One of the world’s most well-liked fitness and health trends currently is intermittent fasting. People use it to enhance their health, simplify their lives, and lose weight.
Numerous studies indicate that it could substantially benefit your brain and body and lengthen your life. An eating habit is known as intermittent fasting (IF) cycles between fasting and eating windows.
Intermittent fasting comes in numerous forms, including the 5:2 and 16/8 schedules. In addition, losing weight and being physically active reduces your risk of obesity-related conditions, such as diabetes and sleep apnea.
Intermittent fasting appears to be as good for these diseases as any diet which lowers your overall calorie intake. In addition, intermittent fasting could be a better option to limit inflammation naturally.
In this article, we will be discussing some of the benefits of intermittent fasting.
Intermittent Fasting Benefits
Helps In Weight Loss
Many people who experiment with intermittent fasting do so to lose weight. In general, intermittent fasting requires you to eat fewer meals.
You would not wind up eating as many calories overall unless you make up for it by eating significantly more at the different meals. Intermittent fasting also improves hormone activity which helps in weight loss.
Increased concentrations of noradrenaline (norepinephrine), higher HGH levels, and lower insulin levels promote the breakdown of fat and make it easier to utilize it as a fuel.
As a result of this, short-term fasting helps you to burn more calories by raising your metabolic rate. It may help in fat loss along with losing body weight.
Intermittent fasting, therefore, affects both sides of the calorie equation. It decreases food intake while improving metabolic rate (calorie expenditure).
Over 5 to 26 weeks, the study participants also dropped 5 to 8 percent of their waist circumference suggesting significant visceral fat loss. Visceral fat causes cardiometabolic risk factors.
Having said all that, if you are pregnant and looking to cut fat and want to try intermittent fasting, you might want to reconsider your decision.
This is because intermittent fasting during pregnancy could be a little risky, and you should take professional advice if you are keen on trying the same during your pregnancy period.
Helps In Type 2 Diabetes
Because of its ability to aid in weight loss and having an impact on different variables connected to a higher risk of developing diabetes, intermittent fasting could be good for controlling diabetes.
One of the biggest risk factors is being obese or overweight for type 2 diabetes to develop in a person.
According to this study, intermittent or alternative fasting has promise for lowering the chance of developing diabetes and promoting weight loss. However, more research is required.
The researchers noticed declines in diabetes markers including insulin sensitivity in persons who were obese and overweight.
Thus, it could be said that intermittent fasting may reduce insulin resistance. It could help in managing blood sugar levels and may help people who are at risk of developing type-2 diabetes.
One of the factors contributing to many chronic diseases and aging is oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is caused by an imbalance between reactive oxygen and the antioxidant defenses.
Inherently unstable chemicals like free radicals are involved. Certain crucial components, like DNA and protein, are damaged by free radical reactions.
According to several studies, intermittent fasting could increase the body’s ability to fend off oxidative damage.
Additionally, research indicates that intermittent fasting might aid in the battle against inflammation. It is another major factor in the development of many common diseases.
You could also try these anti-inflammatory foods for better results.
Blood Pressure Drop
Intermittent Fasting could also help lower high blood pressure.
A pilot study with 24 participants indicated that the 16:8 method of intermittent fasting significantly lowered systolic blood pressure, and the results were published in 2019 in Healthy and Nutrition Aging.
Systolic blood pressure is the highest figure in the blood pressure reading. It represents the force exerted by the heart on the walls of the arteries with each heartbeat.
According to this review, both human and animal research has linked intermittent fasting to decreased systolic blood pressure.
Additionally, intermittent fasting resulted in a bigger decrease in systolic blood pressure than other diets, according to a study that was published in the European Nutrition Journal.
Thus, having blood pressure that is too high might harm your eyes, brain, heart, and kidneys and impact your health.
However, researchers discovered that blood pressure readings reverted to their initial levels once intermittent fasting was discontinued and people resumed eating as usual for them.
Might Help Prevent Cancer
The uncontrollable increase in the number of cells is a hallmark of cancer. It has been demonstrated that intermittent fasting has several positive metabolic benefits which could lower the risk of cancer.
Diets that imitate fasting or intermittent fasting might help to prevent cancer and aid in its treatment.
Similar results have been seen in human research, although additional research is required.
Additionally, some research suggests that intermittent fasting lessened several chemotherapeutic adverse effects among people.
Various intermittent fasting methods, such as 5:2 and alternate-day fasting, could help lower LDL cholesterol.
According to some studies, LDL cholesterol could increase heart failure symptoms and the risk of heart disease.
Triglycerides are blood fats that might cause a heart attack or stroke. The researchers found that intermittent fasting decreased the presence of triglycerides.
Nevertheless, not all scientists concur that intermittent fasting could dramatically lower LDL cholesterol levels.
You could also try these low cholesterol foods when you are not fasting during the intermittent fasting days for better results.
Improves Brain Functions
Often at times, what is excellent for your body is also beneficial for your mind. Different metabolic processes known to be crucial for brain health might be improved by intermittent fasting, such as:
- Insulin resistance.
- Oxidative stress.
- Blood sugar levels.
Intermittent fasting might promote the creation of new nerve cells, according to several studies in rats and mice, which should improve brain health.
Additionally, a hormone in the brain known as a neurotrophic factor (BFNF) could be increased by intermittent fasting.
A lack of BDNF has been linked to several different issues with the brain, including depression.
Additionally, studies on animals have demonstrated that intermittent fasting guards against brain damage related to the deterioration of cognitive function and energy metabolism.
Improved Results For Stroke Survivors
Your risk of stroke will be greatly lowered by having healthier cholesterol and blood pressure levels as a result of intermittent fasting.
