An increasing pool of studies show that the benefits of intermittent fasting, which is a popular diet style in the health community, actually extend well beyond weight loss (that one has already achieved the status of an indisputable fact).
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting, most often done by fasting for a certain number of hours (usually 16) and consuming all the planned calories during a certain subsequent number of hours, or by picking one or two days every week where you fast for 24 hours. Used wisely, this method can provide you with an accelerated rate of fat loss and some amazing health benefits, described in greater detail in the article below.
1. Fasting promotes sustainable weight loss
This is the number one reason why people incorporate a controlled pattern of fasting in their diet. Research shows that short-term fasting can increase the metabolic rate by 4-14%, allowing you to burn more calories on a daily basis.
In addition, it stimulates a greater breakdown of body fat by promoting lower levels of insulin and higher levels of growth hormone and noradrenaline, resulting with more fat being used to fuel the activities of the organism. It should take several weeks for your body to shift to this increased fat burning mode, but once it does, the intensity of your cravings for junk food and sugar is most likely to reduce, helping you maintain a healthier diet. And since it causes far less muscle loss than continuous calorie restriction, it’s the safest method for trimming body fat in athletes.
2. Fasting improves insulin sensitivity
Insulin resistance is a key contributing factor to diabetes, heart disease and cancer, which makes it an important global health problem. That being said, intermittent fasting is an incredible tool for improving insulin and leptin sensitivity, i.e. making your cells take up glucose from the blood more effectively.
Many scientific reports agree intermittent fasting can help reduce blood glucose levels and glucose variability while significantly increasing insulin sensitivity in people diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes. Some experts even believe that fasting it’s one of the most powerful natural insulin sensitizer known to man, and there’s a good reason for that. Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body produces insulin but is unable to use it on an effective way, leading to fat accumulation in tissues that are not designed to store fat and a unwanted glucose build-up in the blood.
When you fast, your body has no other choice but to burn fat from the fat deposits in order to get the fuel needed for the normal functioning of your cells. This results with a significant reducement of the size of the lipid droplets in muscle and liver cells, making those cells more responsive to insulin.
3. Fasting helps you establish a healthier eating pattern
Ghrelin, the hunger hormone, is produced by the stomach, small intestine, pancreas and brain. The most important roles of ghrelin in the organism are to stimulate appetite, increase food intake and promote fat storage. Basically, this hormone tells our body when it’s time to eat.