More and more people are trying intermittent fasting. According to them, this is a much more natural way to eat, and it has more advantages than eating 3 to 4 times a day.
Although the benefits of intermittent fasting have been known for a long time, attention to intermittent fasting began to increase in 2012 after releasing a documentary on the British BBC. Subsequently, several books appeared on this subject.
The rationale is that fasting triggers processes in the body, such as autophagy. These could bring metabolic benefits, for example, losing weight, stimulating cell regeneration, and staying young.
In this article, you will find an overview of what scientific research says about the benefits of intermittent fasting and information on the effects of losing weight.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a diet that involves refusing food for a certain period. Since you do not need to restrict certain food groups or reduce calorie intake, intermittent fasting is not a diet.
There are several schemes for intermittent fasting. The most popular method is the 16/8 mode (daily alternation of 16 hours fasting and 8 hours when eating is allowed). This is skipping breakfast, a hearty lunch at noon, and ending with an early dinner.
Other types of fasting are one day a week and the 5/2 mode (5 days a week average food, two days of only 500-600 calories).
Advantages of intermittent fasting
The advantages of intermittent fasting are several. This is one of the best methods to improve carbohydrate metabolism, strengthen the immune system, improve skin health, and prevent certain types of cancer. (1)
By not eating, the body activates autophagy, a method that allows the use of old cellular components as a source of energy.
Also, intermittent fasting normalizes the body’s response to sweet foods and normalizes blood glucose levels. Ultimately, one of the benefits of intermittent fasting is preventing diabetes and insulin resistance.
Another critical benefit of intermittent fasting is appetite control. As well as the ability to lose weight, particularly fat without the need to reduce the amount of food consumed during the day.
The advantages of intermittent fasting are:
- Regulate blood sugar levels
- Strengthen the immune system
- Reduce the risk of certain types of cancer
- Remove body fat
- Prevent type 2 diabetes
- Improve the health of the skin
- Increase the secretion of growth hormone and norepinephrine
Does intermittent fasting help you lose weight?
The effects of fasting on weight loss have been confirmed by science; these are due to several reasons.
First, it allows normalizing of the production of insulin, which stabilizes the feeling of hunger. Second, it will stimulate the production of certain hormones related to muscle activity. Third, not eating for several hours allows you to use fat stores as energy sources.
Studies show that growth hormone production (responsible for gaining muscle mass and burning fat) increases approximately five times with intermittent fasting. (1)
In addition, it generates the release of norepinephrine into the bloodstream. On average, intermittent fasting increases metabolic rate by 3.6-14%. (3)
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How much weight can you lose?
A 2014 study found that people who followed it for 3 to 24 weeks had a 3 to 8% weight loss, which is pretty good compared to other diets. (4)
Note that the calorie reduction method for weight loss generally shows less noticeable results.
In the same study, waist circumference decreased by 4-7%, indicating visceral fat loss. Visceral fat is the most dangerous fat for health and is related to several metabolic diseases.
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Other benefits of fasting for health
Animal studies suggest that intermittent fasting can extend people’s lives by 36%.
Fasting reduces the markers of various inflammations (in fact, inflammation leads to the appearance of many chronic diseases), and the risk of developing cancerous tumors is reduced. (5)
In addition, intermittent fasting increases the production of the hormone BDNF (brain neurotrophic factor), which, in turn, is responsible for the formation and growth of nerve cells. (6) This hormone appears to help prevent the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Of particular importance is the effect of intermittent fasting on the body’s defenses against type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance. Studies have shown that this method reduces 20-31% fasting insulin levels. As if that were not enough, it allows reducing the level of bad cholesterol in the blood.
Intermittent fasting is an eating method that involves not eating for several hours a day.
This food intake pattern is believed to have several advantages.
Ultimately, the body has the opportunity to use old cells as a source of energy, allowing them to be renewed faster.