While it seems that most fad diets have outlasted their welcome, intermittent fasting, or not eating for periods at a time, is a diet style that has been receiving an increasing amount of attention. According to nutrition expert Bethany Johnson from THEGOODESTATE, intermittent fasting causes your body to temporarily go into a survival mode. This not only has physical benefits such as weight loss but improves focus. In case you are not sure if this kind of diet is right for you, here are some obvious, and not so obvious, benefits of intermittent fasting.
It doesn’t take a genius to work out that eating fewer meals per day will lead to weight loss, as you end up consuming less calories. This, however, is not always the case if you compensate for abstaining from food by eating larger portions. Intermittent fasting also promotes hormone function that assist weight loss. Higher levels of noradrenaline and lower insulin levels increase the metabolic rate to let you burn extra calories as you go about your day.
Reduction in Blood Pressure
Intermittent fasting has been used as a way of reducing insulin resistance and lowering blood sugar level. This in turn, can lower the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes, a disease that is becoming increasingly more common worldwide. According to a study on ScienceDirect, intermittent fasting can reduce blood sugar level by 3 to 6 percent and insulin by 20 to 31 percent.
Better Heart Health
According to Statistics Canada, heart disease is the second leading cause of death in the country after cancer. Intermittent fasting is said to reduce certain risk factors associated with developing heart problems, including high blood pressure, LDL cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Animal testing has also shown that intermittent fasting may reduce the risk of cancer—human studies are still required to confirm this. Plus, a study published on PubMed claims that fasting can reduce the negative effects of chemotherapy.
Better Brain Health
Intermittent fasting is not just beneficial for the body but also for mental well-being. The reduction in inflammation, blood sugar levels and oxidative stress associated with not eating for periods at a time can have a positive effect on mental health. Some studies have shown that intermittent fasting can also promote the growth of new brain cells, and increase the levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factors, or hormones linked to mental well-being. A number of animal studies have also shown that intermittent fasting may help prevent neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
While it has not been proven that intermittent fasting can increase human lifespan, some animal studies have shown encouraging results. According to a study published on kerger.com, rats that were made to fast every other day lived 83 percent longer than ones that were not. It is little wonder that intermittent fasting is so popular among the anti-aging movement.