Many of you have heard of intermittent fasting. It is not a diet, but a way of eating - an eating pattern. By fasting, you are consciously limiting your food intake to a certain time frame. Many religions have maintained that fasting is good for the soul, but it wasn't until the 1900s that doctors started recommending fasting to treat diabetes, obesity, and epilepsy.
Why intermittent fasting?
Many experience the bonus of weight loss during intermittent fasting, but there are a lot more benefits. Intermittent fasting is linked to better blood sugar balances, decreased inflammation, and increased cognitive function.
Much like the Paleo diet, intermittent fasting is eating similar to how our ancestors lived. Food was scarce and many were not eating throughout the day. Intermittent fasting slows the transport of glucose into brain cells, and allows excess glucose and glycogen stores to be used as energy. Thus, many people can gain greater energy and mental clarity.
By altering blood sugar imbalances, many conditions that are related may benefit such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, and PCOS (polycystic ovaries syndrome).
Hormone benefits listed:
Insulin levels: Blood levels of insulin drop significantly, which facilitates fat burning (1).
Human growth hormone: The blood levels of growth hormone may increase as much as 5-fold (2, 3). Higher levels of this hormone facilitate fat burning and muscle gain, and have numerous other benefits (4, 5).
Cellular repair: The body induces important cellular repair processes, such as removing waste material from cells (6).
According to a 2014 review of the scientific literature, intermittent fasting can cause weight loss of 3-8% over 3-24 weeks (9). The people also lost 4-7% of their waist circumference, which indicates that they lost lots of belly fat, the harmful fat in the abdominal cavity that causes disease.
Here are a few protocols for intermittent fasting:
Fasting for 16 hours and eating for 8 hours. This usually involves either skipping breakfast or skipping dinner. This is similar to the diet developed by Valter Longo, Ph.D., a biochemist at the University of Southern California’s (USC) Longevity Institute. Dr. Longo has heavily researched the benefits of fasting, as mentioned above.
24 Hour Protocol:
Picking one day of the week for fast. Eat one meal and skip the other two meals until you fast for 24 hours.
5:2 Protocol "The Fast Diet":
Credited to Michael Moseley, MD after he completed several BBC medical documentaries including, Eat, Fast, and Live Longer and Trust Me, I'm a Doctor. This involves 5 days of eating and 2 days of calorie restrictions (500 cal for women and 600 cal for men per day). Calorie intake may vary depending on activity level. You can learn more at: https://thefastdiet.co.uk
** Intermittent fasting is not for everybody. You should discuss with your doctor before starting an intermittent fasting protocol.