This probably happens because of intermittent fasting’s anti-inflammatory effects. A study in the 2019 issue of Nutrients indicated that intermittent fasting might act as a protective mechanism for the brain and also improve recovery after a stroke.
The researchers acknowledged that human studies on the effects of intermittent fasting on stroke are scarce and came to the conclusion based on animal studies.
Might aid in Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention
The most common neurodegenerative disease in the world is Alzheimer’s disease. As there is presently no cure for Alzheimer’s, it is imperative to prevent the disease from developing in the first place.
As per this study done on mice, Intermittent fasting could delay the onset of Alzheimer’s or at least lessen its severity.
In a series of case studies, 85% of those who underwent a lifestyle intervention that included daily short-term fasting saw a significant improvement in their Alzheimer’s symptoms.
Furthermore, research on animals suggests that intermittent fasting might offer protection against more neurodegenerative illnesses, such as Huntington’s and Parkinson’s disorders. However, further human research is required.
Reduced Chance of Cardiovascular Problems
When insulin levels drop, the risk of harmful cardiovascular events like congestive heart failure rises. This is significant for people having type 2 diabetes.
According to the American Heart Association, type 2 diabetes people are two times more likely to develop heart disease compared to people who do not have diabetes.
Observational studies have demonstrated that intermittent fasting might have positive effects on the metabolic and cardiovascular systems, despite the lack of prospective human research demonstrating this impact.
However, a meta-analysis review revealed no discernible difference between intermittent fasting and calorie restriction in terms of reducing risk factors for cardiovascular diseases.
According to studies, changes in metabolic markers like decreased sugar levels and triglycerides, are brought on by weight loss.
This would occur whether the weight was reduced by intermittent fasting or a lower carbohydrate diet, for instance.
May As Well Boost Metabolism
Intermittent fasting is also one of the best ways to boost metabolism. Improvement in metabolism is also one of the main byproducts of intermittent fasting. This is because when your body is not busy digesting foods, it will concentrate all of its energy on replacing dead cells with new cells.
Hence, the impurities within your body might be eliminated with a high intake of water.
Intermittent fasting is a popular weight-loss strategy and it has several advantages. Studies on humans and animals show that it could help you live a better and longer life overall.
Intermittent fasting could be performed in several ways. Some techniques require abstinence during certain times of the day. Some approaches limit your fasting schedule to specific days of the week. Methods and results differ.
Studies generally indicate that intermittent fasting successfully reduces body fat and weight as usual calorie restriction techniques.
Compared to more conventional weight-loss strategies, such as calorie restriction, it might also be more simple to maintain.
If you are interested in beginning intermittent fasting, plan to schedule a consultation with your nutritionist or physician. They might assist you in determining your ideal diet plan.
Also, you might want to ensure that you are not overdoing it, as intermittent fasting has several side effects.
Working4Health prefers using primary and verified references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and our primary references include peer-reviewed research, academic, and medical institution studies.
- Michael Albosta 1 2 , Jesse Bakke. Intermittent fasting: is there a role in the treatment of diabetes? A review of the literature and guide for primary care physicians. Clin Diabetes Endocrinol. 2021 Feb 3;7(1):3. doi: 10.1186/s40842-020-00116-1.
- Theodora W. Elffers, Renée de Mutsert,Hildo J. Lamb, et al. Body fat distribution, in particular visceral fat, is associated with cardiometabolic risk factors in obese women. PLoS One. 2017; 12(9): e0185403. Published online 2017 Sep 28. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0185403
- Michael Albosta , Jesse Bakke. Intermittent fasting: is there a role in the treatment of diabetes? A review of the literature and guide for primary care physicians. Clin Diabetes Endocrinol. 2021 Feb 3;7(1):3.doi: 10.1186/s40842-020-00116-1.
- Ilaria Liguori,Gennaro Russo,Francesco Curcio, et al. Oxidative stress, aging, and diseases. Clin Interv Aging. 2018; 13: 757–772.
Published online 2018 Apr 26. doi: 10.2147/CIA.S158513
- Bartosz Malinowski, Klaudia Zalewska,1 Anna Węsierska, et al. Intermittent Fasting in Cardiovascular Disorders—An Overview. Nutrients. 2019 Mar; 11(3): 673.Published online 2019 Mar 20. doi: 10.3390/nu11030673
- Sebastian Brandhorst and Valter D. Longo. Fasting and Caloric Restriction in Cancer Prevention and Treatment.doi 10.1007/978-3-319-42118-6_12
- Krista A Varady , Sofia Cienfuegos , Mark Ezpeleta, et al. Cardiometabolic Benefits of Intermittent Fasting. Annu Rev Nutr. 2021 Oct 11;41:333-361.doi: 10.1146/annurev-nutr-052020-041327.
- Bae Kun Shin, Suna Kang, Da Sol Kim, et al. Intermittent fasting protects against the deterioration of cognitive function, energy metabolism and dyslipidemia in Alzheimer’s disease-induced estrogen deficient rats. Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2018 Feb; 243(4): 334–343.Published online 2018 Jan 7. doi: 10.1177/1535370217751610
- Mohammed Allaf , Hussein Elghazaly , Omer G Mohamed, et al. Intermittent fasting for the prevention of cardiovascular disease. Meta-Analysis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2021 Jan 29;1(1):CD013496.doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD013496.pub2.
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Louise Rodriguez is a full-time health and fitness writer. She considers herself a gym rat and takes pride in showing her biceps. She dedicates most of her time to her health. With the time left, she spreads information regarding health and fitness among the masses. Harry Potter is her first love.