5 Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Thanks to celebrity endorsements and media exposure, Intermittent Fasting has grown in popularity in recent years. However, before you take fasting on as a weight-loss solution or a way to cure diseases such as diabetes, it’s important to understand why and how it can affect your body—both positively and negatively.
“Some people mistake Intermittent Fasting with starvation,” says Dr. Eddie Fatakhov, M.D., a board-certified physician, nutritionist and best-selling author. “Starvation occurs due to extreme hunger or lack of food. Intermittent Fasting is a controlled cycling between periods of eating and not eating while food is readily available. For those thinking about trying it but aren’t sure if they can do it, understand that you already experience a period of fasting every 24 hours when you sleep. As for incorporating it into your daytime life, I have one very important piece of advice: Consult a physician before making big changes in your diet and routine. This conversation is very important when considering Intermittent Fasting as a preventative measure or to encourage weight loss. With your doctor, you can make a plan that works best for you and your physical needs.”
A good amount of research has been done to determine the benefits of Intermittent Fasting. Here, Dr. Fatakhov shares the main ones:
1. Weight Loss.
Intermittent Fasting is believed to cause weight loss because periods of not eating lowers insulin levels. Insulin is a hormone that allows our bodies’ cells to take in the glucose created by the breakdown of any carbohydrates we eat. This causes weight gain when that glucose is converted to fat and put into storage for future use. During Intermittent Fasting, cells release the stored glucose to create the energy the body needs. This, plus the overall lowering of calories eaten, can result in weight loss.
2. Possible Decreased Risk of Type 2 Diabetes.
As previously discussed, Intermittent Fasting is believed to cause weight loss while lowering insulin levels. These two effects are key when it comes to Type 2 Diabetes, since being obese or overweight with increasingly high insulin levels greatly increases the risk of developing this disease.
Unfortunately, this is where research is split. Some research has found evidence that Intermittent Fasting could be beneficial for people at risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes, while other research has found that Intermittent Fasting can actually increase the risks through an increase in abdominal fat, bodily misuse of insulin, and muscle depletion (major risk factors for Type 2 Diabetes).
3. A Healthier Heart.
This report found that Intermittent Fasting could reduce heart rate, blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides (a fat linked to heart disease).
4. A Healthier Brain
While studies on the effect Intermittent Fasting has on humans are still needed, it seems to have promising benefits in the animal world. Studies have found Intermittent Fasting can reduce the occurrence of neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, and strokes.
5. Reduced Cancer Risks.
Kamala Kirk is a University of Southern California graduate and has been an editor/writer for more than a decade. She has written for E! Online, Total Beauty, TravelAge West, Malibu Times Magazine, and many more. She resides in Los Angeles and is a proud pug mom. Follow her on Instagram: @kamalakirk