What Is Intermittent Fasting?
You may have heard something about this new diet craze, and is it the next new fad for weight loss. Intermittent fasting is not a diet or a fad; it is a lifestyle change that brings us back to our roots. That is right, how we used to eat for millions of years. Intermittent fasting is when food, calories are the key, is not consumed for a specific time. It is that simple. You eat in an eating window and don’t eat outside of this window, called the fasting period. Some examples of this are the 8:16, which eight is the eating window of eight hours. The sixteen is the fasting period in which no food is consumed.
There are many fasting method besides the 8:16 like the 4:20 or the OMAD, one meal a day. There are shorter periods of fasting like the 12:12 or the 10:14 for beginners to start with and work their way up to a higher level. Selecting a fasting schedule to meet your needs should not be a problem.
Why Intermittent Fasting Works
The biology behind intermittent fasting that allows it to work is the level of insulin. This means that insulin levels become very low in a fasting state because there is no food in the system. Once insulin levels become scarce, the body then goes into fat-burning mode. At this point, the body has no fuel from food to use in the system and taps into the excess energy reserves that it has put away. This is the point that the body is in pure fat-burning mode.
If you think about it, the body stores a little reserve away for future use when there is food available and uses the reserve when there is no food available. This is nature’s way of preserving us. The body can sustain the burning of reserve energy for as long as it is available or think of it until the reserve energy tank is empty. The reverse is true for continuous eating throughout the day. When eating three meals a day plus snacks, insulin levels are continuously high, which keeps the body and fat retention mode. With insulin level high throughout the day, the body is storing fat continuously.
By allowing the body to go into a fat-burning state naturally provides for weight loss. It can be difficult, if not impossible, to lose weight when the body is in fat retention mode. If you’ve ever tried to lose weight from an exercise program or traditional diet and eat three meals a day plus snacks, you may have found that your results we’re not what you expected, or even worse, you gain weight. Three meals a day and snacks will keep the body and continuous fat retention mode because insulin levels are high. By allowing insulin levels to drop enable the body to burn fat automatically. This is how intermittent fasting works.
Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
The Nice Extra Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
All program benefits are positive, so the more, the better, and intermittent fasting the number of benefits is many. Some of the benefits are more substantial than others, so Nice Extra and Major benefits break down the list. Again, all benefits are good and positive and help you as a person and your health. Here are some of the Nice and Extra benefits you can expect from participating in intermittent fasting.
This is a pretty basic principle in that it takes effort to process food through the digestive system, which applies stress to your system. The more you eat, the more pressure you’re putting on your system to keep up. At one point, this was thought to be helpful and beneficial to the body because digestion requires energy. This is called the thermic effect of food, but we now know that the amount of calories needed to digest food is far smaller than the calories consumed.
By continually eating, you have never given your body a chance to digest food because it is always being added. An overlap of food from back-to-back meals causes the body to not absorb or use the nutrients from these foods that are either passed through the digestive tract or stored into body fat. Either way, this is not good for your body.
Overloading the digestive tract is no different than overloading anything else. Too much is too much to handle, which causes secondary issues. This includes less energy, diarrhea, gas, bloating, cramping, inflammation, weight gain, and heartburn. There can be many more issues that are caused by overloading the digestive system, but these are the more common ones.
Not getting all technical or sciency, but when the body goes into a fasting state, an enzyme called AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is released. This particular enzyme is responsible for cell repair and the burning of fats.
Better Brain Function
In a fasting state, the body becomes more aware, and less cognitive performance decline increases brain health.
Better Way To Measure Caloric Intake
Participating in intermittent fasting is time restricted eating, which changes the eating pattern with fewer meals. Skipping breakfast to shorten the eating window, sometimes called the fasting window, is the most common change. Eating fewer meals is a calorie restriction benefit, two versus three. Calorie intake is the other key component to fat loss. Fewer calories allow for more fat to be burned.
Many other benefits like hormone growth, increased metabolism, cellular cleanup, reduced inflammation, increased insulin sensitivity (better insulin resistance), and many others like it does not cost anything to participate in fasting. There are no gym memberships, no fancy programs, no subscriptions, and no special foods needed to begin and use intermittent fasting. It can be a lifesaver for the cost of $0. Where else can you get something like that?
