Intermittent fasting or IF is an ancient health secret. It has been practiced throughout the entire history of humankind. In addition, it can help you live longer. Many studies show that it can have powerful effects on your body and mind. It offers many benefits that can not be obtained from a traditional diet.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a pattern of food that runs from time to time. It does not show which foods to eat, but when to eat them. In this respect, it is more accurately described as a diet and is a part of normal daily life. Maybe it is the oldest and most powerful dietary method possible. However, common intermittent fasting practices involve 16 to 24-hour fasting daily or twice a week. People from ancient times did not have all-year-round supermarkets, fridges or food. They couldn’t find anything to eat sometimes.
However, In the past, people have grown for long to live without food. Actually, it is more natural to fast from time to time, rather than to eat 3 to 4 meals a day. Fasting is often practiced in Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Buddhism, for religious purposes. There are many methods available for intermittent fasting. Therefore, the 16/8 intermittent fating rule is one of those. This means you skip the meal for 16 hours from morning till evening or even 20 hours.
Fasting and weight loss
Intermittent fasting is an effective weight loss method. If you stop eating foods, you can reduce calorie intake by intermittent fasting. In addition, intermittent fasting changes in the hormone level to make weight loss easier. It increases the release of the fat-burning hormone norepinephrine (Noradrenaline) and growth hormone. (1) Because of these hormonal changes, your metabolic rate can increase by up to 14%. By consuming fewer calories and burn more calories, intermittent fasting leads to a successful weight loss strategy.
According to some studies, intermittent fasting can be a powerful weight loss tool. A study found that 3 to 8 percent of weight loss over 3 to 12 weeks, which is impressive compared to most weight loss studies. Another study showed that fasting causes less lean muscle loss compared to other methods. However, fasting helps you eat fewer calories. It is the primary reason for its success. You can not lose weight in any way when you eat a lot of food during the day. (2, 3)
Increases Growth Hormone
Fasting has some significant effects on your body. For instance, your body changes the hormone levels to improve the accessibility of stored body fat. Often, the cells start crucial processes of restoring and alter gene expression. Here are some changes happening in your body while you’re fasting:
- Human growth hormone increases
- Insulin sensitivity increases
- Cells launch repair procedures
The hormonal changes and cell function caused by fasting contribute to these health benefits that include:
- weight loss without limiting calories
- can help reduce blood sugar
- can decrease inflammation
- decreases LDL cholesterol
- fasting can prevent cancer
- can prevent Alzheimer’s disease
- fasting can increase lifespan
Intermittent fasting methods
With some of these methods, you can achieve outstanding results. Many people have tried these methods. However, these all can be effective, but depending on which method best suits you. These methods include:
- the 16/8 method
- the warrior diet,
- eat-stop-eat method
- the 5:2 diet
- fasting every other day
Intermittent fasting isn’t for all. It’s not something everybody needs to do, it’s just another tool that can benefit those people who really want to improve their overall well-being. For more information, read about 5 effective intermittent fasting methods.
Risk factors and side effects
The primary side effect of intermittent fasting is hunger. This may only take a few days because your body needs some time to adjust to the alternative meal plan. You should consult your doctor before trying fasting if you have a medical condition. If you’re overall healthy and well-fed, then there is nothing dangerous about not eating for a while. You must not fast without consulting a health practitioner if you are underweight or have a history of an eating disorder.
Some evidence suggests that fasting might not help women. In addition, fasting may increase some risk in skinny women. One study showed that insulin sensitivity improved in males, but blood sugar control worsened among females. While human research is not available on this topic, study in rats shows that fasting can emaciate female rats and cause them to miss cycles, which may increase the risk of infertility. (4, 5)
People who have a history of eating disorders or are underweight should not fast. Females that are skinny, pregnant, or lactating should not fast. Fasting has the most common side effect of hunger. People with certain medical conditions should not fast without consulting a doctor.
Where diets can be costly, intermittent fasting is free. In addition, fasting saves time and diets can take time. Intermittent fasting can facilitate things because you don’t have to schedule or cook as many foods as before. Therefore, intermittent fasting is popular in people who hack their lives to improve their health.
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- Dietary restriction normalizes glucose metabolism and BDNF levels, slows disease progression, and increases survival in huntingtin mutant mice. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2003.
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- Glucose tolerance and skeletal muscle gene expression in response to alternate day fasting. Obes Res. 2005.
- Gonadal transcriptome alterations in response to dietary energy intake: sensing the reproductive environment. PLoS One. 2009.