Intermittent fasting can take many forms; the key is finding one that suits your schedule best. A popular method is the 5:2 diet whereby eating less two days out of seven while maintaining normal consumption on five others.
Time-restricted eating can also help improve health; you simply limit yourself to eight-hour windows a day for meals. Both methods of restriction can lead to lasting benefits in terms of overall wellbeing and can even contribute to weight loss.
1. It boosts your metabolism
Insulin and human growth hormone play an essential part in your metabolism, providing energy from food while simultaneously burning fat. Intermittent fasting increases their production.
Fasting also changes where your body gets its energy from. When eating frequently, your body relies on sugar as its primary source. But when fasting for extended periods, fat burn becomes its energy source instead.
Subdue hunger with appetite-reducing hormones by exercising. This can be especially helpful for people who tend to snack after dinner. Furthermore, this helps control your calorie consumption.
2. It lowers your blood pressure
Many people struggle with high blood pressure, which is a significant risk factor for heart disease and stroke. A study published in 2020 demonstrated how intermittent fasting can lower it significantly; one such study revealed women who consumed their meals within an eating window of approximately 10 hours a day had lower cholesterol, insulin, blood pressure levels as well as better thinking and memory capabilities than those who consumed food more frequently.
Abstinence from food for several hours prompts your body to release more leptin, the hormone that signals satiety. Furthermore, this strategy promotes more consistent cell turnover rates which is believed by researchers to prevent cancerous cell formation.
3. It reduces inflammation
Fasting can help lower inflammation levels in your body and may prevent further oxidative stress development – potentially helping slow aging processes.
Studies conducted on mice demonstrate that intermittent fasting increases cellular repair and helps ward off disease, including liver cancer and fatty liver disease. Furthermore, intermittent fasting extends mice lives by approximately 13%.
If you’re new to intermittent fasting and looking to experiment, start small and explore which method best suits you. Just make sure your eating window includes healthy options without overeating on high-calorie junk food, fried items or sweet treats; get enough protein as this will preserve muscle mass.
4. It boosts your memory
Intermittent fasting can improve memory by encouraging hippocampal neurogenesis – the process by which new neurons form in the brain – improving cognitive function and decreasing risk for neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
Lowering insulin levels helps the body transition from burning glucose for fuel to fat burning. One popular intermittent fasting plan is the 16/8 diet, where you eat as normal 5 days per week with 1 or 2 days set aside as eating windows.
Eat Stop Eat (ESE) is an approach whereby eating occurs only within a six to eight-hour window, as research shows this to stimulate Klotho gene expression which has been associated with longevity and improved cognitive functioning.
5. It reduces your risk of cancer
Research on intermittent fasting and cancer is still in its infancy; however, animal studies demonstrate its efficacy at reducing chronic inflammation and stimulating cellular repair. Furthermore, intermittent fasting may help cancer patients endure chemotherapy treatments more comfortably while improving quality of life.
Recent research published in BMC Cancer has demonstrated that time-restricted eating can significantly lower insulin levels while stimulating autophagy (the process that helps cells prevent apoptosis and grow cancer cells). Moreover, time restricted eating increases bone marrow progenitor cells as well as CD8+ T-cells cytotoxic T cells for cancer cells to spread faster.
Keep in mind that intermittent fasting is not a diet but an eating pattern, so it is crucial that during non-fasting periods, nutritious food should be consumed along with adequate hydration.
6. It helps you lose weight
Animal studies show intermittent fasting can improve disease markers like insulin resistance and blood fat levels while simultaneously lowering blood pressure, but can it also help humans shed pounds?
Experts claim intermittent fasting (IF) is an effective way to overcome plateaus in weight loss by forcing your body to use fat stores as energy, rather than glycogen stores for fuel. Dr. Scinta states, without glucose supply cells begin using glycogen for energy instead, breaking down fat more effectively while decreasing risk of cancer as a side benefit. She recommends trying a 5:2 approach in which two days per week you consume less than 500 cals while still eating normally other days of the week.