If you haven’t heard of intermittent fasting before and think it’s new, be prepared to be surprised. There have been studies that date back a few centuries. One scientific study conducted on rats in the 1940s showed that intermittent fasting could prolong life. It kept the fasting rat looking younger and free of some of the diseases rats face as they aged. Great religious leaders have fasted for both body and spirit, so it does come with a history. However, intermittent fasting is different from the traditional fasting of the ancients. It’s all about when you eat.
Fasting and intermittent fasting are different, but there are also different types of intermittent fasting.
Fasting is often over longer time periods. It might be a weekend or week-long fast, where only water is consumed. Intermittent fasting occurs over hours. It’s based on eating cycles and fasting cycles of hours, not days. Some people find that if they contain their food consumption to an eight hour period each day and fast for 16 hours, it’s easier to do. Some people find that limiting their food intake to the hours of 8am-4pm or 9am-5pm. Some people approach fasting to restricting caloric intake every other day. Other patterns have the person eating normally for five days, separated by two days of eating an extremely calorie-restricted diet of 200 to 300 calories a day or nothing at all for another version.
Find the type of intermittent fasting that works best for you.
Some people find that scheduling their meals and limiting eating to eight to ten hours of each day is the easiest for them to use. Remember, you still have to eat healthy. Intermittent fasting doesn’t mean that when you eat you fill up on candy, cookies and ice cream. Work schedules can interfere with that, so using the alternatives of either calorie restriction every other day, whether simply lowering them, severely restricting them or cutting out food entirely. It all takes planning and can be tough over the weekend, so make sure you consider social functions you have planned.
Fasting occasionally does offer a great many benefits.
How could fasting make you look younger? When you fast, your body starts a process of cellular repair called autophagy. It uses cells that aren’t functioning right or old as energy. That helps rid your body of these cells and slow the aging process, plus protect against diseases like Alzheimer’s and cancer. Fasting can also boost metabolic health.
- A healthy diet is always a must, whether using intermittent fasting or not. My favorite is narrowing the time you eat to an eight hour window. I find it easier to remember and easier to do.
- You can try your own experiment and see how intermittent fasting works for you. Plan your meals so you’re eating the same number of calories each week, start by eating normally for a month, then use one of the intermittent fasting techniques for a month. See if you lose more weight with the fasting.
- Intermittent fasting can change the longevity and immunity gene expression to extend lifespan, plus improve insulin sensitivity, reduce inflammation and raise the BDNF a brain hormone that protects from mental conditions, including depression.
- One study showed that IF—intermittent fating—for as little as three weeks to as many as 24 weeks increased loss of abdominal fat by as much as seven percent and increased weight loss to as much as eight percent.