Intermittent fasting is about limiting food intake and increasing the period of no eating. It involves creating a small window for eating in a day (8 to 5 hours) and fasting for the rest of that day.
This energy restriction method has many health benefits. Significant gains such as weight loss, fat burn, and a handful of other enhancements backed by science. Intermittent fasting could also lower the risk of type II diabetes. It reduces cell damage from oxidative stress and inflammation, lowers the risk of getting cancer, improves memory, and much more.
How Intermittent Fasting Works
The duration of food intake and fasting period are quite preferential. Though, dietitians and other experts recommend an 8/16 fasting plan, while 6/18 is popular with others.
The 5:2 plan is another popular approach. It involves taking regular meals for five days, after which we restrict ourselves to a 500-600 calorie meal in the last two days.
After many years of thinking it through, we now understand how ingested food gives the body energy. They are, first, broken down by enzymes of the gut and later heads into the bloodstream. For instance, Enzyme Amylase converts carbohydrates into sugar (glucose). It goes into the blood, where the body cells pick and use it as an immediate source of energy. Unused sugar (stored as glycogen) is converted to fats (fatty acids) and stored in muscles, liver, and fat cells as potential energy sources.
Intermittent fasting is such a great success, thinking of how it creates a gap that allows us to use stored energies.
Our regular feeding pattern revolves around eating three meals daily, plus in-between brunches, snacks, and bites, often without exercise. The body eventually runs on calories provided by these regular meal intakes without a need for the excess fat stored.
Intermittent fasting radically prolongs the period taken to burn through calories from our last meal and begins to burn fat stored.
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Managing diabetes and downsizing
In the first place, insulin – a hormone from the pancreas – conveys sugar to our cells. Without the snacks, bites, and fast food, the blood sugar (insulin) level drops. It allows fat cells to release stored energy.
Weight loss also occurs when insulin level drops. The body gets to combat type II diabetes by allowing blood insulin levels to fall to promote stored energy usage. However, there is a whole new dimension to the therapeutic activity brought about by intermittent fasting, as revealed by the stunning discoveries of modern research.
Metabolic and behavioral benefits of intermittent fasting
Scientific studies have shown a broad spectrum of health benefits to the body. It changes the functions of the hormones and body cells. It also lowers the risks of diseases, including cancer, neurologic disorders and Type 2 Diabetes.
This publication demonstrates the mechanisms of metabolic changes it brings about.
Other changes it brings about depend on the plan or regimen followed.
It could be metabolic, such as maintaining blood glucose levels in the low normal range, depleting or reducing glycogen stores, mobilizing fatty acids, and generating ketones. It often can be behavioral, such as increased alertness or arousal and enhanced mental acuity.
How does merely altering meal timing bring about such changes to our body?
In the words of de Cabo and Mattson:
“Studies in animals and humans have shown that many of the health benefits of intermittent fasting are not simply the result of reduced free-radical production or weight loss.
Instead, intermittent fasting elicits evolutionarily conserved, adaptive cellular responses that are integrated between and within organs in a manner that improves glucose regulation, increases stress resistance, and suppresses inflammation.
During fasting, cells activate pathways that enhance intrinsic defenses against oxidative and metabolic stress and those that remove or repair damaged molecules.
During the feeding period, cells engage in tissue-specific processes of growth and plasticity. However, most people consume three meals a day plus snacks, so intermittent fasting does not occur.”
In other words, fasting’s ability to trigger beneficial activities in the body is innate or evolutionarily embedded in humans. Every time we switch from a fed state to a fasting state, an inherent capacity activates.
Moreover, this year-long study observes remarkable weight loss and improved several cardiovascular risk factors, like overweight, abdominal circumference, and blood pressure.
In conclusion, intermittent fasting does confer health benefits without doubt, though the mechanism or function involved in the process may be unclear.
Hey Joyfreshers, do you practice Intermittent fasting? Does it work for you? How much weight do you lose in a month with intermittent fasting? Let’s discuss in the comments below.