Intermittent fasting (or IF) is a pattern of eating that involves regular short-term fasts.
Before you freak out about the word “fasting” and think it has something to do with starvation, remember, that we already fast every night while we sleep. That’s why the first meal of the day is called “break-fast”.
Prolonging this period of going without food has so many health benefits; it’s no wonder why this strategy has become a hot trend in the health and fitness world.
So here are the eight reasons why you should consider incorporating intermittent fasting into your lifestyle.
1. It lowers insulin and balances blood sugar levels.
Intermittent fasting has been shown to help your body regulate blood sugar and insulin levels, which is the most important thing if you want to lose weight, have high energy, and prevent diseases such as type-2 diabetes, heart disease, various types of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
2. Trains your body to use its fat for energy.
When we eat every couple of hours, we train our bodies to rely on glucose for energy. That’s why we’re often hungry a few hours after a meal. But when you practice IF and lower your insulin (fat storage hormone) levels, you train your body to use the stored fat for energy, which is why it’s so effective for weight loss.
3. Keeps hunger at bay.
Since your body gets used to utilizing your body fat for energy, you can go hours without needing to eat and feeling hungry. It also helps you keep high energy levels and feel productive even hours after eating.
4. Helps recover and build muscle by secreting HGH.
IF is known for increasing the human growth hormone (HGH) in the body. This helps preserve lean tissue (muscle), whereas calorie restrictive diets are known for muscle loss.
5. Gives your body a chance to rest and detox.
Constant eating makes your body use lots of energy when digesting. By giving your body a break from eating, the energy can be used for getting rid of toxins and killing the old, senescent and cancerous cells (this process is called autophagy).
6. Reduces oxidative stress and inflammation in the body.
It has been reported that IF can protect heart and brain cells and reduce inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation has been linked to various diseases, including heart disease, some forms of cancer, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, and atherosclerosis to name a few.
7. May extend your lifespan and make you live longer.
Research has shown that IF may delay the development of disorders that lead to death – meaning that regular practitioners can enjoy a longer, healthier life than people who follow a traditional diet. It also makes your brain age better.
8. Saves time and simplifies life
Eating fewer meals less frequently leaves you with more time which you can spend on things that matter. That’s why IF has been a growing trend in Silicon Valley. It’s also a great travel strategy – you no longer need to be annoyed about the poor food options at airports. Simply fast.
With so many evidence-based benefits to intermittent fasting, you should definitely give it a try. In part 2 of the series, I’ll talk about the different strategies to practice intermittent fasting, so you can find the best way that suits you and your lifestyle.