.
However, studies show that fasting kickstarts the biological process called autophagy, or the breakdown and purging of damaged cells and cellular material in your body. The length of fasting necessary to trigger autophagy varies person to person because of differences in metabolism and lifestyle. For some people, autophagy can start by about eight hours into a fast for others, it can take closer to 16 or 18 hours. Either way, the resultswhich may include better muscle performance, an increase in energy, and healthier skin and hairhave made many people believers in intermittent fasting.
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Drawbacks Of 16/8 Intermittent Fasting
16/8 intermittent fasting may be associated with many health benefits, but it does come with some drawbacks and may not be right for everyone.
Restricting your intake to just eight hours per day can cause some people to eat more than usual during eating periods in an attempt to make up for hours spent fasting.
This may lead to weight gain, digestive problems and the development of unhealthy eating habits.
16/8 intermittent fasting may also cause short-term negative side effects when youre first getting started, such as hunger, weakness and fatigue though these often subside once you get into a routine.
Additionally, some research suggests that intermittent fasting may affect men and women differently, with animal studies reporting that it could interfere with fertility and reproduction in females .
However, more human studies are needed to evaluate the effects that intermittent fasting may have on reproductive health.
In any case, be sure to start gradually and consider stopping or consulting your doctor if you have any concerns or experience negative symptoms.
Restricting daily food intake may cause weakness, hunger, increased food consumption and weight gain. Animal studies show that intermittent fasting may impact men and women differently and may even interfere with fertility.
A Brief Guide To Fasting
Fasting is fairly simple. You just have to follow three rules:
- Choose a fasting window. As you read, the stages of intermittent fasting each come with different benefits. Pick a window of time fast and stick to it. for example, if youre doing an 18-hour fast, maybe you stop eating at 8 PM today and dont break your fast until 2 PM tomorrow.
- No calories. A true fast includes zero calories during the fasting period. Water, coffee, tea, and other zero-calorie beverages are fine during water fasting, but anything with calories will break your fast.
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water during your fast. make sure you also get your electrolytes by adding sea salt to the water and/or taking an electrolyte supplement.
For more details about different fasting schedules and how to use fasting as part of a healthy lifestyle, you may want to take a more in-depth look at fasting.
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What Are 16/8 Intermittent Fasting Benefits
16/8 Intermittent fasting benefits are a time-limited kind of quicking. It includes eating food for 8 hours and avoiding food or fasting for 16 hours every day. Some individuals think this approach works by supporting the inner clock circadian rhythm of the body.
The majority of individuals following the 16/8 Plan refrain from eating in the night and morning or night. During the middle of the day, they eat their daily calories. The sorts or quantities of food that a person can eat within the 8-hour timeframe are not restricted. This flexibility facilitates the following of the strategy.
How To Avoid Overeating
Also be sure to eat slowly, which can give your bodys hunger hormones and satiety signals time to catch up with your eating.
Eggs are another extremely satiating food thats convenient and nutrient-loaded.
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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.
Could Help Lower Cholesterol
Your cholesterol might also improve after intermittent fasting when consuming a healthy diet during your non-fasting periods.
Better lipid profiles have been found after intermittent fasting including lower overall cholesterol, lower LDL , and lower triglyceride levels in healthy and overweight populations .
The majority of studies investigating intermittent fasting’s effects on cholesterol have focused on those fasting for Ramadan, so intermittent fasting may be an effective dietary method to improve your cholesterol, but further studies are needed to explore the differences in short-term vs long-term metabolic changes associated with fasting. .
If you’re concerned about high cholesterol try adopting healthy lifestyle habits like incorporating exercise and a diet low in saturated and trans fats, and rich in high fiber foods.
What Are The Possible Side Effects
There can be a number of possible side effects of intermittent fasting.40 Heres what to do if you encounter them:
- Hunger is the most common side effect of intermittent fasting. This may be less of an issue if youre already on a keto or low-carb, higher-fat diet.41Learn more
- Constipation is common. Less going in means less going out. However, keep in mind this is a normal response to eating less. It is not a concern and shouldnt require treatment unless you experience significant bloating or abdominal discomfort. Standard laxatives or magnesium supplements can be used, if needed.
- Headaches are common and tend to disappear after the first few times on fasts.42 Taking some extra salt often helps mitigate such headaches.43
- Mineral water may help if your stomach tends to gurgle.
- Other possible side effects include dizziness, heartburn and muscle cramps. Learn more
A more serious side effect is the refeeding syndrome. Fortunately, this is rare and generally only happens with extended fasts when one is undernourished.44
Since most of these side effects are manageable, they do not mean you have to stop your fast. However, if you truly feel unwell, are excessively dizzy, profoundly weak or have other severe symptoms, then you should break your fast.
Just remember to go slowly when you break it and prioritize fluids and salt . And of course, if the symptoms persist, see your doctor immediately.
Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting 18/6 Right For You
When combined with a good diet and a healthy lifestyle, 18/6 intermittent fasting benefits can be a sustainable, safe, and easy approach to enhance your health. However, it should not be regarded as a replacement for a well-balanced, well-rounded diet rich in whole foods. Not to add, even if intermittent fasting benefits do not work for you, you may still be healthy.
Though 18/6 intermittent fasting benefits are usually regarded as safe for most healthy individuals, you should see your doctor before doing it, especially if you have any underlying health issues. This is especially important if you are on any medicines, have diabetes, have low blood pressure, or have a history of disordered eating.
Intermittent fasting benefits are also not advised for women who are attempting to conceive, pregnant, or nursing. Consult your doctor if you have any concerns or suffer any negative side effects during fasting.
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So Is Intermittent Fasting As Good As It Sounds
I was very curious about this, so I asked the opinion of metabolic expert Dr. Deborah Wexler, Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Diabetes Center and associate professor at Harvard Medical School. Here is what she told me. “There is evidence to suggest that the circadian rhythm fasting approach, where meals are restricted to an eight to 10-hour period of the daytime, is effective,” she confirmed, though generally she recommends that people “use an eating approach that works for them and is sustainable to them.”
So, heres the deal. There is some good scientific evidence suggesting that circadian rhythm fasting, when combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle, can be a particularly effective approach to weight loss, especially for people at risk for diabetes.
Recommended Foods And Tips
While the 16:8 intermittent fasting plan does not specify which foods to eat and avoid, it is beneficial to focus on healthful eating and to limit or avoid junk foods. The consumption of too much unhealthful food may cause weight gain and contribute to disease.
A balanced diet focuses primarily on:
- fruits and vegetables, which can be fresh, frozen, or canned
- whole grains, including quinoa, brown rice, oats, and barley
- lean protein sources, such as poultry, fish, beans, lentils, tofu, nuts, seeds, low fat cottage cheese, and eggs
- healthful fats from fatty fish, olives, olive oil, coconuts, avocados, nuts, and seeds
Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are high in fiber, so they can help keep a person feeling full and satisfied. Healthful fats and proteins can also contribute to satiety.
Beverages can play a role in satiety for those following the 16:8 intermittent fasting diet. Drinking water regularly throughout the day can help reduce calorie intake because people often mistake thirst for hunger.
The 16:8 diet plan permits the consumption of calorie-free drinks such as water and unsweetened tea and coffee during the 16-hour fasting window. It is important to consume fluids regularly to avoid dehydration.
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