If you pay any attention to the latest health and fitness trends then chances are you’ve heard of intermittent fasting, also known as IF, more than a few times. There’s a reason why this trend has been popping up all around the fitness and health world lately. One simple search and you’ll see tons of fitness Youtubers, bloggers and influencers telling their IF tale for all of the world to see. But what actually is this eating trend, and does it actually work? We’re here to clear up all of the buzz surrounding this mystery.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
For many people, the first question that comes to mind when learning about IF is “do I really have to stop eating”? The answer is yes, but there’s more to it than that. Intermittent fasting is defined as the action of segmenting your eating by eating during a specific time and “fasting” during the rest. Simple put, it is an eating lifestyle where you fast for a set amount of time in between meals.
Intermittent fasting become a huge eating trend in recent years due to the raving reviews on all of the health benefits that this lifestyle has caused for many people. One of the biggest reasons why people love it is because of all of its weight loss benefits. But don’t call intermittent fasting a diet, IF advocates prefer to think of this as a way of life rather than some diet fad that gets debunked within months.
Intermittent fasting incorporates regular fasting into your diet, and your body adapts to the eating cycles. Studies show that by doing this you can not only reach your weight loss goals, but also improve your overall health. Think brain power, longevity and other powerful health benefits that you will love.
This may all sound great, but like any new health trend, it’s important to do your research and know what you’re signing up for. Before you dive into the world of intermittent fasting there are few important things you should know. For example, what are the intermittent fasting benefits and does it actually work? What actually happens to your body when you fast? Or, does intermittent fasting for weight loss actually work?
Here’s Our Beginner’s Guide That’ll Get You Up to Speed on All Things Intermittent Fasting.
5.) Fasting Is No New Concept
The first thing you should know is that fasting in itself is no new concept to the world. The idea of depraving yourself of something to get some type of reward is nothing new. Fasting is a practice that has been implemented by various human groups across cultures since the beginning of time. This practice has always been a method that people have used to renew their spiritual and physical beings. These practices have now evolved into various religious, cultural and health practices around the world.
In the ancient world, fasting was used in many different ways, whether it was to seek answers, find clarity or to prepare for war. On the other hand, during the time of hunter-gatherers it was practiced because of lack of food for a group of people. Instead of starving, they trained their body to go a certain period of time without food.
In various religions like Judaism, Christianity and Islam, fasting has been used as a way to deepen your spirituality and connection to God. Many of the holiest days in some religions involve a fasting period of some sort. These times of fasting are used as a time of repentance, seeking answers or renewing your mind and body.
Some of the most well-known religious days of fasting are Yom Kippur in Judaism, Ramadan in Islam and Lent for Catholicism. What these holidays have in common is the idea that fasting is a holy practice that tightens enriches your experience with God.
4.) You Can Choose What Works for You
There are a few different ways you can start this trendy eating style and start seeing and feeling the benefits of a healthier lifestyle. Remember that intermittent fasting isn’t a diet, it’s a way of life, so it’s important to find one that works well for you. Here are the most common methods of IF:
The 16/8 method is the most popular method out there for those who swear by IF. This method involves restricting your eating to only 8 hours of the day and fasting for the rest. This usually means skipping breakfast and waiting until lunchtime, let’s say around 1pm, to eat. From there you can eat lunch and dinner before 9pm, then fast until the next day at 1pm. Depending on the person, you can do this every day or implement it into different days of the week.
With this method you take 24 hour fasting periods a few times a week. You can choose the day that works the best for you. Typically people choose one or two days a week to fast.
The 5:2 diet is another popular type of intermittent fasting. It involves consuming the majority of you calories on a particular day. So for 5 days of the week you eat as you normally would, and then during 2 days of the week you restrict your calorie intake to 500-600 calories. This style is more attractive to many because its less strict on what you eat and easier to manage for many.
Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting
Another plan that people do is the bulletproof intermittent fasting which is close to the 16/8 method. Instead of completely skipping breakfast, you drink a bulletproof coffee until your eating period. Bulletproof coffee is basically a coffee that is packed with Brane Octane Oil and grass-fed butter blended into a frothy latte. This coffee is said to help increase the brain’s cognitive functions while giving you the energy you need. The coffee also helps to curb hunger during the morning’s “fasting period”.
3.) Here’s What Actually Happens to Your Body When You Fast
Before we get into all of the intermittent fasting benefits for your body, let’s break down how this all works at the molecular level. There is more to this lifestyle than just dropping a couple of pounds. When you stop eating, something changes in your body at the cellular and hormonal level.
