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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