Health and fitness trends come and go. While some are no more than fads, others pose real benefits to your wellness and stick around for a reason. .
Intermittent fasting is one of these “long-haul” trends. The practice entered the spotlight in the last couple of years and was popularized, in big part, by social media.
But don’t let this fool you -- intermittent fasting was actually studied in relation to longevity in 1945… but in mice.
You read that right. It was discovered in the 40s that intermittent fasting actually increased the lifespan of mice. Today, there are countless studies on the practice and how it influences the human body. Data shows that intermittent fasting can have unique, positive outcomes on your health and overall wellbeing.
Let’s break some of these benefits down:
- Weight loss agent.
Intermittent fasting can be a catalyst of weight loss for many who adopt the practice. While there are a few reasons as to why, the biggest reason is also the most simple. When you reduce your eating behaviors to a smaller window of time, you will naturally consume less, putting you in a caloric deficit.
A caloric deficit is any shortage of calories from your body. Even the slightest caloric deficit can drive weight loss over time.
However, if you tap into a caloric deficit from intermittent fasting and drop a significant amount of weight in a short period of time, it is important that you become more conscious of how much food you are consuming. Too large of a deficit will reduce your body’s functionality and can pose long-term challenges to your health.
- May prevent cancer.
When your body operates on time-restricted eating, your cells are triggered to behave a bit differently…
… but in what way?
Well, intermittent fasting promotes certain cellular repair processes that boost your immune system. These processes may not only prevent the growth of cancerous cells, but may also be healing agents for those who are currently battling cancer. Studies show that intermittent fasting makes cancer cells more sensitive to chemotherapy, while also increasing the production of stem cells.
- Reduces inflammation.
Studies show that intermittent fasting can help reduce inflammation of the body. While inflammation has many roots and can be tied to countless chronic diseases, time-restricting eating behaviors can be an active preventive of developing a number of illnesses.
- Brain health and protection against Alzimers.
From inflammation and oxidative stress to insulin resistance and increased brain hormones, intermittent fasting is a real brain booster.
On a more granular level, animal studies have shown that intermittent fasting delays and reduces the severity of Alzimers, the most common neurodegenerative disease. While there is no cure for this awful disease, practices like intermittent fasting may be the strongest form of prevention.
- Boosts heart health.
Heart disease plagues today’s society, and there are numerous risk factors at play for people of various ages, genetic background and lifestyles.
Intermittent fasting has been shown to positively impact blood pressure, cholesterol, inflammation and blood sugar levels, each of which are known risk factors for heart disease.
- Prevents the onset of diabetes.
Intermittent fasting has been studied in relation to insulin resistance and reduced blood sugar. Any practice that reduces insulin resistance should protect you from developing type 2 diabetes.
- Supports your workouts.
Working out and achieving a greater state of health is more than breaking a sweat and eating right. Hormone optimization is just as much of a key player. Practices like intermittent fasting have been shown to optimize hormone levels in the body.
Additionally, studies show that fasted workouts burn more fat. So, your workout may be more effective from a fat burning perspective if you workout in the morning during your fasting block.