Intermittent fasting—IF—is one of the most popular modified ways of eating that can also help you lose weight. It’s not about what you eat, although you should eat a healthy diet, but about when you eat. While there are all types of intermittent fasting, from eating very light on certain days of the week and regular on others, to eating between certain hours or skipping meals for several days. The latter is not recommended unless your in good health, since skipping food for several days can actually slow your metabolism. What does work is eating between certain hours, which gives your digestion a bit of a break as well.
There are multiple benefits from intermittent fasting.
Animal studies that date back to the 1940s showed the effect of IF on mice. The studies from the University of Chicago fed rats on alternate days. That led to the rats living longer and delaying the signs of normal aging. While that might sound cruel, fasting has always been part of wild animals’ lives, including early man. Sometimes, there are several days animals go without eating until they find a source of food. The studies showed improved metabolism, a reduction of inflammation, weight loss, lower blood sugar levels, improved brain function and a lower risk of cancer. It also improved insulin resistance.
Weight loss is a benefit of intermittent fasting.
Whether you fast a day or two a week or use an eight-hour window to eat, it could improve your chances of losing weight. Since your body requires glucose as fuel, which can come from simple sugar, if it comes from sugar or simple carbs, it’s broken down more quickly. When you fast, your body uses body fat to create the fuel. It helps lower insulin levels and aids in losing weight. In fact, in all studies, when participants ate during an eight hour window, they actually ate less food.
There are people that should do intermittent fasting.
If you have advanced diabetes and take medication, don’t try fasting without the supervision of your health care provider. Anyone taking blood pressure medication, is pregnant, taking heart medicine or is breast feeding shouldn’t fast without consulting their health care professional. For those with an eating disorder, it’s counterproductive.
- Japanese human studies confirmed the earlier animal studies and found that fasting sped up metabolism and slowed the aging process. Rats that had food at regular intervals actually grayed earlier than those who had IF menus.
- Eating healthy foods should be the prime objective of any change in your eating pattern. You can consider eating your food in an eight-hour window or other IF, once you learn to eat healthier.
- By narrowing the window of when you eat, such as between the hours of ten and six, you automatically cut out late night snacks, which can pack on the pounds.
- Just fasting for 16 hours can make changes to your body. It can cause the process of cell repair to start, plus increase hormones that burn fat. It also increases HGH—human growth hormone—by as much as five times.
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