Intermittent Fasting has gotten a lot of attention these days. This diet-boosting method has been practiced across hundreds (if not thousands) of years by our ancestors, religious groups, and millions of people around the world. Some do it for health, others for religious reasons, and others do it for diet. All of these are great reasons to tap into some of the benefits. So... what are the benefits of Intermittent Fasting?
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Significant Changes in The Functions of Cells, Genes and Hormones
- Insulin Levels:
Your blood levels of insulin drop significantly, which can facilitate fat burning.
- Human growth hormone (HGH):
Your blood levels of growth hormone may increase as much as 5x. Higher levels of HGH can facilitate fat burning and muscle gain.
- Cellular Repair:
Your body induces important cellular repair processes (known as autophagy), that act as ways of removing waste material from cells.
Reduction in Oxidative Stress and Inflammation
Several studies have shown that intermittent fasting may enhance the body's resistance to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is one of the steps towards aging and contributes to many chronic diseases. In this process unstable molecules, called free radicals, react with other important molecules (like protein and DNA) and can cause damage to them.
Additionally, studies show that intermittent fasting may also help fight inflammation which is also a driver of chronic diseases.
Lose Weight and Belly Fat
Intermittent fasting can greatly enhance your hormone function to facilitate weight loss.
By helping you achieve lower insulin levels, higher growth hormone levels, and increased amounts of norepinephrine, we can increase the breakdown of body fat and facilitate its use for energy.
For this reason, short-term fasting actually increases your metabolic rate thereby helping you burn more calories.
Generally speaking, this also forces you to eat less as your window of time in which you eat is typically shorter and thus you're less likely to over eat!
Recommendations on Fasting Windows
I've tried a few of these variations and find that, with a crazy busy schedule, a 20/4 schedule works for me best. That said, experiement with the 16/8 and 18/6 windows to see what works for you!
20/4 Fasting Window
In this particular schedule, made popular by The Warrior Diet, you fast for twenty hours out of the day and eat for just four. This window works wonders for me as I can often shift it slightly around to meet my needs and it really ensures I keep a tight eye on what I'm eating.
This schedule also helps boost some of the above effects to higher levels as the reading I've done indicates these processes really kick in starting about hour 16 and the effects of autophagy and the really important stuff increase dramatically after hour 18.
Personally, this is my recommendation!
18/6 Fasting Window
Similar to the 20/4, but with 18 hours of fast, broken with a 6 hour meal window. This one works great as well and provides some added flexibility to your day!
16/8 Fasting Window
This is the one my wife sticks to and she's been able to trim down to a weight she's very happy with without all the crazy stuff I do! Also similar to the 20/4, but with 16 hours of fast, broken with a 4 hour meal window. This one provides even added flexibility to your day!
As I say often on this site, find what works for you. This isn't something that is one-size fits all. Find a window, stick to it, adjust, repeat, tweak... do what works!
How does it work for you?
Really, I'm asking... how did this work for you? Have you done it? Have you heard about it before? Are you thinking of doing it? What's holding you back!?
Let me know in the comments below!