Now Here Are The Major Benefits
Reduce Risk Of Heart Disease
The above description outlines how intermittent fasting works, and from this, you can see the first and foremost benefit is weight loss. As described above, insulin control is a huge part of when the body goes into fat retention mode or fat-burning mode. By lowering the insulin levels for long periods, the body will automatically burn fat as an energy source.
This is a clear path to weight loss, and using this tactic will lower fat levels in the body, which introduces an entirely new set of overwhelmingly positive benefits. Excessive weight is problematic for the body in so many ways, and reducing weight provides benefits that will astound you. These include lowering the risk of heart disease. Unfortunately, the leading cause of death in the US and the world is heart disease and represents about 700K deaths in the US each year and growing.
There are many heart disease forms, but the primary type is coronary heart disease, which equates to almost 400K deaths. Coronary heart disease is one particular type that develops when the heart’s arteries are not able to deliver enough oxygen-rich blood to the heart. The restriction is caused by plaque buildup in the arteries. This plaque is a combination of fat and cholesterol. High cholesterol is mainly caused by weight, and fat in the bloodstream is caused by fat. Eliminating fat in the body will reduce/eliminate the body’s plaque and thus reduce coronary heart disease and most other forms of heart disease and cardiovascular disease.
Unfortunately, the medical society and government classify the leading cause of death in the US and world as heart disease, but this is not accurate. The leading cause of death should be labeled obesity, which causes heart disease. If this were the case, then more attention would be placed on obesity. Lose weight and lose the heart disease issue.
Lower Risk Of Cancer
The second leading cause of death in the US and world is cancer. It is estimated that 20% of all cancer cases are caused or contributed to obesity, which is 1 in 5. Obesity has a higher risk factor for certain types of cancers: breast, colon, skin, prostate, ovarian, and liver. One study found that 13 types of cancer are related to obesity. The additional cancers are those just listed plus upper stomach, gallbladder, pancreatic, kidney, multiple myeloma, esophagus, and uterine.
Cancer is responsible for approximately 600K deaths in the US. A 20% reduction is 120K fewer deaths each year. Many cancers can be avoided by weight loss, which is a primary benefit of intermittent fasting.
Reducing The Chance of Diabetes
Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the US. This number could be understated due to the fact that 1 in 10 has diabetes, 1 in 3 has prediabetes, and there are potentially millions that have either prediabetes or diabetes that don’t know they have it. The effects of diabetes on the body are many, from circulation issues to kidney damage to blindness and a lot more. These effects will impact one or more parts of the body and diminish functionality, affecting another part due to the diminished function from the first part. An example of this is circulation that can increase blood pressure. Once this is impacted, other parts of the body are affected by increased blood pressure, such as heart disease. Many combinations can be put together from diabetes like this example.
How diabetes develops from obesity is in simple terms; the fat reduces insulin sensitivity, making insulin less effective in its ability to regulate blood sugar levels. Or another way of saying this is the fat gets in the way of letting insulin do its job. This can be avoided by losing weight using an intermittent fasting program.
Other Major Benefits Are
Lowering blood pressure and lowering cholesterol, both total and LDL. Both of these are directly contributed to weight, the more weight, the harder the heart has to work, and the more blood pressure will be increased. Cholesterol and more specific LDL cholesterol are increased by the liver in an obese state. Also, the additional weight reduces the liver’s ability to clear out LDL cholesterol. High blood pressure and high cholesterol can be avoided simply by reducing excess weight in the body, which is also a primary benefit of intermittent fasting.
There are more benefits from intermittent fasting than you can count on all of your fingers. With no downside and no adverse side effects, why would you not try this simple and proven technique? Remember, for 99.8% of the time humans have been on Earth; we ate one meal a day, or less, which has evolved us to fast naturally. This is how our bodies are built and why there are so many great benefits from intermittent fasting. This tactic gets us back to our basics and how we use to eat and live.