Intermittent fasting (IF) has gotten a lot of press lately. But Does not eating really improve health? And, if so, what’s the best way to incorporate fasting into your lifestyle?
Intermittent fasting is not a diet but rather an eating pattern that you can adopt to cycle between periods of fasting and eating.
There are several different approaches to intermittent fasting, and you can choose the one that suits you best:
⏰ Time-Restricted Feeding (TRF): Limit your eating window each day, typically to 8-10 hours, while fasting for the remaining 14-16 hours.
🗓️ Alternate-Day Fasting (ADF): Alternate between regular eating and fasting days, where you consume little to no calories.
🤐 Longer fasts: Fasting for longer periods, such as 2-5 days at a time, is best undertaken under medical supervision.
Yeah, but why would you want to fast?
Below are some of the benefits of intermittent fasting that have been reported in the research:
Intermittent fasting can positively impact insulin sensitivity, blood sugar control, and weight management. Research suggests that improvements in insulin sensitivity can be observed as early as 12-24 hours into a fast.
Cellular Repair and Autophagy:
One of the remarkable benefits of fasting is its ability to activate autophagy, the cellular process that facilitates the removal of damaged components and promotes cellular rejuvenation. Autophagy is typically initiated after 16-24 hours of fasting.
Chronic inflammation is associated with various health issues, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and aging. Intermittent fasting has been shown to help reduce inflammation levels in the body, with significant improvements often seen after several weeks or months of consistent fasting practice.
Fasting triggers the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that supports the growth and survival of neurons and promotes neuroplasticity. As a result, intermittent fasting may enhance cognitive function, improve focus, and potentially protect against neurodegenerative diseases.
Longevity and Aging:
Animal studies have shown promising results, indicating that fasting can extend lifespan and delay age-related diseases, but the extent of these longevity benefits in humans is still being investigated.
How do I get started?
Remember that consistency trumps intensity as you embark on your intermittent fasting journey. Start experimenting with shorter fasting windows and gradually increase the duration as your body adjusts. Seek guidance from healthcare professionals, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or concerns.