There has been a surge in the popularity of intermittent fasting (IF). It’s the practice of eating for a particular amount of time and fasting for the remainder of the time. Why do most individuals choose this eating pattern over a low-fat or low-carbohydrate diet? Fasting has several health benefits. Considerable adverse effects, on the other hand, might require some caution. It might be best to go through a binge eating recovery program before starting IF. Below are the evidence-based benefits of intermittent fasting.
Weight loss is the most common reason for starting intermittent fasting. Although the benefits are short-term, most are still positive. The effectiveness of weight reduction with IF was discussed in an article in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics magazine published in August 2015. According to the research team, thirteen studies were reviewed, and the average weight reduction ranged from 1.3% to 8% for trials lasting up to 2 to 8 weeks.
Reduced Cholesterol Levels
“Bad” cholesterol, commonly known as LDL cholesterol, raises your risk of heart disease and stroke, as per the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). In a magazine named ‘Obesity,’ they published a three-week-long study about combining intermittent fasting with consistent endurance training. The results showed lower cholesterol levels, particularly LDL. Researchers also determined how intermittent fasting dramatically lowered the quantity of triglycerides in the blood. A known buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries can cause heart attacks, strokes, and cardiac diseases.
Stroke Survivors Have Better Outcomes
Reduced LDL cholesterol and a considerable drop in blood pressure significantly decrease the risk of a stroke. But intermittent fasting has other advantages. An article published in the “Experimental and Translational Stroke Medicine” found that IF and calorie restriction provide a defense mechanism for your brain. Eating in this specific manner before a stroke happens can protect the brain from damage. However, we will need further research to know whether intermittent fasting can help in post-stroke healing.
A Spike in Brain Function
IF also has the potential to improve mental clarity and attention. According to research released in February 2018 on rats, IF helps prevent memory loss that occurs as we age; therefore, supporting the idea. According to a John Hopkins Health Review, amyloid plaques are prevented from developing by IF due to the improvement of connections in the hippocampus. Patients with Alzheimer’s disease typically have these plaques. In any case, the study was only conducted on animals, so there’s no way of knowing if it has the same impact on humans.
One study found that dietary restriction in adulthood can increase the flexibility of the visual cortex, according to a 2011 study published in Nature, a highly regarded scientific publication. However, despite the lack of evidence to suggest that fasting can noticeably enhance vision, it still has positive benefits on the brain and the central nervous system, enhancing your general visual health. Meanwhile, you can improve your eyesight by using corrective lenses. You have the option to choose the colors for contact lenses based on your own preferences and style.
Several studies have shown how intermittent fasting decreases the chance of developing lymphoma, a kind of cancer in the immunity cells called lymphocytes. It also inhibits tumor growth and reduces the spread of cancer cells. However, the study was only conducted on animals, much similar to the improvement in brain function. Therefore, we will need additional research to see if similar effects happen in humans.
Lowers Risk for Cardiovascular Diseases
According to research based on evidence, the risk of cardiovascular disease decreases when insulin levels are also reduced. According to the American Heart Association, people with type II diabetes have an increased risk of sustaining severe heart disease, including congestive heart failure and myocardial infarction.
Intermittent fasting has successfully displayed enhancement of resistance to age-related illnesses (even if the research was only done on laboratory rats), thus proving that it can extend one’s lifespan. Despite the thrillingly promising experiment results, some are still skeptical because of how it is to replicate the tests in humans.
Weight loss is one of the most common uses of intermittent fasting, but its advantages go well beyond that. According to animal and human research, it can also help you live a healthier and longer life. You can practice intermittent fasting in many ways. Some techniques need you to fast at particular hours of the day.
If you’re using another method, you only have to fast on specific days of the week. Take note that results and approaches differ. For more information about intermittent fasting, consult with your doctor or nutritionist. That way, you’ll know what to expect and if it’s the best approach for you.