I fasted every day for over a decade. (I’m still alive, so I guess that’s something.) All joking aside, intermittent fasting (IF) is one of the most controversial diet protocols out there. According to the Mayo Clinic, intermittent fasting is not eating for a certain amount of time every day or week. Some common ways to go about intermittent fasting are alternate-day fasting, daily time-restricted fasting, and 5:2 fasting.
Some claim intermittent fasting works; others claim that it’s crazy and can cause health problems. What’s the real truth? In this article, I’ll share how fasting works and what I learned over the years to help you if you’re interested in trying it. Keep reading to learn more, and next, check out When to Work Out While Intermittent Fasting, Expert Reveals.
You won’t starve.
The point of IF isn’t to deprive yourself of food; it’s simply to change the timing of your meals so there are longer gaps. (If you have a medical condition that requires consistent food, IF isn’t for you.) Do not consume calories during your fast: only water, black coffee, or tea.
Research has found that feelings of hunger remain stable and can even decrease during IF. In fact, even two full days of eating minimal food won’t affect your mood or cognitive and physical abilities, additional research shows. Also, remember that over a billion people fast during Ramadan!
Intermittent fasting can boost your fat loss.
A review by Canadian researchers found all 27 studies regarding intermittent fasting led to “weight loss of 0.8% to 13.0% of baseline weight with no serious adverse events.” A study by the University of Chicago found a large amount of fat loss from a fasting regimen in obese women. Another study found that doing IF every other day slashed body fat by 4% in as little as three weeks.
You might live longer.
Will IF help you live until 120? Probably not. But there is research to suggest it could slow your aging and increase your lifespan.
In many animals, research supports that calorie restriction increases lifespan. Fasting inhibits mTOR, which is a pathway that has a strong effect on longevity. Research shows that fasting can even reduce inflammation.
In fact, a three-year-long study at a senior home found fasting reduced deaths and illnesses. The research also found that fasting is a solid method for weight management. In addition, studies done during Ramadan found that fasting significantly reduced bad cholesterol and increased good cholesterol by 30%.
People close to you may freak out.
Some loved ones may get upset when you say that you fast. Because everyone’s taught “breakfast is the most important meal” and you should eat every few hours, they might critique your diet without knowing anything about fasting, how it works, or its benefits.
Ultimately, IF isn’t for everyone. You have to decide what fits your lifestyle best, and it’s always smart to speak with your healthcare provider before starting any kind of diet or new eating regimen. But after that, if you try it and like it, don’t argue with critics; they won’t listen anyway. Just stick with it, and enjoy what works for you.
Anthony J. Yeung