I'm sure by now you've probably heard the term Intermittent Fasting, or IF. It's the new craze in the world of diet and nutrition that's actually not new at all, as it has been in practice by humans for thousands of years. Out of necesity humans have fasted during times where food was less accessable. Our ancestors foraged for their food, which meant at times they had to go for hours or even days eating very little or nothing. It is also known that in ancient medicine great value was placed on the healing power fasting has on almost any ailment or disease.
Within the last few decades science has been extensively studying the diets and eating habits of ancient humans in a quest to better understand our own modern nutritional needs. Although we still have much to learn, it has become abundantly clear that fasting was a regular part of our ancestors way of life, and fasting has many benefits to human health.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting:
Stronger Immune System
Studies have shown promising results for atuo-immune conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis and both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes. It has also been shown that prolonged fasting (3 days or more) can regenerate the immune system by kick starting stem cells into producing new white blood cells, which are used to fight infection.
Improved Body Composition
Fasting for 12 hours or more has been shown to both increase fat oxidation and human growth hormone. This means your cells break down your fat stores to produce energy, and your body secretes growth hormone to protect it's lean muscle mass.
As previously mentioned, when fasted our cells convert body fat into energy, and fat is a slow burning high producer of energy. Our body also releases Adrenaline when fasted, which is more than likely why mamals are more active when hungry and more sedentary after eating.
Once on a regular routine of fasting you'll feel satiated for longer and longer periods of time, only feeling the need to eat once or twice a day. Remember cells convert to using body fat for energy when fasting, and this means it does not require more calories from food. And, fasting has been shown to regulate the hormone Ghrelin, which is responsible for telling us we're hungry.
Enhanced Gut Health
Studies have shown that fasting improves microbrial diversity of the gut mirobiome, stregthening gut function and the entire immune system. Fasting has also been shown to decrease the negative impact of accute stress on the gut. And finnally, fasting allows the gut time to recover and rebuild simply by giving it rest from the extremely high-energy job of digestion.
Enhanced Brain Health
Fasting increases the production of the hormone Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). BDNF is crucial to the development of new brain cells and new neural pathways. BDNF also aids in the ability of brain cells to communcate, which translates to greater cognitive function.
Enhanced Heart Health
Studies have shown that fasting improves blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar levels, and insulin sensitivity.
Disease Prevention & Longevity
When fasted between 14-16 hours the body goes through a process where old and damaged cells are broken down and replaced with new cells. This process of repair called Autophagy is linked to anti-aging and improved metabolic function.
So, if you like the sound of eating less, feeling and looking your best while improving your overall health, please read on to learn what version of fasting will work best for you.
Fasting is quite simple. There isn't a way to do it wrong, but there are methods of fasting that have been shown to maximize it's benefits. It is important to understand that fasting is not starving yourself, and in fact you don't even need to cut calories if your goal is to maintain your current weight. So, whether you're goal is to either lose body fat or maintain your current weight, and or simply benefit from the health effects of fasting there is a method that will work best for you and your lifestyle.
*Choose the method you feel would be the easiest to implement and the easiest to stay consistant with. And make sure to eat high quality organic whole foods. If you're eating fast food and drinking sugary beverages don't expect to feel better from any form of fasting.
Methods of Intermittent Fasting:
This has become the most recommeded method because most people, especially beginners, find it the easiest to implement as well as maintain over time. It is time-restricted feeding where during an 8 hour window of the day you eat and for the other 16 hours you fast.
*You can still drink your morning coffee. Here is a recipe that makes a really great tasting coffee that will give you a long lasting boost of energy.Bulletproof Coffee
Schedule: The best way is to skip breakfast. Let's say you finish eating dinner by 8:00pm and then not eat again until 12:00pm the following day. Half of your time fasting is done while sleeping and you end up eating during the peak of the day when your metabolism is functioning at it's highest.
This is where you eat 3 meals a day for five days of the week and 1 small meal of between 500-600 calories on the other two days of the week.
Schedule: Mix it up by switching which days you fast on. For example, you can use a split schedule of 2 or 3 days between fasting. You can also compress your fasting schedule to back to back days, or only having 1 day in between.
One Meal A Day
As the title suggests you eat only one meal a day. This method can be harder to do in the beginning as your body is adjusting to fasting. However, it's great to do regularly or cycle in once you feel your body is completely comfortable with fasting.
Schedule: Ideally you would eat your one meal at lunch time when your metabolism is at its peak.
One day you eat without retriction and the next you eat one small meal of between 500-600 calories. This is a great for people who would like to get the added benefits of longer fasting without going through an entire day without food.
Schedule: Every other day.
It's simple, you fast for an entire 24 hours 1-2 days a week.
Schedule: Like the 5:2 method you can choose which day or days you want to fast. The most popular way of fasting for 24 hours is to eat dinner at 6 or 7:00pm and then don't eat until the same time the following day.
*A quick tip for trouble shooting any method:If you find your body is too hungry while fasting then experiment by shortening the time you fast, or you may need to increase the calories you consume during the time you eat.
Please contact us with any questions or bumps in the road you may have along the way.
We would love to hear about your experience!