Intermittent fasting is the best thing for your metabolism: Is it true or a myth?
It’s true! I will discuss the scientific rationale behind this new paradigm, which stands out against traditional concepts.
There is overwhelming information about intermittent fasting (IF) online, on social media, and in health magazines. It can be confusing, and you may not know where to start, or whether it the right choice for you.
Fasting, in simple terms, means going a period of time without food, and there’s infinite variability in how you practice it. Thousands of years ago, our ancestors lived and survived without consuming food for long intervals. Similarly, when you get sick, you stop eating. This is the body’s normal response to lower your glucose and increase the surge of hormones to fight infections.
Fasting is not all about weight loss. One of the important goals of fasting is to make your metabolism more FLEXIBLE. This means your body gets used to switching from burning sugar to burning fat to provide your body energy needed. This usually cannot happen if we are constantly consuming snacks every other hour as we go through our day.
Intermittent fasting trains our body to burn more fat, and helps get rid of stubborn belly fat. You will be surprised that fasting before a workout improves exercise performance and you will actually have more energy during the workout.
The scientific mechanism of the benefits of intermittent fasting can be explained by cellular process: autophagy. Autophagy is a cleansing process where weak cells die and new, healthier cells are generated. This results in longevity and reversal of disease processes. It also reduces inflammation and boosts immunity.
Intermittent fasting is practiced with a lot of different protocols. It can simply mean time-restricted feeding. For example, fasting periods can be between 10 to 16 hours, followed by periods where you consume food in a 24-hour cycle. Alternate day fasting means fasting for the entire 24 hours every other day.
Health benefits of IF range from killing sugar cravings to improving symptoms of Alzheimer’s. It’s shown to increase longevity, treat diabetes and obesity, fight cancer, and improve immunity to fight inflammatory diseases. It also enhances your athletic performance and increases energy levels.
If you want to start an IF protocol and not sure how to get started, first ask yourself what your goals are. Your IF protocol can be tailored based on your goal to kick sugar cravings, promote longevity, get rid of stubborn fat, et cetera. Intermittent fasting is easier to accomplish if you consistently stick to your normal routine. It is always recommended that you extend your fasting time slowly towards your target protocol, to give your body time to adjust at the cellular level.
Is intermittent fasting good for all?
There are some people who should avoid fasting altogether. Pregnant and breastfeeding women, diabetic patients, and people with eating disorders, gut problems, food sensitivities, and anxiety and stress issues should seek a physician’s advice before starting a fasting plan.
What is allowed during fasting intervals?
Water, tea, and black coffee are fine to consume but be careful about high caffeine intake to suppress appetite, it may be detrimental to your nervous system. And one last thing: While fasting is great, keep in mind that the way you break your fast is just as important. It’s completely counterproductive — and even dangerous for insulin and blood sugar balance — to fast and then immediately binge on unhealthy foods. Instead, break your fast with a balanced meal of plenty of protein, fiber, vegetables, and healthy fats. Your body will thank you!
If you’re curious about intermittent fasting, nutrition, and overall wellness, don’t hesitate to reach out to Mani here at LivAgeWell. Mani is an integrative nutrition, health, and wellness consultant with numerous certifications from advanced functional nutrition to health coaching.