What is Intermittent fasting?
Fasting is not a new phenomenon, on the contrary, fasting has been practiced for millennia (1). For humans, fasting is achieved with either non or minimal intake of food and calories for at least 12 hours.
Intermittent fasting is one of the most popular trends in health, fitness, and weight loss. Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that is divided into two windows, a fasting, and an eating window.
Studies show that fasting increases metabolism, concentration ability, slow down the aging process and protects against chronic diseases (especially for the obese) (1)
Popular Intermittent Fasting methods
The most common form is 16 hours of fasting and 8 hours of eating.
For example, you may eat from 12.00-20.00, after that no calories may be consumed until the next day at 12.00. When you sleep, you also fast. This provides easier fasting hours while you are asleep.
24 / Eat-stop-Eat / Only one meal a day (OMAD)
This method means fasting for 24 hours. For example, you start your fast at 14.00 and finish at 14.00 the next day.
Most people find the 16/8 method to be the most simple and sustainable in the long run.
Effects on cells and hormones
When one is in a fasted state, the body embarks on several important processes.
The body repairs, heals and tries to repair damaged cells (2, 3).
The body becomes more efficient in the burning of existing fat deposits. The longer fat has been sitting on the body, the harder it is to get rid of, such as belly fat and waist.
Increased Growth Hormone (HGH) secretion (5)
Studies show that the excretion of HGH increases up to 500%, which has a lot of other positive effects like; Increased muscle mass, weight loss, fat burning, repairing of cells
In a fasted state, insulin sensitivity increases and insulin levels decrease (6).
Positive effects on health
Many studies have been done on Intermittent fasting, where many positive effects have been shown. Here are the most important findings:
Increased repair and healing of cells
Increased secretion of HGH
Reduction of inflammation (7,8,9)
Studies also show that fasting has positive effects on serious diseases, it is a separate topic that will not be mentioned here.
What can you expect if you want to give Intermittent Fasting a try?
Most people find that the first few days are the hardest. The body needs to get used to not eating according to your previous schedule. You may experience headaches, fatigue, as well as not being able to concentrate. Come through the first few days and see if it’s for you. The longer you keep up the fasting, the greater the effect.
Disclaimer: If you have any illnesses or other conditions, remember to talk to your doctor before starting to fast.
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