As far back as the 1930s, scientists have been exploring the benefits of calorie restriction and have shown that it can increase the lifespan of certain animals. More recent research suggests that intermittent fasting can provide the same health benefits as constant calorie restriction, which may be helpful for those who cannot successfully reduce their everyday calorie intake.
Both intermittent fasting and continuous calorie restriction have been shown to produce weight loss and improve metabolic disease risk markers. Studies have also shown that decreasing calorie consumption by 30 to 40 percent, however it is done, can extend life span by a third or more. It seems fasting may also increase the body’s responsiveness to insulin, which regulates blood sugar, helping to control feelings of hunger and food cravings.
There are different methods, follow one that makes life easy for you and follow the advice of your personal trainer. It’s also important to note that personal goals and lifestyle are key factors to consider when choosing a fasting method and anyone with health conditions should always check with their doctor before embarking on any kind of dieting. Intermittent fasting can be seen as a more a lifestyle than a diet, and should include making healthy food choices whenever you do eat, as proper nutrition becomes even more important when fasting, once again seek advice from your personal trainer or nutritionist and address your food choices before you try fasting.
Intermittent fasting includes everything from periodic multi day fasts to skipping a meal or two on certain days of the week and may promote some of the same health benefits that uninterrupted calorie restriction promises. To be effective, in the case of daily intermittent fasting, the length of your fast should be at least 16 hours, for example eating between the hours of 11am until 7pm, making lunch your first meal of the day and missing breakfast. It takes about six to eight hours for your body to metabolise your glycogen stores; after that you start to shift to burning fat. Therefore it would be better to limit your eating to an 8 hour window as you are replenishing your glycogen by eating every eight hours (or sooner) and making it far more difficult for your body to use your fat stores as fuel. Another version is the 5:2 diet. As the name implies you eat normally 5 days a week, then two days a week you eat 500 calories if you are a woman, or 600 calories, if you are a man. All diet schedules share a common theme of compartmentalising “fasting” and “eating” periods. So many variations of these diets exist because there is no one established method that is best.
Besides turning you into an efficient fat burner it is said that intermittent fasting can also boost your level of human growth hormone, known as the “fitness hormone”, production by as much as 1,200 percent for women and 2,000 percent for men. Also that fasting alone is more powerful in preventing and reversing some diseases than drugs.
Ancient hunter-gatherers often ate only intermittently, the researchers noted in their article. This suggests that the ability to function at a high level both physically and mentally during extended periods without food may have been crucial in human evolution, and that the human body may have adapted to perform at its best with intermittent fasting.
Research has suggested that in animals, intermittent fasting can fend off or even reverse such illnesses as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and neurodegenerative disorders. Animal studies suggest that intermittent fasting provides these benefits by allowing the body to respond better to stress that might otherwise damage it. For example, fasting could starve tumors, reduce inflammation, or improve the removal of damaged molecules and other components of cells, the researchers said. Intermittent fasting helps the body to rejuvenate and repair, thereby promoting overall health.
Remember fasting, like eating, is done best in moderation.