When it comes to fitness and health management, there are tons of biohacking ways aimed at improving and raising characteristics of human body. One of them is intermittent fasting, a new trend that has gained popularity within the last several years.
Most diets are quite complicated, making us count calories, limit portions of food, exclude certain products or their combinations, etc. It’s a complete headache trying to follow them. Intermittent fasting makes it simple and has a number of powerful effects on your body and mind (scientists also state it can even extend your lifetime).
Intermittent fasting is a way of eating when you switch between eating and non-eating periods (fasting). It has nothing to do with certain products limitation or exclusion but it defines the time WHEN you should eat them. That’s why it’s not exactly a diet but rather an eating pattern.
Evolutionally it is more natural for a human to function with no food for comparatively long periods of time than eating 3-4 times (or even more) throughout the day. Within the fasting period, the digestive organs rest and recover and the hormonal system gets its own boost as well (we shall tell about that later).
Generally, there are several IF patterns:
1) 16/8: skipping breakfast, eating within a period of 8 hours and 16 hours with no food). There might be variations: 12/12 – less radical method for those who want to give it a try (almost no difference with your usual way of eating), or 18/6 – for those who «like it hard».
2) Eat-stop-eat: one or two days within a week are spent without food (24-hour fasting).
3) 5/2 diet: Eating 500-600 calories on two days of the week (non-consecutive). The other days there is regular eating.
The most common method is 16/8. It’s easy to start it and keep it a part of your everyday life.
Overall, any of these methods help lower the consumed calories, helping you lose weight. Although, you should keep in mind you shouldn’t hypercompensate and eat too much in your non-fasting periods.
Actually, weight loss is not the only benefit of intermittent fasting. Also it influences your body’s biochemistry and cell repair. The hormones levels adjust in a special way, particularly somatotropin rises 5 times up (it’s also called growth hormone) increasing % of muscle and reducing % of fat.
Insulin level drops because insulin sensitivity grows. Thus, blood sugar lowers by 3-6%, which in the long run should protect from type 2 diabetes.
Also, it releases the fat burning hormone noradrenaline.
On the whole, during fasting your body regulates hormone levels so as to make your fat more accessible. Such biochemical changes increase your metabolic rate by 4-14%.
Also, some researchers state that cellular renewal takes place as well as genes expression that has to do with longevity and immune system boost.
Besides, there are studies showing that people who practiced periodic fasting show reduction of inflammation markers which are a reason of most chronic diseases.
Moreover, due to lowering of bad cholesterol, blood sugar and insulin resistance intermittent fasting improves both heart and brain health reducing or eliminating risk factors of cardiac attacks and Altzheimer disease.
The researchers also think it prevents cancer and aging in general stimulating cells to renew and regenerate.
Thus, intermittent fasting is a smart yet simple way to improve your health while making your relationship with food easier and less complicated, as you don’t have to cook that much, you don’t have to think of a sophisticated menu of healthy meals and you don’t have to clean up that much.
Generally, people say this way of eating helps them feel more light, energetic and powerful than ever before. This would fit you perfect especially if following the traditional gastronomic culture makes you feel overloaded with food and heavy.