What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting relates to periods of eating and periods of fasting throughout a day.
By cycling through fed and fasted states, your body is forced to turn to its own stores of fat for energy rather than converting the food that is being eaten.
The aim of intermittent fasting is to reach a ketosis state. Ketosis occurs when your body’s glucose and insulin levels are low and you produce ketones as an energy source.
It has fast become a popular method due to results such as weight loss, lower blood sugar levels, mental focus and increased insulin resistance. Following a ketogenic diet also achieves a ketosis state.
Benefits of intermittent fasting
There are a number of benefits associated with the method beyond burning fat and losing weight:
- Assists with muscle gain - when fasting you are increasing your insulin sensitivity, and so when you do eat it is broken down more efficiently. You’re also increasing the secretion of the growth hormone when fasting and so coupled with increased insulin sensitivity your body is better prepared for muscle growth.
- Longevity - there are studies that show intermittent fasting on alternate days can increase your lifespan. By fasting, your body is stimulated to maintain and repair tissues, along with increasing cellular defenses. This supposedly results in anti-aging benefits and decreased likelihood of developing a disease.
- Simplicity - as the concept is quite simple and doesn’t need anything other than willpower, it can save you time (and money) this may be more of a superficial benefit but for someone who is always looking to gain 15 minutes back here and there it could be an important one.
There are a number of ways in which you can implement intermittent fasting into your life.
Some methods include:
- 16/8 Method - eat within an 8 hour period, fast for the remaining 16 hours
- 24 Hour Method - fast for 24 hours (for example 8pm - 8pm) this can be done as many times in a week as you would like
- Alternate Day Fasting - fasting every other day, while eating normally on non-fast days
What is the research saying?
The growing popularity of intermittent fasting has also seen an increase in the research carried out on the topic.
From weight loss studies, to the possible effect on healthy aging and even potentially reversing diabetes there is an abundant of different studies trying to understand the full impact intermittent fasting has on our bodies and health.