The Benefits of Intermittent Fasting, According to Experts
In recent times, there has been a certain buzz about intermittent fasting. A lot of celebrities, fashion gurus, and people in the medical field swear by it.
However, to some, the idea of fasting can be a little daunting.
Since ancient times, the importance of healthy living has been emphasized. This included having a balanced diet that consisted of 3 to 4 meals a day.
On the other hand, there is evidence that intermittent fasting (IF) is an effective way of losing weight. (You can find more on intermittent fasting approaches on this link)
It also has important benefits for the body.
Without further ado, let’s delve into specifics.
This is a no-brainer. Following any of the numerous approaches of intermittent fasting can result in significant weight loss. The amount of weight you lose depends on various factors such as body weight, gender, and physical activities.
Intermittent fasting helps an individual reduce the number of calories they consume, tricking the body into burning fat which results in weight loss.
Another way weight loss is achieved is by lowering insulin levels.
Partakers should, however, ensure that they do not over-eat or indulge in unhealthy foods during the ‘eating periods.’
According to an article published in August 2015 in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, there’s a chance that any version of IF may contribute to weight loss.
“This is all still the best guess, but the best guess is that eating earlier is better,”- According to Courtney Peterson, the lead author and an assistant professor of nutrition sciences at UAB.
A study published in the Journal Obesity concluded that meal‐timing interventions facilitate weight loss primarily by decreasing appetite rather than by increasing energy expenditure. eTRF may also increase fat loss by increasing fat oxidation.
A study published in June 2018 in Nutrition and Healthy Aging found 16:8 significantly decreased the systolic blood pressure among the 23 study participants.
“IF may help reduce weight, but it works because in the end, it’s a low-calorie diet,” says Abby Langer, RD.
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Controls blood glucose levels
Another benefit of intermittent fasting is that it controls glucose levels in the blood. This is particularly important for people who suffer from type 2 diabetes.
This is also achieved by lowering insulin levels which is a major marker in diabetes.
The most recommended IF approach suitable for people suffering from diabetes is the 5:2 method, according to Medical News Today. However, they should first check with their medical practitioners before indulging in any form of fasting.
“The research so far proves the benefits of IF to the extent that it is worthwhile as a method to lose weight, manage your blood sugar, and slow down the aging process,” says Sara Gottfried, MD, of Berkeley, California, author of The Hormone Cure, The Hormone Reset Diet, and Brain-Body Diet.
Improves heart health
Ischemic heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the world. In this case, intermittent fasting decreases risk factors that would cause heart disease. It decreases bad cholesterol levels, lowers levels of triglycerides as well as lowering the overall body weight of an individual. according to the American Heart Association.
Improves brain function
Research has shown that regularly cutting out foods for long periods improves a person’s brain function. This process is known as autophagy.
Autophagy is the process or getting rid of old cells for the purpose of regenerating newer cells.
However, regular food consumption can get in the way of cell regeneration and lead to an accumulation of old cells in the brain. When intermittent fasting is practiced, it helps the body clear up cells which, in turn, keeps our brain at optimum functioning levels.
Bottom line: This is to say that if only you are brave enough and have the ability to move past the hunger pangs, you will reap the above benefits of intermittent fasting.
It is also crucial to note that cutting out meals for prolonged periods is not something to be taken lightly.
CAUTION: If you are pregnant, have a history of eating disorders, have some form of illness or chronic condition, consult with a medical practitioner first to know if this type of weight loss method is suitable and will not have any adverse effects on you.
1. Effect of Alternate-Day Fasting on Weight Loss, Weight Maintenance, and Cardioprotection Among Metabolically Healthy Obese Adults: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Internal Medicine, May 2017.
2. Alternate-day fasting in nonobese subjects: effects on body weight, body composition, and energy metabolism. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, January 2005.