A Guide to the Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Though the practice of fasting protocols has been around for centuries primarily for religious and ceremonial purposes, it’s only become a popular health and wellness practice in recent years.
Quite Simple in its explanation, however, somewhat difficult in its execution, fasting is the practice of restraint from consuming food for a period of time. In the most extreme of circumstances, fasting can last days, with neither food nor drink allowed to be consumed.
With that said, among the most popular fasting practices is IF, or Intermittent Fasting…
If you haven’t already heard, Intermittent fasting has gained immense popularity throughout the health, fitness, and longevity space in recent years, and for good reason, becoming a healthy habit many are beginning to employ.
In short, intermittent fasting, otherwise referred to as IF, is a pattern of eating by which you shift between periods of eating (typically 8 hours) and periods of fasting (typically 16 hours). This is otherwise known as 16.8 Fasting.
While the majority of studies on IF involve experimentation on rats and yeast cells, top scientists and health experts unanimously agree on the vast benefits that IF can have on humans and their health.
In what follows, we’ll be discussing in detail the top benefits of intermittent fasting that you can come to expect if fasting is something you’re interested in implementing into your daily health regimen. So, if you want to learn more about intermittent fasting, look no further! This article is for you.
Top Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Although the research on intermittent fasting has yet to show that its benefits are superior to that of other dietary protocols, it’s an undeniably useful tool, particularly for those seeking to cut weight, lose fat, or live a more intentionally conscious lifestyle.
Similarly, while it might sound counterintuitive to ignore the lack of research on the subject, the anecdotal evidence alone should be enough to show proof of concept, proving its validity to a reasonable degree.
With that said, the benefits of intermittent fasting are plenty…
Withstanding its apparent weight loss benefits, intermittent fasting also boasts several other health and wellness benefits. Note that each benefit below varies from person to person and depends greatly on the consistency at which the intermittent fasting protocol is executed.
- Weight Loss and Fat Loss
- Mental Sharpness and Acuity
- Focus and Cognition
- Reduction in Inflammation
- Cellular Generation and Cleansing
- Boosted Hormonal Health
- Improved Blood Pressure and Blood Sugar Levels
Let’s now take a deeper look at the most prevalent benefits of intermittent fasting, shall we?!
Aids in Weight Loss and Fat Loss
The most common reason why someone would implement an intermittent fasting protocol into their daily health regimen is typically associated with weight loss or fat loss goals. Fasting generally results in lower caloric consumption, and thus weight loss. Given that you can negate overeating, this typically holds true!
Additionally, insulin levels drop when a human goes without food for a considerable period. Simply put, when insulin levels drop, individuals doing intermittent fasting can burn more fat. If intermittent fasting has proven anything, it’s that it’s a great tool for weight loss and fat loss.
Improves Brain Function and Cognition
Intermittent fasting has also been shown to provide positive results for brain function. First, in studies showing the effects that IF has on the development of new cells, results have implied a positive correlation to the protection and improvement of overall brain function.
Second, IF has also been shown to reduce inflammation. What does inflammation have to do with brain function? In short, anti-inflammatory benefits aid in the reduction of stress and the improvement of biomarkers. This, for obvious reasons, ultimately boosts brain function and cognition, bringing forth clarity, focus, and mood improvements in unison.
Extends Lifespan and Healthspan
Although the literature is far from conclusive to date, the results are undeniably promising. In the most recent experiments, outcomes have suggested that extended eating restrictions extend the lifespan of rats and yeast cells. Why is this relevant to the human body? Without going into too much detail, rats and yeast cells have a very similar cellular/genetic makeup to humans; That’s why rats are so often studied for human intervention.
Uncertain as to why, the most recent conclusions state that IF awakens our defence pathways of the body, delaying things like disease, age-related issues, and more. By engaging in minor stress-inducing activities such as intermittent fasting, we’re able to trigger a process known as hormesis.
Though harmful in large quantities, these acute stressors have been shown to cause positive biological responses at manageable levels, hence intermittently fasting! This may be the key to longevity, however, only science will tell…
Fasting is a form of hormesis that encourages a process in our cells called autophagy.
Autophagy is a cellular bodily process that cleans up damaged cells and replaces them with newer, healthier cells. In other words, it's a regeneration of the new and recycling of the old.
There are many benefits to autophagy, however, to keep it short, it protects our organs and inner biology from contracting such diseases and illnesses, and it in essence keeps our bodies young and healthy.
Improves Blood Biomarkers
Studies show that intermittent fasting is strongly related to an improvement in blood markers such as blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol. This is likely associated with the inherent rest that our body’s systems get during the period of fasting.
In contrast, poor blood markers correlate with the onset of early heart disease; a leader in the causes of death, globally. Although further science and research need to be achieved on this matter, there is no denying that intermittent fasting is worth a shot.
Although more research needs to be done on the subject in order to conclusively suggest any such claims, it’s unarguable the potential that this tool has for our health and well-being.
While intermittent fasting isn’t appropriate for everybody, it is generally safe for the majority of the population, and might even be most beneficial for certain subsets of the population.
It’s recommended for the majority of individuals interested to stick to the more popular 16:8 intermittent fasting protocol, beginning the eating window at noon and ending it at 8 p.m. Obviously stated, the restriction window would then run from 8 p.m. to noon the following day.
Not only is this the easiest method to adopt as a beginner due to its simplicity and attainability but it might just be the most effective strategy out there!