Intermittent fasting, is it for you or not? The mere thought of hours or sometimes days without food can seem horrifying. But with evidence-based studies that make clear the health benefits and the support of personalized supplements, it’s clear that intermittent fasting is more than just a health fad. The art of an effective and ‘doable’ fast can be refined to a simple practice with clear benefits. Let’s lay it out for you.
Intermittent fasting can play an important part in any plan addressing weight loss, gut healing, systemic inflammation, vitality, sharper thoughts, glowing skin, and alkalizing your body. It is no surprise that intermittent fasting (IF) is gaining a reputation as one of the healthiest practices to change your life.
How intermittent fasting helps weight loss
A common misconception about intermittent fasting is that it’s another diet emphasizing calorie restriction. Actually, intermittent fasting (IF) allows for the same total daily caloric intake or, alternatively, spreads the same calories over alternating days of the week. IF simply condenses those calories into a smaller defined window, for example, the time from lunch to dinner allowing for the activation of important metabolic and hormonal processes in the fasting window. This means you’re able to maintain the same basal metabolic rate, activate fat burning and avoid the “yo-yo effect” that frustrates many who try calorie-restricted diets.
Instead, Intermittent fasting revs up your metabolism and kickstarts your natural fat-burning process by forcing your body to use up fat stores as fuel. It helps lower your levels of insulin which facilitate fat burning and increase levels of growth hormone secretion. Recent large-scale nutrition studies indicate strongly that controlling one’s insulin levels is the key to weight management as well as, having additional health benefits.
Intermittent fasting revs up your metabolism and kickstarts your natural fat-burning process
Growth hormone secretion aids fat loss and muscle gain 1. It’s for this reason that intermittent fasting is more effective than continuous calorie restriction, especially for those who are looking to retain lean mass when bodybuilding. In short, it helps reduce the fat you don’t want and retain the body mass you need for weight loss. 2
Intermittent fasting for improving your gut health
A healthy gut promotes stronger immunity, proper digestion, clear skin, cognitive health, lowered systemic inflammation, hormonal balance, and optimal nutritional absorption. It’s an important list. Keeping your gut in top shape should be a key priority for anyone interested in health. Fasting enhances the integrity of your gut flora by cleansing gut cells of accumulated toxins, strengthening the gastrointestinal mucosal lining, reducing inflammation and improving metabolism. 3
Change your belly fat with intermittent fasting
There are two different types of adipose ‘body fat’ tissue, white adipose tissue, and brown adipose tissue. Brown adipose tissue, sometimes known as ‘brown fat’ or ‘good fat’ burns calories to generate heat. White adipose tissue, ‘white fat’ or ‘bad fat’ is the fat that can be found around the abdominal area. This is the belly fat, the stuff associated with various metabolic diseases such as obesity and diabetes. Fasting every other day has been shown to stimulate the process of turning white fat brown, making bad fat good fat. 4
What about athletes?
For the elite sporting competitors, the keen fitness enthusiasts and even the occasional exercisers, intermittent fasting has great benefits. Training sessions that aim to improve your performance are more than likely to increase inflammation. Intermittent fasting may have the potential to reduce inflammatory levels and positively impact your training recovery. 5
Keeping your gut in top shape should be a key priority for anyone interested in health.
Working out during your fast is suggested for additional weight loss benefits, although for some, exercising during some intermittent fasting programs may increase your cortisol levels. Increased cortisol levels don’t enhance weight loss. It is interesting to note that alternate day fasting may improve your stress resistance. Your body is yours alone, so a certain amount of careful consideration of what works best for you is always encouraged.
As a fasting beginner
Here are some tips that should help anyone who is looking to begin a practice of intermittent fasting:
- Ensure your body is not lacking in nutrients by doing a nutrient test.
- Accept and honor how your body responds to fasting. Don’t overdo it.
- Schedule your first fasts on the weekend so that you can rest while beginning.
- Find a few fun projects to distract your mind from thinking of food.
- Fast with a friend, it’s always useful to have someone to support you.
- Don’t overcommit yourself during or after your fast.
- Keep your blood sugar levels balanced.
- For athletes, avoid fasting close to a competition.
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