- Autophagy: This is the process that your body goes through to regenerate old cells and create new ones. This essential process is needed so that your body can be protected against diseases naturally. When you start to fast regularly, studies have shown that this promotes autophagy in your body. Your body essentially does the work for you by removing old and damaged proteins in your cells.
- Insulin: Your sensitivity to insulin will improve and your levels will decrease. This makes it much easier for your body to access its stored body fat, an essential process in weight loss.
- Human Growth Hormone (HGH): The Human Grown Hormone plays a huge role in your body’s metabolism, cell repair and growth overall. Studies have proven that this eating style drastically increases your levels of HGH. This decreases your chances of getting diseases and helps to burn fat and gain muscle.
2.) How Fasting Can Be an Effective Weight Loss Tool
Most people who advocate for intermittent fasting are interested in its weight loss benefits, but does it actually work? The answer is yes, but with proper implementation. To start, intermittent fasting helps with weight loss because it changes your body to facilitate better weight loss. Essentially, your body is working for you.
Fasting = Fewer Calories
If you’re fasting regularly throughout the day or week this means that you’ll be consuming less food. Less food means that you’ll be eating less calories, which is one of the main factors that contribute to weight gain. When you restrict yourself to only eating during certain hours of the day, you’re dedicating your time to other things, like burning calories. While this may seem like a diet, it isn’t necessarily one. Once you start your IF journey you will soon see that the weight loss comes from much more than just not eating.
Cellular and Hormonal Benefits
Less food isn’t the only reason why intermittent fasting for weight loss is a popular practice. As we mentioned before, fasting changes your body on the molecular level. Improving all of the HGH, insulin and cell regeneration in your body creates the perfect hub for your body to start to burn fat. While you’re not eating, your body can easily access your stored body fat and run off of that, which helps with weight loss in the long run. This type of fasting has also been proven to increase norepinephrine or noradrenaline, which is a fat-burning hormone.
Keep in mind that the only reason why this style of eating is so effective is because of what you put into your body when you are allowed to eat. Intermittent fasting won’t work for you if you’re using the “eating period” as a way to binge or overeat unhealthy junk foods. Instead, during your eating period make sure you’re eating a proper high protein, vegetable and low carb diet so that you don’t offset your fasting. This helps save from the frustration of your diet not working.
1.) The Longterm Health Benefits Are Impressive
When it comes to the health benefits of IF, the list is endless and new studies are being done to find out more benefits of this way of life. We’ve named a few health benefits like losing weight, but there are tons of other ways that intermittent fasting can help you be a brighter, healthier person.
Studies have been done on both animals and humans to suggest that IF can help with longevity. When your body begins to regenerate cells and tissue, this fights against the deterioration of neurons, which is what happens when your body ages. IF has shown positive results because of the cellular and hormonal changes in your body.
Intermittent fasting reduces all of the factors that are risksfor heart disease like cholesterol, blood sugar levels and inflammatory markers. Heart diseases is one of the top causes of death for American adults, and with intermittent fasting your body fights against this on its own.
As mentioned before, the body will begin to reduce the sensitivity to insulin which lowers the body’s blood sugar. This reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, a disease affecting a substantial amount of Americans today.
Some studies have been done on animals to show that intermittent fasting can slow down the progression of certain cancers when paired with chemotherapy.
Brain Function and Memory
A study showed that restricting caloric intake to certain hours of the day helps people boost their memory, especially older people. This has also shown that it improves the ability to learn and stay sharp which is the biggest combat against neurodegenerative diseases.
A few things to remember:
A lot of the research on fasting is new, and research is conducted on both animals and humans. As intermittent fasting becomes more popular, scientists are finding out more about exactly how this special diet affects our bodies.
Similarly, if you’re considering making a transition to the intermittent fasting lifestyle, it is important to consult with your doctor beforehand. The effects of this obviously do not work for everyone, especially if you have particular health issues that would make intermittent fasting dangerous for you. If you have health issues like an eating disorder, diabetes or extreme weight problems, get a doctor’s opinion first.
At first glance, intermittent fasting may seem like a bizarre diet that consists of starving yourself. But hopefully after this guide you can see that it is so far from that. Intermittent fasting is a way to reprogram your body to work better for you, lose weight, and promote longevity and mental agility. It’s less about not eating and more about a lifestyle of what is nourishing your body and the effects of that. At the end of the day, we only have one body, and IF is a way to enrich it naturally.