The Benefits of Intermittent Fasting: Explained

Thursday, December 15, 2022

     The idea of fasting contributing to well-being might seem counterintuitive; after all, aren’t nutrients a part of good health? Also, wasn’t everyone in the 90s saying that eating several smaller meals throughout the day—basically eating as often as you could—was better for your health?

     If you’re confused by the idea of intermittent fasting, you’re not alone. The following will explain the concept and how it can benefit some bodies.

The Benefits of Intermittent Fasting: Explained
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Health Advice Isn’t One-Size-Fit-All

     Before diving in, let’s acknowledge the recent research that indicates what’s healthy for one person isn’t always healthy for another. Your DNA has gone through thousands of generations, evolving in the face of the food sources available, the climate your ancestors were surrounded by, and the physical requirements of life in a given area. Nutrition and health need to be personalized. It’s a good idea to not only read the latest research critically, paying attention to the people the studies were conducted on, but also your family history. Talk to older relatives about the health problems and emotional and mental experiences of your family members in generations previous. Share this information with your doctor.

What Is Intermittent Fasting?

     Intermittent fasting is a lifestyle change that focuses on the times that you earth throughout the day. The goal of intermittent fasting is to shorten the periods of time in the day that you’re eating and increase the periods of time that you’re fasting.

     It’s quite common in this era to mindlessly snack throughout the day and night, sitting in front of the office computer or television, grabbing a handful of whatever is easy to reach in the fridge as you pass, giving your body the work of digestion almost constantly. The extra calories and lower levels of activity today increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

     Our ancestors often didn’t have the luxury of so much food available all the time. In many cases, humans went hours or sometimes even days without eating as they sought out food sources.

Common Types Of Intermittent Fasting

     Intermittent fasting is relatively flexible compared to some other lifestyle changes. A few common approaches include:
  • Fasting for sixteen hours each day and eating within an eight-hour window
  • Eating normally five days a week and then limiting yourself to a single meal of 500-600 calories for two days a week
  • Eating a single, large meal every day and fasting for the rest of the day

The Impact Of Intermittent Fasting

     Having time throughout the day when your body isn’t digesting anything new and is able to simply burn through the calories of your previous meal can result in your body finishing up with its easily-accessible calories (often from carbohydrates and sugars) and turning to fat storage. This means that one of the initial benefits of intermittent fasting is burning more fat. When your body is burning fat instead of carbohydrates, this is called ketosis.

     Because intermittent fasting creates prolonged periods of ketosis, it has been shown to bring people to a healthier weight and therefore reduce the risk of many chronic illnesses associated with obesity or overweight. Additionally, intermittent fasting improves blood pressure and resting heart rates. This, in turn, bolsters heart health.

     Beyond this, studies are currently being conducted with promising results examining the link between ketogenic states and benefits for those with acne, cancer, PCOS, or nervous system diseases like Lou Gehrig’s disease, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s.

Be Wary Of “Keto” Products

     As a side note, it’s important that you understand there are no legal requirements when using the term keto. This means that, more often than not, foods advertised as keto or keto-friendly aren’t actually supportive of a ketogenic state. Read the ingredients list and labels carefully.

     If ketosis is one of the reasons you’re interested in intermittent fasting, you might want to use a free keto calculator to help you figure out what you need to maintain the state. You can visit for an example of a keto calculator. Again, everyone’s body is different, and ketosis depends on many factors.

What You Eat Is Still Important

     Like with all lifestyle changes, the content of the change is important. Intermittent fasting isn’t going to create a ton more well-being in your life if, when it comes to eating time, you have meals packed with added sugars and devoid of vegetables. Intermittent fasting is one change in a series of lifestyle changes that leads to health. If you try it, make sure the meals you’re having are nutritionally complete.

Who Intermittent Fasting Isn’t For

     Intermittent fasting can be wonderfully beneficial, but there are some people who should only begin the lifestyle change with the support of a healthcare professional. This includes:
  • Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Anyone with a history of eating disorders
  • People with type 1 diabetes who are taking insulin (this is subject to change as more studies are done; those with type 2 diabetes have been studied, and intermittent fasting was found to be safe)
  • Children and teenagers

     The above information should have explained the basics of intermittent fasting and how it can benefit the body. Whenever employing a lifestyle change, pay extra attention to the cues your body is sending you. You might also want to prepare yourself for sugar withdrawal, as this can happen in the first two weeks of intermittent fasting.

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