Intermittent fasting is currently one of the most popular health and fitness trends. People are using it to lose weight, improve health and simplify their healthy lifestyle.
Many studies (click, click, click) show that it can have huge effects on your body and brain, and may even help you live much more longer.
IF is a term for an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. It is not a "diet" in the conventional sense, it is more accurately described as an "eating pattern."
These are the most popular methods:
What Is Fasting?
When you eat food, it gets broken down into various molecules that your cells can use. These molecules are released into your blood. Insulin is released as well, and its job is to shuttle the nutrients into the cells. Depending on how much food you eat in a meal, your insulin levels can remain elevated for several hours (from 3 – 6 and more).
When your body is digesting and absorbing what you’ve eaten, it’s in a “fed” or “post prandial” state. Once it has finished processing and absorbing the meal, insulin levels drop to a “minimum” low (or “baseline”) level, and your body enters a “fasted” or “post absorptive” state.
Every day your body moves between “fed” and “fasted” states, and the purpose of intermittent fasting is to extend the amount of time spent fasting.
The Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
1. Promotes Weight Loss
One of the major intermittent fasting benefits is its ability to rev up fat burning and help the pounds slide off. In fact, many people prefer intermittent fasting to traditional diets because it doesn’t require you to meticulously measure your foods and track the calories and grams consumed.
2. Improves Blood Sugar
When you eat, carbohydrates are broken down into glucose (sugar) in your bloodstream. A hormone called insulin is responsible for transporting the glucose out of the bloodstream and into the cells where it can be used up as energy.
3. Keeps Your Heart Healthy
One of the most impressive intermittent fasting benefits is its favorable effect on heart health. Studies show that intermittent fasting can help keep your heart healthy by lowering certain heart disease risk factors.
4. Reduces Inflammation
Inflammation is a normal immune response to injury. Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, can lead to chronic disease. Some research has even linked inflammation to conditions like heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer.
5. Protects Your Brain
In addition to keeping your heart healthy and warding off disease, some studies have found that intermittent fasting could also protect the health of your brain.
One animal study showed that intermittent fasting enhanced cognitive function and protected against changes in memory and learning function compared to a control group.
6. Decreases Hunger
Leptin, also known as the satiety hormone, is a hormone produced by the fat cells that helps signal when it’s time to stop eating. Your leptin levels drop when you’re hungry and increase when you’re feeling full.
For example, fasting triggers a physiological process known as “autophagy,” which deals with the destruction of cells in the body. Autophagy plays a crucial role in maintaining muscle mass and neutralizing some of the degenerative aspects of aging. In fact, it’s the primary mechanism behind the anti-aging effects of calorie restriction.
Eating healthy is simple, but it can be incredibly hard to stick to.
Eating healthy is simple, but it can be incredibly hard to stick to.One of the main obstacles is all the work required to plan for and cook healthy meals. If you do intermittent fasting, this gets easier because you don't need to plan, cook or clean up after as many meals as before. Intermittent fasting is actually very popular among the "life hacking" crowd because it improves your health while simplifying your life at the same time.
The simplest way to incorporate fasting into your diet is to allow your appetite and schedule dictate when you eat. For instance, if you wake up and you’re not hungry, you don’t have to eat breakfast for the sake of it. Wait until you’re hungry. Or if you find yourself stuck in a situation where the only food available is something you really don’t want to eat, skip the meal and make up the calories/macros later.
The Bottom Line
Studies show that when calorie deficits are matched, people lose weight equally well on a traditional diet as an intermittent fasting protocol. That said, just because intermittent fasting confers no metabolic benefits doesn’t mean it can’t help you in other ways.
If you’re a healthy adult that exercises regularly, whether you should do intermittent fasting boils down to how you like to eat and what best fits your lifestyle. If you get too hungry to comfortably fast for long periods. Find a meal frequency that works for you.
Remember that total daily intake (calories and macros) is what matters most in weight loss. How you get there is of little importance.
The Original Blog post was posted by our fabulous Weight Loss Coach, Registered Dietitian & Personal Trainer's blog - Coach Joel -
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--What exactly do I mean by Sleeping in and Losing Weight?
My personal trainer, registered dietitian & International weight loss expert Coach Joel calls this the "Whoosh" effect.
Many experts in weight loss refer to this as intermittent fasting. Basically after taking a break from eating after an extended period of time ( even sleeping works ) the body goes into a fat burning mode. This is not a calorie cutting way to lose weight (btw) It has more to do with using the body the way it works to naturally burn fuel. The timing your food intake to specifically have a natural burn and using our natural hormones to help us lose weight. Eating when you're hungry over eating when the clock says it's time to eat. Many of us are so trained by the clock to eat on cue vs. when we're actually hungry.
When I first heard of intermittent fasting from my trainer, it scared me...honestly. All I could think was the downside on how this could be bad for the body since so many weight loss people push the 5 times a day of eating now. Many weight loss gurus encourage us to eat many meals a day throughout the day over having 3 meals which causes us to produce insulin throughout the day. Thinking this would be something which would lead me to feeling sluggish and and tired, I did not try it willingly. After experimenting with intermittent fasting (ALL by accident really with oversleeping and then watching the scale drop) After trying it out a few times were I at my last meal early at 6 PM and slept in until 11 o'clock on the weekends....I can say it truly works!
When you go from the 5 meals to the 3 meals ....it is a change you'll really notice physically and mentally. You're hungry again. You'll notice this right away over always feeling full throughout the day. The 5 meals a day are lower calorie meals and often higher in protein vs eating 3 more balanced meals spaced at certain times of the day.
For more on intermittent fasting watch the below video. Of course, if you have questions Coach Joel can answer any for you as well.
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