The concept of fasting has been around for millennia from Ancient Greece, to Jesus Christ, to health practitioners around the world today. So why has Intermittent Fasting or IF become popular in our modern society?
I happen to think that the main two reasons why it has become so popular is that one; it is fairly easy to incorporate into your lifestyle and that two; there is lots of nutritional science and research to back it up.
One of the most popular and easiest ways to do IF is to do the 16:8. This means that you have a feeding window of 8 hours and a fasting window for 16 hours, for which 8 of those 16 hours you will be sleeping. The most proactive way is to skip breakfast and start your 8 hour feeding window between 10am and 12pm and finish around 6pm to 8pm. It generally means you’ll have 2 meals per day and the possibility to snack in-between if you want to. There’s no calorie counting and it also saves time and effort if you normally have 4-5 small meals per day. So for practical purposes it is fantastic. But what about the supposed health benefits?
Evidence shows that it improves insulin sensitivity which means that when you are eating in your 8 hour window your body is much more efficient when using insulin. This will reduce the chance of developing insulin resistance which is the pre-cursor to Type 2 Diabetes. During the fasting phase the body will use stored fat as fuel helping you to lose weight. Great news if you want to lose belly fat.
Research also shows that when the body is in the fasting phase a process called Autophagy occurs whereby the body clears out unwanted cell debris helping the cells become much more energy efficient. This will naturally boost your energy levels. Whilst in the fasting phase the body releases up to 5 times more Human Growth Hormone which is our natural anti-ageing hormone, helping us to live longer and look and feel younger. There is also evidence to suggest that IF may be good for heart health and help to lower triglycerides and cholesterol.
There is still lots of on-going research and not all the answers are here yet, however the current research is very exciting and I have no doubt that over the coming years Intermittent Fasting will become an eating and lifestyle protocol to prevent lots of todays common health problems.
If you would like to find out more about Intermittent Fasting and the fantastic health you can achieve then look out for my upcoming on-line course called ‘Learn How to use Intermittent Fasting to Boost your Energy Levels’ in the Autumn.