Intermittent fasting is one of the most talked about method of achieving a caloric deficit. Many regularly use it to reach their weight loss goals.
What is it really?
It is in the simplest terms a system of alternating periods of eating and not eating (fasting). This could be done by adopting cycles of hours, or days designated as eating and fasting periods.
This predetermined approach to eating helps individuals monitor their calorie intake more easily. Many have said they have experienced health benefits from implementing IT in their lives like the treatment of diabetes. Others have mentioned changes in their energy levels for the better.
While IT may be difficult in the beginning periods of picking up the habit, it becomes easier to bare after the body gets used to the cycle.
If you’ve consciously skipped breakfast to eat later in the day, you have practiced some version of intermittent fasting. The process is much endorsed for the following benefits:
Human Growth Hormone: There may be a major increase in the growth hormones as much as up to five times in the body. This hormone is reputed for burning fat and helping with muscle gain. It has other benefits too.
Cellular Repair: When fasting, the body undertakes a process of cellular repair where waste materials are removed from the cells. This process of autophagy (the metabolizing of broken and dysfunctional proteins that gather over time in the cell) improves immunity and works to promote longevity.
Insulin Levels: Fasting alters the insulin levels of the body, reducing blood sugar optimally. This fact helps reduce the likelihood of Type 2 diabetes.
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Gene Expression: Fasting reduces oxidative stress and thus manipulate how hormones interact with the body; fighting off diseases in the process. Oxidative stress is one of the things that hasten aging and enables chronic diseases. It involves the activities of free radicals that react with other molecules like proteins and our DNA and damage them in the process.
Heart Health: Intermittent fasting reduces the risk factors connected to heart diseases like high blood sugar levels or cholesterol. By fighting the risk factors, it impacts our heart for good.
Brain Health: Research shows our memory is sharpest when hungry. Fasting helps to increase the levels of a brain hormone called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). This hormone is absent in people suffering from depression and other brain problems.
Longevity: Fasting has proved in animal studies to increase lifespan. The process reduces the risk factors for many diseases and invariably as would be expected, increases lifespan.
Man have practiced fasting for thousands of years; as a religious rite, a fact of necessity, a survival mechanism or even a display of strength and mastery of the physical body.
Bottom line: It is a viable way to manage health and all you need is discipline. You can cultivate this with practice.