Health and Nutrition

Intermittent fasting

Across many different religions and cultures, people have been practicing fasting for thousands of years. Today, intermittent fasting puts a new twist on the ancient practice.

How does it work?

By changing your eating pattern so that the meals you consume are within a specific time frame, your digestive system is given a chance to rest, while the rest of your body can get on with the task of seeking out weak or damaged cells and destroy them by a process called apoptosis. Following the removal of unwanted cells, the re-feeding period gives the body the chance to build new and healthy cells. 16/8 intermittent fast is one of the most popular styles of fasting. You eat all of your daily calories within a shortened time frame — e.g. 6 to 8 hours — and fast for the remaining 14 to 16 hours. You can do this every day, or a few times a week. To begin, start by fasting for 12 hour, once you feel comfortable with this, extend the fast to 14 or even 16 hours.  The calories consumed during the re-feeding period should be good quality nutrient dense foods to assist your body with the regeneration of healthy cells. Be sure that during the fast you drink plenty of water.

Example #1:
Wake up at 6:30am
Meal 1 at 10:30am
Meal 2 at 2:30am
Meal 3 at 6:30pm

Example #2:
Wake up at 6:30am
Meal 1 at 8:00am
Meal 2 at 12:00am
Meal 3 at 3:00pm

  • Within 8-12 hours – the liver has used up its glycogen stores, and the body will start to burn fat.
  • Within 12-14 hours – a process called autophagy kicks in (the body’s natural mechanism of getting rid of all the old cell ).
  • Within 14-16 hours – your body starts to repair cellular damage.

Benefits of fasting

Reported benefits of fasting include:

  • Improved blood sugar control
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Better appetite control / curbs cravings
  • Reduced body fat
  • Increase in lean muscle tissue
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Improved detoxification
  • Increased energy
  • Improved cognitive function.
  • Reduces insulin resistance and protects against type 2 diabetes

When not to fast

Individuals with the following conditions should abstain from intermittent fasting:

  • People with diabetes
  • The use of medications that requires food intake
  • Active growth stage, such as in adolescents
  • Pregnancy, breastfeeding

References:

Healthline – 8 health benefits of fasting, backed by science

Intermittent fasting: the science of going without

Fasting: health benefits and the risks

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