Intermittent Fasting or IF has recently boomed in the weight loss and fitness arena. Recent studies show it has a huge benefit to not only health but also weight loss.
Its growth in popularity can be seen with a quick search on Google, YouTube or Pinterest with so many success stories of people losing weight, reducing and even reversing the onset of some inflammatory diseases.
If you want to know more about Intermittent fasting check out of blog post Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss.
It's basically a lifestyle choice where you cycle through periods of fasting and eating. The most popular type of Intermittent Fasting tends to be 16 hours fasted and 8 hours of eating.
It's natural for most mammals to experience times of fasting, think back to caveman times, and even today in countries where food is sparse. We can go days without much food and still survive as long as we have days where we will eat enough to fulfil our bodies needs. Continue to eat and we can put huge stress on the body. When does it really have time to recover?
Fasting has a couple of major benefits for weight loss and these are that it forces your body into ketosis. In Ketosis your body starts to burn lots of fat for energy and this happens anywhere from 6-12 hours generally the same amount of time we would fast at night.
At this point growth hormone levels are also at their highest but typically we eat breakfast and break that fast stopping any benefit of that fast.
So if we just extend that another 8 hours and do a 16 or 18 hour fast we would get these benefits plus many more.
12 benefits of intermittent fasting
- Normalised insulin - during a fasting period you allow your body to recover its insulin levels back to a normal level. this is ideal for anybody that is pre diabetic.
- Boosts mitochondrial energy efficiency - on a cellular level IF allows your mitochondria to become more efficient at using energy within the muscles. Essentially you body can produce energy more efficiently.
- Increased growth hormone and testosterone (fat burning) - IF prolongs the release of growth hormone and testosterone in your blood allowing you to burn more fat as a result.
- Reduced inflammation -Intermittent fasting has been shown to significantly reduce inflammation (article here). Alzheimers, dementia, obesity diabetes, and more are the main chronic diseases caused by inflammation.
- Lower triglyceride levels (fat) -fasting has been shown to reduce triglycerides by up to 30% (article here).
- Shred unwanted fat - during a fasted state your body will be forced to use fats for energy after carbohydrate stores are deleted.
- Reduces oxidative stress - because your body is using more fat for energy and less carbohydrates, less free radicals are produced.
- Increases brain function - fasting has been shown to increase rates of neurogenesis in the brain giving your more brain power.
- Lowers blood pressure -research shows that intermittent fasting can reduce your blood pressure.
- Reduces cravings - periods of fasting reduces your hunger levels. Most likely due to having a smaller eating window and your body getting used to periods of fasting.
- Easy to implement - most of us fast some days without even noticing. IF is very easy to implement which makes it a very popular tool in long term health and weight management.
- Longevity (you live longer!) - There are some studies on mammals showing that dietary restriction and and intermittent fasting, may extend healthy lifespan.
What's more it will break any weight loss plateau. If this is you and you've been stuck in a weight loss plateau for a while now, fasting will be your answer.
The best part from a nutritional standpoint is that when you finally break your fast with a good well balanced meal, your cells will be super sensitive to the nutrients and really utilise them to their best.