When our stomach starts growling it is usually a sign for us to head out to the kitchen. But for those who practice intermittent fasting, this rumbling stomach is just a feeling they get used to over time.
What is Intermittent Fasting? What are the medical benefits of Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting (IF) is a proven strategy to prevent some of today’s most common diseases, from cardiovascular disease and cancer to diabetes and cognitive illnesses.
The term intermittent fasting refers to a series of diets that have some common features.
One of the most popular fasting regimes is the so-called “5: 2 diet” in which a person is on a restrictive intake (500-600 calories a day) two days a week, while in the other five days he eats normally.
Other known fasting regimens are those that require time-limited (16-8, 18-6) periods of food intake (caloric intake is not limited), alternating days of fasting and non-fasting (24 hours of fasting, then 24 hours of food intake) and periodic long-term posts (posts that last 2 to 20 days).
A number of studies have proven the positive impact of intermittent fasting on aging and a number of diseases and conditions, from obesity, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
The positive impact of intermittent fasting is already visible after performing IF 3-4 times a year for 5 days!
Why is intermittent fasting so effective?
When our body enters a state of fasting, we empty the glycogen stores in the liver and convert them into ketone bodies. During fasting, many will enter into a state of ketosis in just a few days. In addition, a number of studies have shown that fasting speeds up the metabolism.
A study conducted by Patterson different fasting regimens positively affect weight loss and may reduce or eliminate the night-time eating.
How does intermittent fasting affect the brain?
Mattson research has focused on studying how intermittent fasting affects cognitive abilities and brain health. A number of previous studies have confirmed that a state of ketosis that occurs through fasting can provide the benefits such as resistance to stress, injury, and disease.
Animal studies have shown that a 40-50% reduction in caloric intake leads to a reduction in the volume of the heart, liver, intestines and muscles, but the size of the brain remains unchanged.
Additionally, intermittent fasting improves cognitive functions and improves communication between different parts of the brain that are extremely important for good brain health.
From all the above, but also based on plenty of positive personal experiences of people who have tried intermittent fasting not only with the goal of losing weight, but also to improve general health, this is a diet that one should follow. Due to its medical benefits, IF will certainly be an interesting research subject to scientists in many years to come.
- Mattson MP, Longo VD, Harvie M. Impact of intermittent fasting on health and disease processes,
- Wei M, Brandhorst S, Shelehchi M. Fasting-mimicking diet and markers/risk factors for aging, diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease,
- Patterson R.E., Sears D.D. Metabolic effects of intermittent fasting.