Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Had you also decided to lose some weight and maintain your desired body weight in 2021? Have you succeeded in it? I'm sure many of you didn't. But you do not need to get tense. Still, you have four months for 2022. You can achieve your goal with one thing. Yes, you read it right. The thing that can help you to reach your goal is Intermittent fasting.
This blog is all about intermittent fasting and how it affects your body.
What is Intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is nothing but just an eating pattern where you only eat during a particular period. It is more about when to eat as compared to what to eat. A person has to do fasting every day for a specific number of hours. Also, they are allowed to have one meal for a couple of days or a week. It helps to burn your body fat.
What happens in Intermittent fasting?
Basically, in intermittent fasting, a person eats in a particular time window, like within 8 to 10 hours.
If you are fasting and not eating food, your insulin level in the body will decrease. The dropped level of insulin induces cells to release stored glucose as energy. Your body starts using fat collected in your cells for energy. And guess what? You start burning fat instead of storing it. And it leads to weight loss.
How Intermittent Fasting Affects Your body?
Intermittent fasting affects the body in different ways and provides several benefits along with weight loss. Let's check them out.
1. Effect on the functionality of hormone, gene, and cells
The human body is a complex system. Even if you are missing a single meal in a day, many things happen in the body. When you don't eat food, the level of hormones changes in the body. It happens so stored body fat is more accessible as energy and starts effective cellular repair processes.
Intermittent fasting makes changes in the following:
- Insulin level drop-down while fasting.
- The blood levels of human growth hormones may rise. The high level of HGH helps in fat burning and muscle gain.
- During fasting, the body starts crucial cellular repair processes.
- Various advantageous changes start occurring in several genes and molecules. It enhances life span and safeguards against disease.
2. Effect on body weight
Most people begin intermittent fasting to lose weight. In intermittent fasting, you will eat fewer meals at a particular time. Due to this, you will take fewer calories. Not only this, but it also enhances the hormone functionalities, and it results in weight loss.
When the insulin levels decrease, HGH levels increase, then the body starts using the fat stored in the cells for energy.
One scientific study shows three to eight percent weight loss within 3 to 24 weeks when a person is on intermittent fasting. Also, the person lost 4–7% of their waist circumference within 6–24 weeks.
Intermittent fasting has the potential to be a potent weight-loss tool. Do you want to give it a try?
- Effect on Blood Pressure
Intermittent fasting can help to lower blood pressure. If you have the issue of high blood pressure, then you can try intermittent fasting. It is essential to keep your blood pressure in a normal range. Otherwise, it can lead to kidney disease and heart disease.
As per research, you can only lower your blood pressure while practicing intermittent fasting. Once you stop it, your blood pressure will get back to its earlier range. So it's your choice if you want to practice intermittent fasting for the long term or not.
- Effect on Heart Health
Heart disease is a silent killer. It is one of the leading causes of death in men and women. Did you know that the death rate due to heart attack is up to 53% in the last five years in India?Intermittent fasting can help by improving numerous risk factors like blood sugar levels, blood triglycerides, total and LDL (bad) cholesterol, blood pressure, and inflammatory markers.
Fasting can enhance the process your body metabolizes sugar. It can decrease your risk of gaining weight and developing diabetes, both risk factors for heart disease.
This area of intermittent fasting requires more research to know the various factors because most of the facts are based on animal studies only.
Effect on Brain Health
The things that are good for your body are always good for your brain also. Intermittent fasting helps to reduce oxidative stress, blood sugar levels, insulin resistance, and inflammation.
Intermittent fasting increases the level of BDNF (brain hormone). Brain hormone deficiency results in depression and various other brain-related problems.
When various studies were performed on animals, it showed an improvement in the growth of new nerve cells. And it is beneficial for brain function. It also guards against brain injury that occurs due to strokes.
Effect on Overall Health
Intermittent fasting helps to maintain overall health. It may help to prevent cancer and Alzheimer's diseases.
As per animal studies, fasting can guard against various neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson's and Huntington's. We require research on humans also.
Intermittent fasting similarly increases lifespan as perpetual calorie restriction. To check this lifespan theory, scientists study it on mice. Mice were fasted every other day to check their lifespans. And guess what? It increases up to 13%. Daily fasting has been shown to improve the overall health of male mice.
So this was all about intermittent fasting. Whether you want to lose weight or looking for health benefits, intermittent fasting can help you. But wait, there are some side effects of intermittent fasting that you should know. It includes digestive issues, headaches, lightheadedness, irritation, mood swings, fatigue, low energy, bad breath, sleep disruption, dehydration, and malnutrition.
Intermittent fasting is not a smart choice for everyone. It can be dangerous for pregnant women, young children, older adults, people with poor immunity, brain injury, and any eating disorders.
Do you want to give it a try? Talk to your dietician first, do your over-body checkup. If the ball is in your court, then go ahead.
Authored by: Vijeta Rana
About the Author: Vijeta Rana is a Wellness and Fitness Blogger from Punjab, India.