You’ve probably already heard about intermittent fasting. Many celebrities, such as Elon Musk, Jennifer Aniston, and Miranda Kerr swear by it. In case you’re still not sure what it is — intermittent fasting is a dietary practice that involves alternating periods of fasting with periods of eating. People who tried it claim that it improved their health in a number of ways. But is that really true? And are there any actual health benefits to intermittent fasting? Let’s find out together.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a practice that involves restricting your calorie intake for a certain period of time, followed by a period of normal or increased calorie intake. There are several different approaches to intermittent fasting, including:
The 16/8 method: This involves fasting for 16 hours per day and eating within an 8-hour window.
The 5:2 method: This involves eating normally for five days per week and restricting calorie intake to 500-600 calories for two days per week.
Alternate day fasting: This involves fasting every other day and eating normally on non-fasting days.
How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?
Intermittent fasting works by shifting your metabolism and hormone levels. When you fast, your body switches from using glucose to stored fat as an energy source. This results in a rise in ketone bodies. When released, these molecules offer a range of health advantages. Such as enhanced brain function and decreased inflammation.
Intermittent fasting also impacts your body’s hormone levels, particularly those of insulin and growth hormone. Insulin levels fall during fasting times, which can enhance insulin sensitivity and lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. Growth hormone levels rise, which may aid in promoting muscle development and repair.
Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Now that you know what intermittent fasting is and how it works, you might be wondering about the potential health benefits. Let me tell you — there are so many of them! It can not only help you lose a few extra pounds, but it can also be a great tool in the management of some chronic diseases.
A lot of people start intermittent fasting with the intention of losing weight, and there seems to be some evidence to back this claim up. According to recent research, it can result in weight loss of 3-8% over the course of 3–24 weeks. This is most likely due to a variety of factors, such as a reduction in caloric intake and increases in hormone levels that support fat burning.
Increased Sensitivity to Insulin
Intermittent fasting has also been linked to increases in insulin sensitivity, a crucial component of type 2 diabetes management. Alternate-day fasting for 22 days increased insulin sensitivity by 57%, according to a study on obese males. In a different study, it was discovered that eating in this way for six months significantly improved blood sugar control in women with type 2 diabetes.
Many serious illnesses, such as cancer and heart disease, are believed to be influenced by inflammation. But also less severe conditions, such as acne and migraines, have been linked to an increased amount of inflammation molecules in the body. However, recent studies have suggested that intermittent fasting can lower inflammation in our bodies. For example, one study says that alternate-day fasting for eight weeks lowers the concentration of inflammatory markers in the blood of overweight adults.
Enhanced Cognitive Functions
It has also been proven that intermittent fasting is good for the brain. It enhances brain health and boosts the production of new neurons in animal studies. When it comes to human studies, it can enhance cognitive performance and lower the risk of neurodegenerative illnesses like Alzheimer’s.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
The Best Vegan Non-Alcoholic Fitness Cocktails You Just Have to Try