Intermittent fasting for weight loss may sound about as exciting as drinking bleach to you, at least, that’s how it came across to me, but once you learn what it really is, and some simple principles of intermittent fasting, you may find the benefits far outweigh the inconveniences. And the science is really backing it up.
“Fasting alone is more powerful in preventing and reversing some diseases than drugs,” said Satchidananda Panda, an associate professor of regulatory biology at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego, CA
The benefits include the following:
Can prevent and possibly reverse:
Some research indicates it could also have the following benefits:
-starve existing tumors
Basically, the benefits of intermittent fasting are many, and when you learn how simple it is to do, there’s really no downside.
“Intermittent fasting helps the body to rejuvenate and repair, thereby promoting overall health,” Panda told Live Science.
In addition, the folks over at Precision Nutrition believe that benefits of intermittent fasting can include:
-risk of cancer!
-growth hormone release
-control over appetite
-blood sugar control
-effectiveness of chemotherapy
They do warn that most of the research so far has been done on animals. So, it comes down to learning about the principle, experimenting with it on yourself, and implementing what you believe would benefit you most, in your circumstances. I’ll share how that worked out for me at the end of this post. But as an early disclaimer, I REALLY like food, so let’s just say I have implemented the easiest, highest return methods here, and I don’t go for super long periods of time without food to extract the benefits of this strategy 😉
That being said, to help determine how this could work for you, there are three methods of intermittent fasting I will cover, check to see which one will have the greatest benefits for you:
1. Leangains by Martain Berkhan
Fast for 14 hours (women) and 16 hours (men) and only eat during a six to eight hour window. Sleep is included, so it’s not as tough as it may sound. For example, if you eat breakfast at 9 AM, and your last meal at 5 PM, there’sa 16 hour break in between.
According to the book “Perfect Health Diet,” it takes about 8 hours after a meal before the body can start fighting pathogens and other nasty critters in our system, and in those next 8 hours they can do a bang up job, which can be critical in both fighting existing inflammation, and preventing future disease, they say.
The benefits of this method include the fact that you are sleeping during much of the fast. I like that part.
This one is about fasting for 24 hour periods once or twice a week. You can drink calorie-free beverages during this time.
This one is pretty simple, just eat very little one day, then eat like normal the next. So on down days, you eat one fifth your normal caloric requirement.
Major benefit of this one is weight loss, or the for the transition phase of the HCG diet.
These methods aren’t good for everybody, especially those with medical conditions, so make sure you consult with your doctor about these options before trying any of them.
For me personally, I have found that understanding the principle, and incorporating it loosely into my lifestyle, has helped me. Here’s what I mean by that:
1. On lazy days like Saturday or Sunday I often delay my breakfast until I have been up a few hours, eating breakfast at 10, 11, or even noon. Just knowing that my system is going to work on cleaning out pathogens etc. makes me feel good and is motivation to wait on food. It’s easy to do, and I really enjoy the late breakfast that I make after working up an appetite.
2. In the evenings, I never have snacks anymore unless I am doing CrossFit the next morning. If so, I take a protein shake at about 9 PM, and I have better energy and a great workout the next day. But… if I’m not doing intense exercise the next day, I make a point of not eating after dinner. I used to eat automatically every night, no matter what, but learning about intermittent fasting has helped me develop the better habit of not eating after dinner unless I have an intense workout the next day.
It is recommended that you drink plenty of water during a fast. Water can have a filling effect, plus I believe it greatly aids in the cleansing aspect of a fast.
So, the benefits are high, it’s fairly easy to do, and even when loosely applied intermittent fasting can aid you not only in weight loss, but in disease prevention and cure, according to research.
If you have questions or comments about the benefits of intermittent fasting, or anything else, make sure and leave them below, we answer them all!