Intermittent fasting has become quite popular in recent years. With people losing weight and also keeping it off, intermittent fasting seems to be onto something big. People are noticing they are not having to eat as strict or get rid of their favorite foods, but have to focus more so on when they eat and keep their portions in check.
Studies have shown that fasting for an extended amount of time past the fasting that occurs during sleep and then eating can actually help lose weight and much more. Intermittent fasting is basically breaking up the day and week into eating periods and fasting periods.
Three of the most popular forms of intermittent fasting are:
- The 16/8 Method: Fast for 16 hours each day, for example by only eating between noon and 8pm.
- Eat-Stop-Eat: Once or twice a week, don't eat anything from dinner one day, until dinner the next day (a 24 hour fast).
- The 5:2 Diet: During 2 days of the week, eat only about 500–600 calories.
Now, it is easy to tout intermittent fasting for its weight loss capabilities, but intermittent fasting has also shown other benefits that deserve praise.
- Reduces risk of type 2 diabetes
Intermittent fasting helps reduce insulin resistance which in return helps lower blood sugar levels. This is crucial when combatting and preventing type 2 diabetes in individuals.
- Reduces oxidative stress
Oxidative stress takes place with the release of unstable molecules called free radicals. These free radicals play a role in aging and wrinkles. Intermittent fasting helps reduce the effect of these molecules.
- Heart health
Intermittent fasting has been shown to improve numerous different risk factors, including blood pressure, total and LDL cholesterol, blood triglycerides, inflammatory markers and blood sugar levels.
- Induce cellular repair
During the fasting process, the body goes into this “waste removal” process called autophagy. This is when the body looks at cells that need repair or breaking down protein build-up in a cell and metabolizing it. The induction of this process is beneficial on so many levels for the body.
- Brain health
Studies have shown that intermittent fasting is great for brain health as well. With all the insulin and blood sugar benefits, along with the oxidative health perks, intermittent fasting is shown to help produce new nerve cells, which of course is great for the brain.