Benefits of Intermittent Fasting


Interest in intermittent fasting (also known as IF), as in not eating anything for long stretches of time each week, seems on the increase. This worldwide practice has its traditions in religious or cultural teachings, but recent research indicates that the benefits of intermittent fasting may extend to helping achieve weight loss too. Moreover, other health benefits seem directly related to this form of controlling our diet.

What is IF?

Essentially, IF is controlled starvation done in a specifically planned way. It cycles between regular meal times and complete fasting, meaning restricted food intake and even no food at all. For some, the fasting may last hours, while others may refrain from food for a day or more.

The Benefits from Intermittent Fasting Extend Beyond Weight Loss

Probably thanks to modified improved cell and hormone function, fasting can improve general health as well as extending your life. Research into intermittent fasting suggests a lower likelihood of life-threatening diseases such as cardiovascular, cancer, and diabetes setting in. It seems that aging slows down too. When we fast, stem cells turn on and begin regenerating, replacing the many cells that die and giving rise to younger cells. This is one of the main benefits from intermittent fasting.

More Health Benefits Accruing

Other research indicates a beneficial link from intermittent fasting tp decreasing low-density lipoprotein (LDL), also known as bad cholesterol. IF also seems to improve insulin resistance, which helps stabilize blood sugar levels.

Using IF for Weight Loss

Whatever strategy you plan to use to lose weight during intermittent fasting, make sure the plan you use maintains the weight loss indefinitely. This means maintaining your IF program beyond achieving your weight loss target, even if adopting a somewhat reduced routine. Fasting beyond three days in a row is not a good idea. Speak to your medical practitioner before embarking on an IF program in pursuance of weight loss. This will enable you to aim for an achievable objective when fasting.

Spotlighting Other Health Benefits from IF

As mentioned earlier in this article, the benefits of intermittent fasting go beyond achieving weight loss:

Ø Cardiovascular Benefits – In terms of cardiovascular outcomes, proper research remains outstanding to confirm if intermittent fasting actually assists in lowering the risk of heart attacks. However, levels of adiponectin, which has anti plaque-forming and insulin-sensitizing properties, are increased when embarking on an IF program. This indicates a definite benefit from intermittent fasting exists due to the lowering of risk.

Ø Extended Life Expectancy – Perhaps the religious orders know something we do not! It is certainly exciting to imagine that we could extend our lifespan simply by fasting a certain number of days a week, but it is speculative to jump to the conclusion that engaging in intermittent fasting leads to this benefit. Another case of more research required.

Ø Reduction of Cancer Risk – Calorie restriction is also associated with a significant anti-inflammatory response in humans, which may inhibit cancer progression and malignant conversion. Calorie restriction in combination with radiation therapy aids in tumor regression and may even delay metastasis.

Be Safe, Not Sorry

It seems that there are definite benefits from intermittent fasting. If you are diabetic, make sure to embark on IF only under the close supervision of your doctor, and if you have experienced any eating disorder, stay clear of IF.

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