Intermittent Fasting Benefits Beyond Weight Loss
By Tom Incledon
Part of being healthy is being at an appropriate weight for your height and body type. I usually recommend that people find a style of eating that they can stick with and make part of their daily life and not jump from fad diet to fad diet.
People should eat a diet full of colorful fruits and vegetables paired with low-fat proteins and other foods that are low on the glycemic Index. I call it the Rainbow Diet, and it has health benefits beyond weight loss such as having the micronutrients and vitamins your body needs to fight disease.
Intermittent fasting is gaining popularity on social media and the Internet. When you’re scrolling through Instagram or Facebook, you will see ads for intermittent fasting plans and friends who are sharing stories about their success with intermittent fasting for weight loss. While intermittent fasting is a craze right now, it can be a lifestyle change with real benefits.
Intermittent Fasting Science
I always caution people to understand the facts about things they read on the internet. Just because people post about something doesn’t mean it’s good for your overall health or safe for your particular case. However, intermittent fasting is an effective weight loss tool and the research shows it may have additional health benefits.
As a scientist, I always do my research to understand how a new diet or technology works and what effects it may have on the body and health long-term. With intermittent fasting, there is a lot of research available that explains the science of how it works, which is really exciting.
Our team at Causenta is always up-to-date on the latest studies and research so we can best serve our patients through tools like intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting results are based on the timing of consuming food.
You have options
- Only eat in certain windows of time and fast for the majority of the day. This is traditionally referred to as the 16/8 model.
- Don’t eat for 24 hours twice a week and normally the other days. This is the eat-stop-eat method.
- Use the 5:2 model, which is when you eat only 500 or so calories for two non-consecutive days and then normally the others.
Intermittent Fasting and Food
It’s important to remember that while intermittent fasting is less about the specific foods you eat and more about the timing of the consumption of food, if you make poor food choices, you will not experience intermittent fasting results.
If you eat sweets and fried foods during your non-fasting windows, intermittent fasting for weight loss will see minimal results. And intermittent fasting benefits that can have long-term positive effects will be negated because your body won’t have the nutrients and vitamins it needs to do the important healing work that comes with intermittent fasting.
Intermittent Fasting Benefits with Sleep
It may take you some time to find the intermittent fasting schedule that works best for your lifestyle and hunger patterns. That’s OK as long as you give each schedule a week or so for a trial period and understand that what works for a friend or family member might not work for you.
Most people start with the 16/8 model because the majority of fasting time is when you are sleeping.
Intermittent fasting benefits from going to sleep on a less full stomach include easier and more complete digestion and better sleep over time. Sleep is another long-term heath benefit that is often overlooked. When you sleep at least six hours per night on a regular basis, your body will have increased immune function and less stress.
What happens to your body during intermittent fasting periods?
When you make intermittent fasting part of your life, your body reacts accordingly. During fast periods, your body has a chance to initiate important repair processes and adjust hormone levels. These are examples of intermittent fasting science.
The shifts at the cellular level help cells naturally rid themselves of old proteins, which can lead to longevity and protect against disease. The hormones and genes positively impacted during intermittent fasting periods include human growth hormone (HGH) and insulin.
Intermittent Fasting Benefits: Heart Health and Stress Resistance
In a study done on mice in 2018, it was found that the mice who participated in intermittent fasting lived longer and exhibited less age-related liver disease problems. There is also evidence from this study that intermittent fasting results in blood sugar regulation, less inflammation, and resistance to stress.
Some mice in the study had type 2 diabetes and through intermittent fasting were cured of the disease. Mice in other test groups who were at-risk for the disease never developed it based on intermittent fasting.
For those who are concerned about high blood pressure, there are intermittent fasting benefits as well. Improvements in blood pressure and resting heart rate have been observed in those practicing intermittent fasting for weight loss.
Intermittent Fasting: A Disease Prevention Tool
We know that chronic stress contributes to disease development; everything from diabetes to autoimmune diseases and even cancer have some correlation to chronic stress.
If intermittent fasting really helps the body resist this stress, it can be a game-changer for preventing and fighting disease. When used with other strategies, intermittent fasting could be a powerful tool.
Intermittent fasting benefits like weight loss can be seen, but the other more internal and invisible benefits are just as important, maybe even more important, long-term. To achieve the most intermittent fasting benefits, you have to stick with it. You won’t prevent disease by embracing intermittent fasting for a month and then going back to your old ways of eating.
Intermittent Fasting: A Wellness Strategy
As with most wellness strategies, they work best when paired with other best practices. For example, if you exercise every day, but eat fried foods, smoke cigarettes, and drink a base of beer a day, you won’t be very healthy.
So, it’s important to keep that in mind with intermittent fasting as well. While there are a lot of intermittent fasting benefits, it is not an end-all, be-all health strategy.
If you are interested in intermittent fasting and want to discuss how it can work for you, schedule a 30-minute consultation with our team today. We can help you understand what intermittent fasting benefits may be seen based on your current health concerns.
We can also work with you to develop an individualized plan for exercise that will complement the work you are doing with intermittent fasting to achieve maximum results.