Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

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Intermittent fasting is a popular and effective way to manage your weight and improve your health. It involves alternating periods of eating and fasting, such as 16 hours of fasting and 8 hours of eating, or 24 hours of fasting twice a week. But how does it work, and what are the benefits?

Intermittent fasting works by changing the way your body uses energy. When you eat, your body breaks down food into glucose, which is used as fuel for your cells. Any excess glucose is stored as glycogen in your liver and muscles, or as fat in your adipose tissue. When you fast, your body depletes its glycogen stores and switches to burning fat for energy. This is called metabolic switching, and it has several benefits for your body and brain.

Some of the benefits of intermittent fasting are:

  • Weight loss: Intermittent fasting can help you lose weight by reducing your calorie intake and increasing your metabolism. Studies have shown that intermittent fasting results in weight loss of 0.8 to 13% of baseline body weight [1], this is more than many other types of diets. Intermittent fasting can also help you lose visceral fat, which is the harmful fat that surrounds your organs and causes inflammation [2].
  • Blood sugar control: Intermittent fasting can help lower your blood sugar levels and improve your insulin sensitivity, which can prevent or reverse type 2 diabetes [3].
  • Cancer: Due to the majority of cancers being metabolic in origin, reducing glucose & insulin and restoring metabolic flexibility can reduce the likelihood of cancer development or improve response to treatment.
  • Heart health: Intermittent fasting can improve your cardiovascular health by lowering your blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides [3], which are risk factors for heart disease and stroke.
  • Brain health: Intermittent fasting can boost your brain function and protect against neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Intermittent fasting can enhance your learning, memory, and mood by increasing the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that supports the growth and survival of neurons . Intermittent fasting can also reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the brain, which can damage brain cells. [4]
  • Longevity: Intermittent fasting can extend your lifespan by activating cellular repair processes, such as autophagy, which is the removal of damaged or dysfunctional cells and molecules. Intermittent fasting can also modulate gene expression and hormone levels, which can influence aging and disease [5].

Intermittent fasting is a great way to test your metabolic flexibility. Using urine ketone test strips, you can see how long it takes you to start burning ketones. Studies have found superior metabolic flexibility happens around 12 hours, though most people will take longer to start burning ketones – especially when you are new to fasting or ketogenic diet. If your body has adapted to a ketogenic diet, recall you will need to test using a blood ketone meter instead of the urine test strips.

Intermittent fasting is a simple and powerful way to improve your health and wellness. However, it may not be suitable for everyone, especially people with certain medical conditions or pregnant or breastfeeding women. If you are interested in trying intermittent fasting, consult your doctor first and start gradually. You may experience some side effects, such as hunger, fatigue, or headaches, at first, but they usually subside as your body adapts. It can take several weeks for your body to get used to intermittent fasting or to switch energy sources. Intermittent fasting can be a rewarding and sustainable lifestyle change that can benefit you in many ways.



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