If you are on social media at all you have undoubtedly seen posts about intermittent fasting. Love it or hate it, people tend to feel very strongly on both fronts. But what is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting refers to an eating pattern where you alternate between periods of eating and fasting. However, there are different forms of intermittent fasting that have quickly gained popularity as the new dieting technique. Some of the most common forms of intermittent fasting include alternate-day fasting, where you eat an ordinary diet one day and have small meals or fast the entire next day.
5:2 fasting is another common form of intermittent fasting when you eat a regular diet five days a week and fast for the other two days. In the daily time-restricted fasting mode, you eat a regular diet every day within an 8-hour time frame.
Studies indicate that alternate-day fasting can have the same results as low-calorie diets for weight loss. While fasting has been around for centuries, many people only started to realize the benefits of intermittent fasting a few years ago. According to research findings, intermittent fasting helps to reduce inflammation a lot more than other diets.
But what are the actual health benefits of intermittent fasting? Keep reading to learn more.
1) Alters the Function of Cells, Genes, and Hormones
When you go without eating for a period of time, many things start happening in your body. For instance, your body changes hormone levels so it can easily access stored body fat. It also triggers an essential cellular repair process. During intermittent fasting, the blood insulin levels drop significantly to enhance fat burning. The human growth hormone levels also increase significantly. With a higher level of human growth hormone, your body burns more fat while you gain more muscle at the same time.
The body also triggers an essential cellular repair process, such as eliminating waste material at the cellular level. Furthermore, your genes also change in several ways while increasing the number of molecules associated with strong immunity and longevity. Most of the benefits of intermittent fasting revolve around the adjustments in hormones, gene expression, and function of cells.
2) Helps With Weight Loss and Visceral Fat
In most cases, many people who try intermittent fasting do it to lose weight. Generally, metered fasting means that you will eat fewer meals. In the long run, you will end up significantly reducing your calorie intake unless you try to compensate during other meals. If you need more inspo, you can get some great offers with Macy’s promo code to help enhance the benefits of intermittent fasting.
In addition to this, intermittent fasting tests the functioning of hormones to induce weight loss. The dropping insulin levels and increasing human growth hormone levels combined with the elevated amounts of norepinephrine all stimulate the process of breaking down body fat which your body uses as energy.
Because of this, short-term fasting increases your metabolic rate, so your body burns more calories. Intermittent fasting works on both sides of the equation since it increases the number of calories your body burns and reduces the amount of calorie intake by reducing the amount of food you eat.
3) Reduces Oxidative Stress and Inflammation
Oxidative stress is a major contributing factor towards numerous chronic illnesses and aging. Oxidative stress revolves around unstable molecules called free radicals, which react with other vital molecules such as DNA and protein, causing damage. According to various studies, intermittent fasting improves your body’s resistance to oxidative stress. The studies also show that intermittent fasting can help your body fight against inflammation, another contributing factor to different common illnesses.
4) Improves Cardiovascular Health
Can you name the most significant cause of death across the world? That’s right, heart disease is the reason behind most deaths. You may already know that various risk factors link to a decreased or increased risk of developing heart disease. Fortunately, intermittent fasting can help you improve on many different risk factors such as blood sugar levels, blood triglycerides, blood pressure, total and LDL cholesterol, and inflammatory markers.
Although most studies are conducted based on animal studies, researchers believe that the effects of intermittent fasting can also translate to humans.
5) Offers Benefits for the Brain
Usually, what benefits your body also helps your brain, as is the case with intermittent fasting. As we said before, intermittent fasting comes with various metabolic benefits, many of which play a vital role in the functioning of your brain and its health. Intermittent fasting can reduce inflammation, oxidative stress, insulin resistance, and blood sugar levels.
Studies conducted in rats and mice indicate that intermittent fasting can stimulate and increase the growth of new nerve cells, which can improve the brain’s functioning. Interestingly, it also promotes the production of a brain hormone referred to as a brain-derived neurotrophic factor. A deficiency of the hormone has been found to play a part in depression and other mental health and brain problems. In addition to these, intermittent fasting can also protect against brain damage resulting from strokes if animal studies are anything to go by.
6) Reduces Insulin Resistance
Insulin resistance is the main reason behind the increasing cases of type 2 diabetes over the past few decades. Anything that helps you lower your insulin resistance should help you reduce blood sugar levels, thus reducing the risk for type 2 diabetes. Intermittent fasting has been found to help reduce insulin resistance leading to an impressive drop in blood sugar levels. According to different studies, intermittent fasting can lower blood sugar by an average of 3 – 6% over 8 to 12 weeks if you have prediabetes. Fasting insulin drops by approximately 20 – 31%.
Additionally, intermittent fasting also improves survival rates and offers protection against diabetic retinopathy, a complication that can potentially result in blindness. This means that intermittent fasting can benefit people with an elevated risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
Many people know intermittent fasting due to its weight loss benefits, but it offers more than that. It can help you realize a longer and healthier life based on various animal and human studies. Different intermittent fasting methods offer different benefits, such as improved cell, gene, and hormone functioning. It can also help with weight loss and visceral fat, as well as insulin resistance. Additionally, intermittent fasting reduces inflammation and oxidative stress while enhancing cardiovascular and brain health at the same time.