4 Evidence-Based Benefits of Intermittent Fasting


Evidence-Based Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of fasting and eating. Numerous studies show it can have powerful effects on the body and the brain. In this video we're looking at four of the best evidence based health benefits of intermittent fasting.

Intermittent fasting changes the function of cells, genes, and hormones. When you don't eat for an extended period of time, several changes happen in your body. For example your body initiates important cellular recycle and repair processes known as autophagy. And also hormonal changes that make stored body fat more accessible. Human growth hormone levels can increase which has implications for fat burning and muscle gain. And there are beneficial changes in several genes and molecules related to longevity and protection against disease.

So many of the benefits of intermittent fasting are based on these changes to hormones, gene expression and the function of cells. Intermittent fasting can help you lose weight and belly fat. Generally speaking, intermittent fasting will make you eat fewer meals. That means you will eat less calories throughout the day unless of course, you compensate by eating more in the other meals. Additionally, it enhances hormone function to facilitate weight loss.

Lower insulin levels, higher growth hormone levels and increased amounts of norepinephrine or noradrenaline, all increase the breakdown of body fat and facilitate its use for energy. For this reason, short term fasting has been shown to increase metabolic rate by 3.6 to 14%, helping you burn even more calories. In other words, intermittent fasting works on both sides of the energy balance equation. So it increases your metabolism, which is calories out. And it makes you eat fewer meals and therefore fewer calories which influences calories in.  According to a 2014 review of the scientific literature, intermittent fasting can cause weight loss of three to eight percent over three to 24 weeks. 

Now this is a huge amount. Participants also lost four to seven percent of their waist circumference. Which indicates that they lost a lot of belly fat which is the harmful fat around the abdominal cavity that causes disease. Intermittent fasting can reduce insulin resistance, lowering your risk of type two diabetes. The main feature of type two diabetes is high blood sugar in the context of insulin resistance. So anything that will reduce insulin resistance will help to reduce blood sugar levels and therefore be protective against type two diabetes. And this is where intermittent fasting look really impressive. In human studies, fasting blood sugar has been reduced by three to six percent. While fasting insulin has been reduced by 20 to 31 percent. One study in diabetic rats also showed that intermittent fasting protected against kidney damage, one of the most severe complications of diabetes.

This certainly suggests that intermittent fasting may be highly protective for people who are at risk of developing type two diabetes. However, and this is an important however, there may be some differences between genders.

Now there was one study in women, that found that blood sugar levels actually worsened after following a 22 day intermittent fasting protocol. Intermittent fasting may extend your lifespan, helping you live longer. One of the most exciting applications of intermittent fasting may be its ability to extend lifespan. Studies in rats have shown that intermittent fasting extends lifespan in a similar way as continuous calorie restriction. In some of these studies, the effects were quite dramatic. In one of them, rats that fasted every other day lived 83% longer than rats who weren't fasted. Although this is far from being proven in humans, intermittent fasting has become very popular among the anti-aging crowd. Given the known benefits for metabolism and all sorts of health markers, as well as autophagy, it makes sense that intermittent fasting could help us live a longer and healthier life. If you want to know more about intermittent fasting, as well as the different types there are, such as Eat-Stop-Eat, the 5:2 diet, and more then you can click the card in Youtube. Or you can follow the links in the video's description.

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