Intermittent Fasting and why you should be doing it...
Updated: Jun 9, 2018
Intermittent fasting is a term for various diets that cycle between a period of fasting and non-fasting during a defined period. Intermittent fasting can also be used with calorie restriction for weight loss. Studies have shown that Intermittent fasting can cause weight loss, improve metabolic health, protect against disease and could expand the human lifespan.
We already “fast” every day while we sleep, and the first meal we have is breakfast, or to "break the fast". Intermittent fasting is simply extending the fasting period longer, by pushing back the first meal you have until later in the day. Instead of having breakfast, you would skip it and have your first meal be at noon and the last meal at 8pm; this method is known as the 16/8 method where one would be fasting for sixteen hours every day and restricting their eating to an eight-hour eating window. Interesting Side-note; Hugh Jackman utilized the 16/8 in preparation for the Wolverine films. Remember that you want to eat your first meal when you feel you need it. You don't want to let your blood sugar drop very low and get that ravenous hunger that will make you make poor food decisions. You can also adjust your eating time window to what works for you.
Fasting is very common and there is nothing unnatural about it. Our bodies are well equipped to handle the fasting period. If you go back to ancient man who had to hunt & gather before they ate, and didn't have the luxury of opening the refrigerator to grab breakfast. Their bodies were accustomed and optimized to eat later in the day. Many argue that as humans, we are naturally coded for eating later in the day. Intermittent fasting is more commonly known for its weight loss benefits because it is an effective way to restrict calories and burn fat. However, intermittent fasting is also beneficial for the metabolic health and evidence shows that intermittent fasting could extend one’s lifespan as well as protect against diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and others. You can look at it as an effective life hack as well as also improving one’s health at the same time.
"By constantly eating and drinking sugary drinks throughout the day people are causing insulin spike after insulin spike. Insulin causes inflammation, and chronic inflammation is a leading cause of death"...
With intermittent fasting there are several different methods available to help improve one’s diet. Along with the 16/8 method there is also the Eat-Stop-Eat method where once or twice a week one does not eat anything from dinner one day until dinner the next day. Also, there is the 5:2 diet where during two days of the week you would only eat about 00-600 calories. These three are the most popular methods of intermittent fasting. By cutting out an entire meal each day the number of calories are still fewer per week, and even if you eat more during the two meals, your calories still are fewer per day.
When a meal is eaten the human body spends hours processing that food, burning what was just consumed. During the fasted state the human body does not have a recent meal consumed to use as an energy source therefore pulling form the stored fat in the body as it is the only available energy source, thus burning fat. Even when working out in the fasted state, without a ready supply of glycogen and glucose to pull from the human body is being forced to adapt and pull from the only source of energy available, e.g., the fat stored in the cells. Due to our bodies reacting to eating food by insulin producing, the body will become more sensitive to insulin following a period of fasting. These changes in insulin production and insulin sensitivity level can result in weight loss and muscle development because of the hormone levels changing. Intermittent fasting can help teach the human body to use the food it has consumed more efficiently, and the body can learn to burn fast as fuel when it is deprived of new calories to continuously pull from.
Intermittent fasting will simplify your lifestyle and help with reaching your fitness-health goals. It promotes stronger insulin sensitivity and increased growth hormone secretion, which are two key points for weight loss and muscle gain. It can also counteract conditions like Alzheimer’s, heart disease, dementia, and more. Since your pushing your calorie window back later into the day you can enjoy yourself a little more every now and then without feeling the guilt since you have the extra calorie allowance allotted from your fast.
Give Intermittent fasting a try and see what kind of health benefits you gain from the method.
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