Desmond Croker RN, Dip. OHS, BSN, MSN, CCDE
March 17 2023
Intermittent fasting (IF) is a pattern of eating that has gained popularity recently as a lifestyle choice rather than a diet.
Unlike standard diets that focus on what you eat, Intermittent fasting (IF) focuses on when you should eat by cycling between windows of fasting and eating.
This way of eating has become popular not only among those trying to lose weight but also among those who want to reap its health and wellness benefits.
IF has ancient origins, with fasting being practiced in many primitive cultures and religious fasting still being common today.
The therapeutic fasting trend emerged in the 1800s and involved fasting under a doctor's supervision to treat various conditions, from hypertension to headaches.
Although it fell out of favor with the development of new medications, it has recently re-emerged as a popular lifestyle choice.
There are various types of IF, such as the 16:8 fast , which involves an eight-hour eating window followed by 16 hours of fasting, and the 24-hour fast , which involves eating normally for one day and then avoiding food for the following 24 hours.
Others include the 5:2 fasting method , which involves eating normally for five days of the week and restricting calorie consumption to around 500-600 calories for the other two consecutive days, and the 20:4 method , which involves concentrating all eating into a four-hour window and fasting for the remaining 20 hours.
Unlike other types of dieting, Intermittent fasting (IF) allows dieters to eat pretty much what they want, making it an attractive option for many.
Additionally, it offers numerous benefits beyond weight loss, such as increased focus and productivity, improved health, and increased energy levels.
Numerous studies have examined the benefits of IF. One study found that IF can reduce body weight by 3-8% over a period of 3-24 weeks, and another study found that IF can lead to a 4-7% reduction in abdominal fat over a period of 6-24 weeks.
Other studies have found that Intermittent fasting (IF) can lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and improve insulin sensitivity. It can also reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Overall, Intermittent fasting (IF) offers a flexible and sustainable way of eating that is gaining in popularity due to its numerous health benefits beyond weight loss. As with any lifestyle change, consulting a doctor before embarking on IF is essential.
Here, we will take a closer look at the benefits of intermittent fasting and explore why it has become such a popular choice for many.
If you are working with a diabetes educator, it could be easier to incorporate intermittent fasting and stay ahead of the curve.
Reach out if you need help. Ride on!
One of the main benefits of intermittent fasting is weight loss. IF can be an effective weight loss tool due to reduced caloric intake during fasting periods.
A review of 40 studies found that intermittent fasting helped individuals lose an average of 7-11 pounds over a 10-week period.
Intermittent fasting can improve your metabolism by increasing your body's insulin sensitivity. It helps your body become more efficient at using insulin to lower blood sugar levels.
A study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that participants who practiced intermittent fasting experienced decreased insulin resistance, leading to improved metabolic health.
IF can also reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. A study published in the World Journal of Diabetes found that intermittent fasting helped improve insulin sensitivity and lowered fasting insulin levels, decreasing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Intermittent fasting has also been shown to reduce inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation is linked to many chronic diseases, including heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer's disease.
A study published in the journal Cell Research found that intermittent fasting can reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the body.
IF can improve heart health by reducing risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and obesity.
A review of 27 studies found that intermittent fasting can lower blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels.
Intermittent fasting may also reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.
A study published in the journal Aging found that intermittent fasting can help protect against cancer by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation in the body.
Intermittent fasting has been shown to improve brain function by increasing the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factors (BDNF).
BDNF is a protein that helps promote the growth of new brain cells and improves brain function.
A study published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry found that intermittent fasting can increase BDNF levels in the brain.
IF may also improve sleep quality. A study published in the journal Nutrients found that intermittent fasting can improve sleep quality and reduce daytime sleepiness in individuals with sleep disorders.
Intermittent fasting has been shown to increase lifespan in animals. A study published in the journal Cell Metabolism found that mice that followed an intermittent fasting diet lived longer than mice that didn't fast. While more research is needed in humans, this study suggests that IF may have longevity benefits.
IF is a lifestyle rather than a diet. This means that it allows for greater flexibility in food choices and can be more convenient for many individuals. IF can be customized to fit different schedules and lifestyles, making it a popular choice for many.
Intermittent fasting can also help improve self-control and reduce binge eating. A study published in the journal obesity found that intermittent fasting can reduce the urge to binge eat and improve self-control.
IF can promote sustainable lifestyle change, unlike traditional diets that may be difficult to maintain in the long term. IF doesn't require counting calories or eliminating certain foods, which can make
intermittent fasting is a popular and effective way to lose weight and improve overall health and wellness. Dieters can enjoy greater freedom and flexibility in their food choices by focusing on when rather than what to eat.
Additionally, intermittent fasting has been shown to have numerous benefits, such as improved insulin sensitivity, increased energy, and better brain function.
With so many different fasting methods to choose from, there is a method that can fit into anyone's lifestyle.
If you want to improve your health and well-being, consider trying intermittent fasting and see its positive impact on your life.
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