We know that what you eat plays a massive role in your health. But what if when you eat could make a difference?

It turns out that your eating schedule, or lack of, may make a noticeable impact. Most people don’t have a specific time that they eat meals, and they graze on snacks throughout the day. While this isn’t bad as long as you eat healthy food, changing to intermittent fasting may benefit you more.

An Intro to Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting aims to prolong the fasting state, causing your body to burn fat cells for energy. You do this by giving yourself a set window of time to consume your daily calories. Outside of that window, you consume no calories.

When you’ve eaten, your body fuels itself using glucose. You store the excess glucose in fat cells, but your body doesn’t often need to burn the excess. When you fast, you deplete the glucose you consumed, so your body switches to burning fat.

One popular way is the Leangains method. This allows you to choose 8 hours during the day to eat followed by 16 hours of fasting. For example, your daily eating window could be from 5 AM-9 PM or 11 AM-7 PM. Other methods adjust the length of time that you fast.

Potential Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Research on intermittent fasting shows huge potential for many health benefits.

Weight Loss & Body Composition

Many people struggle with health issues due to excess weight. Since fasting leads to burning fat, it helps shed weight. For some weight-related conditions, fat loss can ease symptoms or resolve the issue.

Insulin Resistance & Type 2 Diabetes

The main goal with insulin resistance and diabetes is to lower your blood sugar. Your blood sugar levels drop during fasting, which can lead to a drastic improvement in insulin resistance and A1C [3] levels.

Reduced Inflammation

Inflammation plays a critical role in several chronic and acute conditions. Studies [1] show that fasting may reduce the level of inflammatory markers in our blood such as monocytes.

Lowers Triglyceride & “Bad” Cholesterol Levels

High levels of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol are at the root of many heart conditions. Research [4] indicates that intermittent fasting can reduce those levels. 

Paired with reduced blood sugar and inflammation, intermittent fasting could impact heart health.

Cell Health & Cancer

Short-term fasting promotes a process called “autophagy.” [2] This process removes cell waste and promotes balanced, healthy cell regeneration. 

Everyone can benefit from healthy cells, but increased autophagy may also protect against some forms of cancer [5]. Additional evidence suggests that intermittent fasting could improve certain side effects of chemotherapy.

Safety

Intermittent fasting isn’t for everyone. It’s always good to consult your doctor before beginning a diet.

It’s crucial that you consult your doctor if you:

  • Are underweight
  • Have a history of eating disorders
  • Take medications
  • Pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.
  • Have a history of blood clotting disorders or anemia
  • Are diabetic

Stop fasting and speak to a doctor ASAP if you experience symptoms such as low blood pressure, low blood sugar, weakness, or fatigue.

 Disclaimer: this post is purely informational and is not intended to replace the advice of a licensed physician. Please consult your doctor before beginning any type of fasting regimen.

Some tips for beginning:

Guest post written by Alex Platt of Supps Advisor

References

[1] Al-Kurd, R., Bustanji, Y., Fararjeh, M., Faris, M., Kacimi, S., Mohammad, M., & Salem, M. (2012). Intermittent fasting during Ramadan attenuates proinflammatory cytokines and immune cells in healthy subjects. – PubMed – NCBI. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Retrieved 22 April 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23244540.

[2] Alirezaei, M., Flynn, C., Kemball, C., Kiosses, W., Whitton, J., & Wood, M. (2010). Short-term fasting induces profound neuronal autophagy. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Retrieved 22 April 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3106288/.

[3] Barnosky, A., Hoddy, K., Unterman, T., & Varady, K. (2014). Intermittent fasting vs daily calorie restriction for type 2 diabetes prevention: a review of human findings. ScienceDirect. Retrieved 22 April 2020, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S193152441400200X.

[4] Bhutani, S., Church, E., Klempel, M., & Varady, K. (2009). Short-term modified alternate-day fasting: a novel dietary strategy for weight loss and cardioprotection in obese adults. – PubMed – NCBI. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Retrieved 22 April 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19793855.

[5] Descamps, O., Ducros, V., Riondel, J., & Roussel, A. (2005). Mitochondrial production of reactive oxygen species and incidence of age-associated lymphoma in OF1 mice: effect of alternate-day fasting. – PubMed – NCBI. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Retrieved 22 April 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16126250.

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