The 4 Amazing Benefits of Intermittent Fasting Posted on 07 Mar 15:30

 

Here at Organic Muscle we like to explore and research a whole lot of different fitness and wellness techniques. We’ve recently come across the idea of intermittent fasting and were intrigued. So, we thought we would share our intrigue with you, and show you what we’ve come up with!

 

What it is:


Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and periods of fasting. It does not have anything to do with what foods you eat, but rather the timing in which you eat them. 

There are many different methods of intermittent fasting, all of which split the day or week into eating periods and fasting periods.

You can do this by skipping breakfast, eating your first meal at noon and your last meal at 8 pm.

Then you’re technically fasting for 16 hours every day, and restricting your eating to an 8-hour eating window. This is the most popular form of intermittent fasting, known as the 16/8 method.

Despite what you may think, intermittent fasting is actually fairly easy to do. Many people report feeling better and having more energy during a fast.

Hunger is usually not that big of an issue, although it can be a problem in the beginning, while your body is getting used to not eating for extended periods of time.

No food is allowed during the fasting period, but you can drink water, coffee, tea and other non-caloric beverages.

Some forms of fasting allow small amounts of low-calorie foods during the fasting period.

Types of Fasting:



The 16/8 Method: In this method you fast for 16 hours each day. For example, by only eating between the hours of noon and 8 p.m. 

Eat-Stop-Eat: Once or twice a week, don’t eat anything from dinner one day, until dinner the next day. (24 hours)

The 5:2 Diet: This is one of the low calorie variations we mentioned above. During 2 days of the week, you only eat 500-600 calories.

The 16/8 method is probably the easiest to implement given that many people already naturally do this.

The Benefits:

 

1. Easier than dieting

The reason that most diets seem so tough isn’t because we switch to the wrong foods, it’s because it’s usually fairly tough to stick to that diet over the long term. Ice cream, late night drinks, and fast food are killer. So, in the end it’s not a problem with your nutrition, it’s a problem with sustaining that behavior over a long period of time.

This is where intermittent fasting comes to the forefront. It’s remarkably easy to implement once you get over the thought that you have to constantly be eating.

2. Helps you Lose Weight and Belly Fat

Common sense would tell us that if you eat less, you’re going to see a reduction in your weight. So, generally speaking, intermittent fasting will make you eat fewer meals. Unless you compensate by eating much more during the other meals, you will end up taking in fewer calories.

Additionally, intermittent fasting enhances hormone function to facilitate weight loss.

Lower insulin levels, higher growth hormone levels and increased amounts of norepinephrine (noradrenaline) all increase the breakdown of body fat and facilitate its use for energy.

For this reason, short-term fasting actually increases your metabolic rate by 3.6-14%, helping you burn even more calories.

In other words, intermittent fasting works on both sides of the calorie equation. It boosts your metabolic rate (increases calories out) and reduces the amount of food you eat (reduces calories in).

According to a 2014 review of the scientific literature, intermittent fasting can cause weight loss of 3-8% over 3-24 weeks. This is a relatively huge amount!

The people also lost 4-7% of their waist circumference, which indicates that they lost lots of belly fat, the harmful fat in the abdominal cavity that causes disease.

 

3. Can Reduce Oxidative Stress

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 (like protein and DNA) and damage them.

Several studies show that intermittent fasting may enhance the body’s resistance to oxidative stress.

4. May Extend Your Lifespan

One of the most exciting applications of intermittent fasting may be its ability to extend lifespan.

Studies in rats have shown that intermittent fasting extends lifespan in a similar way as continuous calorie restriction.

In some of these studies, the effects were quite dramatic. In one of them, rats that fasted every other day lived 83% longer than rats who weren’t fasted.

Although this is far from being proven in humans, intermittent fasting has become very popular among the anti-aging crowd.

Given the known benefits for metabolism and all sorts of health markers, it makes sense that intermittent fasting could help you live a longer and healthier life.

There’s still a whole slew of research being done on the subject, and everything is relative to you and where you’re at in life. There are just a few of the many exciting benefits that intermittent fasting has to offer.