There are many Benefits of Intermittent Fasting for weight loss, health and longevity and I will go through them below in a quick and summarizing manner. Intermittent Fasting [ IF ] is a way of eating that doesn’t concentrate on the amount of food you eat but on the window of time you consume your meals. IF is a key activator of autophagy, the natural way for cleaning out toxins from inside the cells and removing damaged cells.
Youth of our cells equal longevity, energy and younger looking and feeling body.
The most popular is the 16/8 split, which means 16 hours fasting, 8 hours eating time. This means for example eating between 11AM and 7PM.
When we eat from the moment that we wake up until we go to bed our digestion is ON and that means the cleaning crew is having a break. We all experienced days when our garbage wasn’t picked up in our street or town. The garbage builds up and spreads out over the neighborhood. This is also the case when we don’t let our bodies do their own cleaning. Toxins build up and cells get damaged. Aging makes the efficiency of autophagy lessen and it’s as effective as when we were 20 years old. It needs our help.
There seems to be no need to fast longer than 16 hours to get the most benefits of intermittent fasting. These benefits include improving the immune system, slowing down loss of bone density, decreasing visceral and belly fat, reducing cancer rates and increasing longevity.
In nature everything goes in cycles, the ocean moves in and out, as does our breath, in and out. Intermittent fasting can do wonders for weight, health and longevity but womens hormones are affected differently by fasting then men. For myself, I now rotate my fasting days.
Nothing in nature is on all the time. Especially for me as a woman, respecting this cycle feels very important. Not eating can be seen as a stressor by the body which is ok, a little push is a good thing but if you have many other external stressors in your life like if you are not sleeping enough, are crazy busy, are lacking nutrients or are chronically stressed it is better to ease into IF. Start with a 12 hour fast, for example eating between 8AM and 8PM. If you feel good a month into it, you sleep well, are not crazy hungry and your periods stay regular you can work your way up.
Or you can try the ON/OFF approach I follow.
Benefits of not eating and not digesting for 16 hours are …
- insulin levels drop and this aids fat burning
- blood levels of human growth hormone increase as much as 5-fold
- the body induces important cellular repair processes, such as removing waste material from cells
- there are beneficial changes in genes and molecules that are related to longevity and protection against disease
- your body changes hormone levels to make stored body fat easier to burn which increases metabolic rate by 3.6 – 14% due to lower insulin levels, during IF we burn more fat and preserve lean muscle tissue
- activating glucagon in the blood, the opposite of insulin, this triggers autophagy in the body.
Generally speaking, intermittent fasting will make you eat fewer meals. In my ON/OFF meal plans I combine the IF days with fruit / vegetable based meals, lower protein and no grains which turns these days into a detoxing / youth enhancing / healing day.
Other benefits of Intermittent Fasting are,
- reducing oxidative stress and inflammation in the body, two of the causes of aging and many chronic diseases
- reducing insulin resistance, lowering blood sugar levels and thereby lowering the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, this has been found to be most beneficial for men
- lowering risk factors for heart disease like blood pressure, cholesterol levels, triglycerides and inflammatory markers
What can I drink during intermittent fasting?
Water, coffee, tea and other noncaloric beverages are allowed during the fasting hours, no solid foods are permitted because these will start up your digestion. You can add a splash of unsweetened almond milk to your tea or coffee. Almond milk or any other nut based milk is low in carbs and in calories so it doesn’t start up the digesting system.