Intermittent Fasting: Is it Worth the Hype?
It’s strange to think that depriving yourself of one of life’s necessities may be one of the most effective ways of transforming your health. However, an increasing number of studies show that fasting can have massive effects on the body and mind.
Celebrity advocates include Tim Ferriss, Beyonce and Hugh Jackman. Executives at companies such as Facebook state that fasting has helped them gain more energy and lose weight.
There are different types of intermittent fasting, from fasting for two days a week and eating your normal caloric amount, to fasting for 12-16 hours every day, including your sleep hours. The most popular choice is the 12 to 16 hour overnight fast, which means that you start breakfast at 12p.m. and finish all your eating by 8 p.m. This is a more sustainable tactic than skipping multiple meals.
Luckily, intermittent fasting requires you to stay hydrated, even while fasting. This means you can consume water, and any calorie-free drink, such as tea and black coffee, without add-ins, like milk and sugar.
Research shows that intermittent fasting can have beneficial effects on your weight, inflammation, blood sugar and cognition. Think can stick to this amazingly powerful eating habit? Keep reading to find out why you should try it.
It Helps You Burn More Fat
Blood samples show that fasting from 12 to 24 hours at a time, pushes the body to enter a state called ketosis. Ketosis is a stage where the body uses fat for energy.
According to a study published in the journal, Cell Research, intermittent fasting for up to 16 weeks helped reduce risk of obesity. In fact, benefits were noticeable after only six weeks.
Intermittent fasting kick starts your metabolism, pushes your body to use fat for energy and produce more body heat, and helps you lose fat weight faster.
It Reduces Inflammation
We experience inflammation every day, from hitting yourself on a hard surface to having allergies. However, long-term inflammation can result in unwanted belly fat and overall weight gain.
According to one study, fasting has an anti-inflammatory effect on your neuro-immune system that counters a diet rich in inflammatory, processed foods.
Studies also show that intermittent fasting can have an impact against oxidative stress – which is a process that involves free radicals that interact with protein and DNA in the body and damage them. This helps slow down aging and reduce risk of chronic diseases.
It Can Protect Against Diabetes
Diabetes can be controlled through diet, exercise and medication. However, studies show that intermittent fasting can also be beneficial.
In one study, researchers found that intermittent fasting may be able to stop diabetes in its tracks. It shows that fasting stimulates the production of new pancreatic cells that replace impaired ones and thus, control blood sugar and improve insulin resistance.
It Strengthens Neural Connections and Improves Mood and Memory
People who perform intermittent fasting report that they feel more energetic and focused while fasting.
While you may think hunger might bring about a host of issues that inhibit your performance, such as fatigue and mental fog, science shows that the opposite is true. Being hungry provides you with a sense of focus. When you enter ketosis, your body triggers the release of a compound called BDNF, which enhances neural connections associated with learning and memory.
This is one of the reasons scientists feel that ketogenic diets, which also incorporate fasting may be beneficial in fighting against degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Some proponents also report that they feel more positive and experience an instant mood lift during fasting.
It has Anti-Aging Effects
According to a Harvard study, fasting triggers the energy-manufacturing mitochondria in your cells and prolongs your lifespan.
As people age, they experience a decline in their cell’s functioning. However, the study showed that the lower levels of energy that was produced during fasting hours pushed the mitochondria to maintain its functions for much longer. This helped enhance healthy aging.
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