You may have been hiding under a rock if you never heard of someone trying intermittent fasting. The intermittent fasting lifestyle was made popular by celebrities. From actor Terry Crews to Jenny on the Block (Jennifer Lopez) to one of the Kardashians, celebrities use their influence and share their diets on social media stretching their reach to hundreds of thousands of followers many of whom may follow suit increasing the diet’s popularity.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a diet that follows an eating schedule where you can only eat at certain times and then fast for the rest. Research in rats and preliminary research in humans has shown evidence of many health benefits including weight loss. People can choose from four approaches to intermittent fasting:
- Periodic fasting involves eating only on alternate days and fasting the other days. Studies have shown that many people find it difficult to follow this method because of the long periods between eating.
- Time-restricted feeding is the most popular method where eating is restricted to a certain time period during the day like 10 AM to 6 PM.
- Alternate-day fasting requires significantly lowering calorie intake every other day.
- 5:2 diet requires 2 non-consecutive days of fasting every week.
Health experts say that though intermittent fasting is highly popular, it works just like any other plant-based diet that must be followed closely.
What Are the Benefits of Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting diet benefits include:
- Lowering the risk of Type-2 diabetes
Studies have shown evidence of lower blood sugar level and insulin resistance, mostly in men, which protects the body from Type-2 diabetes. In rats, intermittent fasting showed evidence of protection from kidney damage, which is a common problem of diabetes.
- Evidence of reducing oxidative stress and inflammation
Oxidative stress leads to many chronic diseases and aging. It’s a result of molecule activity where unstable molecules damage important molecules like protein and DNA.
- Improving brain health
Intermittent fasting affects metabolic brain features and has been linked to growing new neurons and preventing brain disease.
- Weight loss
With restricted meals and the body changes that come with fasting, losing belly fat is made easily with the increase in metabolic rate.
- Lower risk of chronic diseases
Research has shown a reduction in chronic diseases with intermittent fasting including heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s.
As you can see, intermittent fasting like other diets improves overall body health.
How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?
Intermittent fasting works because when you don’t eat for a long time, changes in your body start happening. It lowers your blood insulin levels, which leads to weight loss. Human growth hormone levels increase during fasting resulting in fat burning and muscle gain among other benefits. Important cellular repair increases including waste removal from cells. There are even effects on gene expression with changes in genes and molecules related to disease protection and longevity.
Overall, intermittent fasting helps you lose weight and belly fat as well as making these significant changes to your body and how cells work that improve your health.