What Exactly Is Intermittent Fasting

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What Exactly Is Intermittent Fasting

Most of us have been raised on the three square meals a day concept, and even if we don’t strictly adhere to it, it’s the path we try to follow in one form or another. Basically, we’ve been taught that the human body was not designed to operate without fuel. Sure, we all know that some people fast for religious motives, and we’ve heard about fasting for your health, but it just wasn’t for us.

If you’re one of the people who always believed that we humans require a dependable source of continuous fuel in order to be at our mental and physical peak, you are among many. So intermittent fasting seems like a foreign idea to you. That may be because you don’t really know what it is.

It’s essential to be aware that intermittent fasting is not a diet. That means that if you’ve experimented with a variety of diets and haven’t been able to stick with one, don’t dismiss intermittent fasting as just another diet you will fail at.

Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern during which you cycle between periods of eating and periods of fasting. It’s not so much about which foods you eat, as it is about when you eat them. Many advocates of this fasting method report an increased ability to manage their weight.

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

So what are some intermittent fasting benefits? There are many studies out there that show that doing this regularly can lead to weight loss, protect you from disease, increase metabolic health, and maybe even help extend longevity.

When you fast, some interesting things happen in your body having to deal with cells and molecules.

Insulin

Your levels of insulin drop quite a bit when you fast. This naturally results in lower insulin levels. When your insulin levels are lower it makes your body’s stored up fat easier to reach.

Human Growth Hormone (HGH)

Amazingly enough, one of the intermittent fasting benefits you get is that the amount of this growth hormone soars, rising by as much as 5-fold, not so you can grow taller, but for other reasons. This aids in fat loss and muscle gain.

Cellular Repair

When you fast, your cells begin cellular repair processes. During one of these processes, cells digest and remove old proteins that have built up within other cells.

Gene Expression

Changes to genes and the way they work also occur during fasting. These pertain to the prevention of disease and prolonging life.

To better explain, intermittent fasting brings about many of the identical benefits towards lengthening your lifespan as calorie restriction does, however you needn’t go hungry.

It was in 1945 that a study found that intermittent fasting gave mice a longer lifespan.

Of late, there is a study that proved that using alternate day intermittent fasting also caused lifespans to lengthen.

Lower the Risk of Cancer

While this claim is still questionable, due to lack of research, there was a study done consisting of 10 patients who had cancer and indicating that the severe side effects of chemotherapy could possibly be eased by fasting ahead of receiving treatment. Furthermore, another study was completed using alternate-day fasting which supported the theory that fasting ahead of chemotherapy can lead to better cure rates and lessen deaths.

Intermittent Fasting Beats Dieting

Many people try dieting and quickly become discouraged when they do not see the results they were hoping for. Well, the reason for this failure isn’t the fault of the diet, but usually the fault of the dieter. People simply find it too difficult to moderate their behavior for a long period of time and thus fail because of not properly following the diet.

On the other hand, intermittent fasting has proven to be a lot easier to do and stick with as long as you are able to surrender the conviction that you have to always eat. This study proved that intermittent fasting can achieve significant weight loss in adults suffering from obesity because the individuals swiftly become used to the fasting routine.

Intermittent Fasting Plan

The ways used to accomplish intermittent fasting are different depending upon the individual’s preference. Here are a couple of ways of implementing an intermittent fasting plan.

1. 12 Hour Fasting

First, you have to keep in mind that for any type of fasting program to work you have to make up your mind that you are going to follow the plan and not cheat. Put yourself into the appropriate state of mind before you undertake an intermittent fasting plan.

Research has indicated that if an individual fasts for 10-16 hours the body will begin converting stores of fat into energy. This has the effect of sending ketones into the bloodstream which helps in weight loss.

Beginners should do well under this intermittent fasting plan as the fasting window is fairly small, and a large part of the fasting takes place while asleep, plus the individual can get used to eating the same amount of calories daily.

So an individual on this plan can opt to begin fasting from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. That means that dinner has to be eaten before 7 p.m. and breakfast can’t be eaten before 7 a.m., however, it’s not so difficult because you will be sleeping for a large part of this time.

2. 16 Hour Fasting

Accomplishing your intermittent fasting this way is done by following what is referred to as the 16:8 method or the Leangains diet.

What this boils down to is that if you are a man and choose to follow this method, you must fast for 16 hours every day, and women are required to do 14 hours. This intermittent fasting plan can be good for an individual who has previously tried the 12-hour intermittent fast but failed to achieve any results.

So while intermittent fasting can offer your body a lot of health benefits, it’s not a guaranteed foolproof way to improve your health and lose weight all by itself. You absolutely must have an intermittent fasting plan and be willing to stick with it for this to work. It really comes down to self-discipline and determination. If you put in the time and effort, you should soon be celebrating the results.

References

https://academic.oup.com/jn/article-abstract/31/3/363/4725632?redirectedFrom=PDF — JN The Journal of Nutrition

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0306987706000892 — Science Direct — Medical Hypotheses

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2815756/ — Impact Journals: Aging Open-Access Impact Journal on Aging

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19135806 — PubMed.gov

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20815899 — PubMed.gov

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3680567/ — PMC US National Library of Medicine/National Institutes of Health

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