1. Intermittent fasting changes the function of cells, genes, and hormones.
When you don’t eat for a while, several things happen in your body. For example, your body initiates important cellular repair processes and changes hormone levels to make stored body fat more accessible.
- Insulin levels: Insulin levels in the blood drop significantly, which facilitates fat burning.
- Human growth hormone: The level of growth hormone in the blood can increase as much as 5 times.
- Higher levels of this hormone make it easier to burn fat and gain muscle and have several other benefits.
- Cell repair: The body induces important cellular repair processes, such as removing waste material from cells.
- Gene expression: There are beneficial changes in several genes and molecules related to longevity and disease protection.
2. Intermittent fasting can help you lose weight
Many of those who try this type of diet do so to lose weight. Generally, skipping meals from time to time will make you eat smaller meals.
If you don’t make up for it by eating more other meals, you will end up consuming fewer calories.
In addition, occasionally 9ntermittent fasting improves hormone function for easier weight loss.
Lower levels of insulin, higher levels of growth hormone, and increased amounts of norepinephrine (norepinephrine) increase the breakdown of body fat and facilitate its use for energy.
For that reason, short-term starvation increases your metabolism by 3.6-14%, helping you burn even more calories.
In other words, intermittent fasting boosts your metabolic rate (increases calorie intake) and reduces the amount of food you eat (reduces calorie intake).
According to a review of the scientific literature from 2014, intermittent fasting can cause weight loss of 3-8% over 3-24 weeks, which is a huge amount.
People also lost 4-7% in waist circumference, which indicates that they lost a lot of belly fat, a harmful fat in the abdominal cavity that causes the disease.
One review study also showed that intermittent fasting causes less muscle loss compared to continuous calorie restriction.
3. Intermittent fasting can reduce insulin resistance, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes has become incredibly common in recent decades.
Its main feature is high blood sugar levels in the context of insulin resistance.
Anything that reduces insulin resistance should help lower blood sugar levels and protect against type 2 diabetes.
Interestingly, occasional starvation has been shown to have great benefits for insulin resistance and lead to the impressive blood sugar lowering.
In human studies on intermittent fasting, blood sugar on the test was reduced by 3-6%, while insulin on the test was reduced by 20-31%.
One study in diabetic rats also showed that intermittent fasting is protected from kidney damage, one of the most severe complications of diabetes.
It can be extremely protective for people who are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
However, there may be some differences between the sexes. One study in women found that blood sugar control deteriorated after a 22-day intermittent fasting protocol.
4. Intermittent fasting can reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the body.
Oxidative stress is one of the steps towards aging and many chronic diseases.
It involves unstable molecules called free radicals, which react with other important molecules (such as proteins and DNA) and damage them.
Several studies show that i.f. may increase the body’s resistance to oxidative stress.
In addition, studies show that i.f. can help fight inflammation, another key driver of all types of common diseases.
5. Intermittent fasting can be beneficial for heart health
Heart disease is currently the biggest killer in the world.
It is known that various health markers (so-called “risk factors”) are associated with either an increased or decreased risk of heart disease.
It has been shown that i.f. improves several different risk factors, including blood pressure, total and LDL cholesterol, blood triglycerides, markers of inflammation, and blood sugar levels.
However, much of it is based on animal studies. The impact on heart health needs to be studied in much more detail in humans before recommendations are given.
6. Intermittent fasting causes various cell repair processes
When we do fasting, the cells in the body initiate a cellular process of “waste removal” called autophagy.
This involves the breakdown of cells and the metabolism of broken down and non-functional proteins that accumulate in the cells over time.
Increased autophagy can protect against several diseases, including cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
7. Intermittent fasting can help prevent cancer
Cancer is a terrible disease, which is characterized by uncontrolled cell growth.
Fasting has been shown to have several beneficial effects on metabolism that can lead to a reduced risk of cancer.
Although human studies are needed, promising evidence from animal studies suggests that occasional fasting may help prevent cancer.
There is also some evidence of cancer patients, showing that fasting reduced various side effects of chemotherapy.
8. Intermittent fasting is good for your brain
What is good for the body is often good for the brain.
Occasional fasting improves various metabolic properties that are known to be important for brain health.
These include reduced oxidative stress, reduced inflammation and decreased blood sugar levels, and insulin resistance.
Several studies in rats have shown that i.f. can increase the growth of new nerve cells, which should benefit brain function.
It also increases the level of a brain hormone called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), the deficiency of which is implicated in depression and various other brain problems.
Animal studies have also shown that i.f. protects against brain damage due to strokes.
9. Intermittent fasting can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common neurodegenerative disease in the world.
There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, so preventing it from occurring is critical in the first place. A study in rats shows that i.f. it may delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease or reduce its severity.
In several cases of lifestyle changes that included i.f., the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease were significantly suppressed in 9 out of 10 patients.
Animal studies also indicate that i.f. can protect against other neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease.
However, more research on humans is needed.
10. Intermittent fasting can extend the lifespan
One of the most exciting applications of intermittent fasting may be its ability to prolong life.
Studies in rats have shown that occasional fasting similarly prolongs life expectancy as continuous calorie restriction.
In some of these studies, the effects were quite dramatic. In one of them, rats that were on i.f. every other day they lived 83% longer than non-rats.
Although this cannot yet be proven in humans, i.f. has become very popular among anti-aging audiences.
Given the known benefits of metabolism and all kinds of health markers, it makes sense that intermittent fasting could help you live a longer and healthier life.
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