Who doesn’t love to eat? Food is a driving force in many of our lives serving as both a source of energy, nutrition, and it tastes delicious! But when it comes to keeping fit and keeping a trim waist, one of the biggest struggles most people have is with their diet. Determining the appropriate amount of calories to eat as well as eating healthy can be extremely challenging. There are plenty of fad diets that guarantee results, but what is the best way to press the restart button and shed a few excess pounds?
Enter intermittent fasting, an eating pattern where you cycle in between periods of eating and fasting- specifically eating about 500 calories 1-2 days a week or going between 12-18 hours a day without food. This is more of a diet pattern than a diet, and in addition to helping with weight loss, there are a variety of different benefits many may not be aware of. So, what are the benefits of intermittent fasting in comparison to other eating habits?
Function of Cells, Genes and Hormones
When you don’t eat for a period of time, your body reacts in very interesting ways. Since you aren’t consuming additional calories, your body begins to change certain cellular processes- here are a few:
- Insulin levels drop, which initiates fat burning
- Blood levels of growth hormone increase- facilitating fat burning and muscle gain
- Cellular repair processes are induced, such as removing waste from cells
- Changes in several genes and molecules including longevity and protection against disease
Lose Belly Fat
Since your insulin levels are low and growth hormone levels are increased, your body fat will be broken down and used as energy. This also means that your metabolic rate will be increased, resulting in further calorie burn.
Ultimately, intermittent fasting is a powerful weight loss tool. You’re decreasing your calorie intake in addition to your body fighting off fat stores.
Lowered Risk of Disease
Intermittent fasting has major befits for insulin resistance, leading to a reduction in blood sugar levels. This means that it can aid in the prevention of developing Type 2 Diabetes, which has become a common health concern.
Another benefit of intermittent fasting is the reduction in oxidative stress in the body, which can lead to aging and several chronic diseases. It also can fight inflammation which can cause any number of common ailments.
Heart disease is currently among the leading causes of death. Since intermittent fasting fights inflammation, lowers insulin levels, and can improve cholesterol levels, it can aid in preventing heart disease.
Unlike other diets, intermittent fasting doesn’t require you to follow strict rules or cut out certain foods. You’re welcome to eat whatever you like- no need to cut out gluten, chocolate or wine (thank goodness!) The rules are easy to follow and ultimately, you’ll learn the times that your body needs food and when it doesn’t.
For those of you that are concerned about working out on little food, fret not! Science has actually proven that exercising in a fasted state can actually supercharge your body’s ability to burn fat, meaning your work out will be even more productive!
If you’re considering intermittent fasting, the best tactic is to add this into your routine twice a week. But keep in mind- if you find that you can’t handle the hangry pains or that this just doesn’t do it for you, there are other options!