Reducing calories by skipping meals through fasting has been proven to reduce the risk of many common diseases. Intermittent fasting, in this case, involves the following methods;
- Leangains or 18/8 diet – Fast for 16 hours and eat low-calorie meals between the fasting period of 8 hours
- Eat-stop-Eat – Fast once or twice a week for 24 hours
- The warrior diet – Fast for 20 hours every day and eat one large healthy meal for dinner
- The 5:2 diet – Only eat 500-600 calories during two days of the week
- Alternate day – Fast for 24 hours
You can make intermittent fasting a life-long strategy that not only encourages clean, healthy eating, but also a strategy that will keep you operating at your optimum for the rest of your life. Consider the following evidence-based benefits of intermittent fasting:
1. Aids weight loss
If your goal is to lose weight and keep it off, adopting any of the above examples of intermittent fasting methods will help you reduce your calorie intake, boost your metabolic health and consequently lead to significant weight loss.
2. Changes your hormones
Not only does your blood insulin level drop when you fast to speed-up fat burning, but it also increases the blood levels of growth hormone that can aid weight loss and muscle gain. Intermittent fasting also removing toxins from cells to boost cellular repair and protection from diseases.
3. Beneficial for muscle health
While other ‘fad’ diets will induce fast weight loss and reduce muscle mass while at it, intermittent fasting will do both but without causing muscle loss.
4. Reduces insulin resistance
Intermittent fasting has proven beneficial in lowering blood sugar levels, therefore, reducing insulin resistance among diabetics and protecting non-diabetics against the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and kidney damage.
5. Reduces inflammation and oxidative stress
Based on our findings, intermittent fasting can reduce systemic inflammation that can affect the entire body. The fasting process increases the production of ghrelin and reduces pro-inflammatory cytokines and immune cells in the body to suppresses inflammation.
6. Improves cognitive function
Intermittent fasting has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect on the entire body, and recent studies show that it may reduce the effects of age-related cognitive decline and improve brain function as well as memory and learning capacity significantly.
7. Protects against autoimmune diseases
Intermittent fasting has been shown to mitigate diseases and environmental triggers that are the precursor to autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus or multiple sclerosis.
8. Promotes cardiovascular health
Risk markers for cardiovascular disease such as blood pressure, cholesterol, blood triglycerides, and blood sugar levels can be improved through intermittent fasting.
9. Improves sleep
Removing refined carbs from your diet through IF will aid weight loss and consequently improve sleep.
10. Promotes healthy eating
Intermittent fasting is the best way to do away with bad eating habits and adopt a healthy diet for long-term health and weight maintenance.