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Overview

Intermittent Fasting (IF) is currently one of the world’s most popular health and fitness trends.

Besides assisting with weight loss, IF has many additional health benefits I will share in this article.

Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that involves regular, short-term fasts — or periods of minimal or no food consumption. Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting.

Here are some of the top benefits of Intermittent fasting:

  • Slows down aging
  • Has anti-inflammatory properties
  • Speeds up weight loss
  • Increase fat-burning potential
  • Improves mental concentration and brain health
  • Activates autophagy
  • Increases energy
  • Improves gut health
  • Improves heart health
  • Extends lifespan

Here is the most common way IF is performed:

  • You start your eating at noon and your last meal at 8 pm.
  • You are technically fasting for 16 hours every day and restricting your eating to an 8-hour eating window. This is the most popular form of intermittent fasting, known as the 16/8 method.

In this blog post, we are going to discuss four powerful benefits of intermittent fasting and then talk about a few keys to success.

The Following are 11 evidence-based Powerful Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting.

  1. Weight Loss– Eating less each day, keeping track of what you are eating, and learning to control your appetite are all key factors in successfully losing weight. Metabolism can be increased significantly, this can increase the leptin hormone which facilitates weight loss.
  2. There is a significant positive impact on insulin levels and human growth hormone (HGH) levels. While IF has been found to decrease insulin levels, HGH will increase. This all facilitates fat burning. IF in turn has a positive impact on reversing insulin resistance. Studies indicate that fasting can help boost your HGH levels. One such study found that after a 3-day fast, your HGH levels increase by more than 300%. A week later, they go up by a whopping 1,250%.
  3. IF has been found effective in helping you lose weight but even more important is losing visceral fat. Visceral fat is the harmful fat in the abdominal cavity that causes disease. Short-term fasting actually increases your metabolic rate, helping you burn even more calories.
  4. Several studies show that intermittent fasting may enhance the body’s resistance to oxidative stress. It’s no secret that Oxidative Stress can cause aging and chronic disease. This is in part due to free radicals (unstable molecules) reacting with important molecules such as DNA and proteins resulting in damage. The body’s resistance to this oxidative damage can be enhanced through intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting on a regular basis can lower chronic inflammation and ultimately lead to living a healthier, longer life!
  5. Autophagy. After an extended period of time fasting, the body reaches a point of autophagy. This is the way our bodies get rid of dead or dysfunctional cells that could wreak havoc on our bodies if not properly eliminated. Autophagy is cleaning and recycling at the same time, The cells are cleaned out and parts of them are recycled towards cellular repair. This is the body’s way of turning back the clock and creating younger cells!
  6. Intermittent fasting has been found to be effective in reducing inflammation. Mount Sinai researchers found that fasting reduces inflammation and improves chronic inflammatory diseases without affecting the immune system’s response to acute infections.
  7. Detoxification. The detoxification process is ignited through fasting. Even with the best intentions of clean eating, our bodies can become victims of toxic overload through our environments and modern life – EMF’s, pollution, pesticides, to name a few. When the body is fasting, the liver and other organs are not burdened by processing foods. Reducing caloric intake helps the natural elimination processes kick in since there isn’t anything else to metabolize.  It makes sense that if you reduce the number of toxins that enter the body, it is easier for your body to more efficiently remove the toxins that are already there. Fasting stimulates the production of liver enzymes that aid in the detox process, resulting in a reduction of inflammation – the cause of so many chronic diseases!
  8. Intermittent fasting has been found to be beneficial for heart health. Lowering triglycerides, LDL and lowering blood pressure are just few of the cardiovascular benefits.
  9. Promising evidence from animal studies indicates that intermittent fasting or diets that mimic fasting may help prevent cancer.
  10. IF shows promise in improving brain health. There is strong evidence that forms of intermittent fasting can delay the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease in animal models. “In animal studies, intermittent fasting has been shown to increase longevity, improve cognitive function and reduce brain plaque as compared with animals fed a regular diet,” said Allan Anderson, MD, Director of the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute in Tucson.
  11. One of the most exciting applications of intermittent fasting may be its ability to extend lifespan. In the one study researchers zeroed in on how fasting impacts life span. About 2,000 people who had undergone a cardiac catheterization procedure were followed for an average of 4.4 years, including 389 “routine fasters” who had been fasting regularly for at least five years. After adjusting for various factors, researchers discovered the routine fasters had a 45% lower mortality rate than the non-fasters during the follow-up period.

7 Tips for Transition & Better Results With Intermittent Fasting.

  1. Find the right Fasting Method for you. This will take some time and trial and error. Try fasting 12 hours, then work your way up to 14 – 16 hours.
  2. Give yourself time to adjust. It’s normal to have “hunger discomfort” and headaches and it’s normal to even cave in and eat when you’re not supposed to. But use those mistakes as learning opportunities; figure out why you didn’t stick with the goal and what steps you can take to prevent it from happening again. It doesn’t mean that fasting is not for you.
  3. Hydration is very important. Drink lots of water. You can actually enjoy some black coffee or herbal teas. This curbs the appetite and lessens the chances of you breaking the fast.
  4. Follow the routine. Break and start your fasts at the same times every day. Planning is important. Prepare what you can ahead of time, know what you are going to eat and when.
  5. Start fasting after dinner. This way a large portion of the fast period is while you are sleeping.
  6. Don’t overeat during the eating window. It might take some time to adjust if you get used to larger meals.
  7. Eat the right foods that will sustain you. While intermittent fasting isn’t restrictive on what you eat (only when), be sure you are eating enough protein and healthy fats that will prevent hunger pangs later and give your body the power it needs to sustain this lifestyle. Eating low glycemic and anti-inflammatory foods is very important to reset healthy functions of your body. Eating processed, sugary foods won’t help you reach your goals!

Summary:

Besides intermittent fasting having value in weight-loss, its benefits extend beyond that. It can help you live a longer and all-around healthier life too, according to studies involving animals and humans. If you are ready to start a journey to a Healthier You, we offer an amazing Doctor Supervised Weight Loss Program like no other. If you need more information how we can help, please call us (212) 719-3611 or email us wellness@atlanthealth.com

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6832593/
https://clindiabetesendo.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40842-020-00116-1
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC329619/
https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/full/10.1146/annurev-nutr-071816-064634
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S193152441400200X
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0891584918324389
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4403246/
IF and Inflammation
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7415631/
https://academic.oup.com/eurpub/article-abstract/30/Supplement_5/ckaa166.216/5914370
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7476366/
Alzheimer’s and IF
Lifespan and IF
https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/212538
Fasting and Lifespan