The Ins & Outs of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. It does not specify which foods to eat but rather when to eat them. Common intermittent fasting methods involve daily 16-hour fasts or fasting for 24 hours, 1-2 times per week (dinner on Wednesday night to dinner on Thursday night, for instance). There is a growing body of research suggesting that intermittent fasting may provide numerous health benefits, both physically and mentally.
A note from the author: From my personal experience, doing intermittent fasting and a low carbohydrate diet is a recipe for disaster. Also, it seems to work better for men than it does for women. Lastly, I find that it is most effective when used in a cyclical fashion throughout the year. I will do Intermittent Fasting for 3-4 months, and I will cater my training to lower volume, but higher intensity training. In the next 3-4 months, I will eat “normally” at 3-5 meals/day, and switch my training to higher volume, lower intensity training. This has always seemed to give me the best bang for my buck, with metabolic sensitivity and hypertrophy adaptations.
- Back to Intermittent Fasting (IF) and its many benefits!
Improved Insulin Sensitivity:
IF helps improve insulin sensitivity, which allows cells to take up glucose more efficiently. This can lower blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Weight Loss and Body Fat Reduction: By restricting the eating window, IF can lead to a natural reduction in calorie intake. Additionally, IF may increase the release of human growth hormone (HGH) and norepinephrine, which can promote the breakdown of body fat and its use for energy.
Enhanced Cellular Repair Processes: During fasting periods, cells initiate a cellular waste removal process called autophagy. This involves breaking down and recycling old and damaged cellular components, which can help protect against diseases, including cancer and neurodegenerative disorders.
Reduced Inflammation: IF has been shown to decrease levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which can help reduce chronic inflammation and potentially lower the risk of various inflammatory diseases.
Improved Cardiovascular Health: Intermittent fasting has been linked to improvements in blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and triglycerides, which can contribute to better overall heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease.
Increased Brain Health: IF may improve brain function by increasing the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that promotes neuronal survival, growth, and synaptic plasticity. This could potentially reduce the risk of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Longevity: Some animal studies have suggested that IF may extend lifespan by promoting cellular repair and maintenance processes, reducing oxidative stress, and improving metabolic efficiency.
Cancer Prevention: By reducing cell proliferation, promoting autophagy, and decreasing inflammation, IF may help reduce the risk of developing various types of cancer.
Improved Gut Health: Intermittent fasting may promote a healthy gut microbiome by stimulating the production of short-chain fatty acids, which have been linked to improved gut barrier function and reduced inflammation.
It’s important to note that while these health benefits have been observed in numerous scientific studies, individual results may vary, and it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new dietary or lifestyle changes. Additionally, IF may not be suitable for everyone, particularly those with certain medical conditions or a history of disordered eating.
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