There is simply no doubt that intermittent fasting is good for you. Literally, a few seconds spent on a Google search will lead to countless articles on the topic. More importantly, there is good evidence for these benefits, so it is not just hype. For myself, I have been doing this quite consistently for a year (note: I don’t do it when I am on vacation and I will occasionally eat breakfast). What is more controversial is which type of intermittent fasting is best for you. That is a separate topic and I will not get into that now.
Below are the top known benefits of intermittent fasting:
- Reduced insulin levels. This is probably the most important benefit of intermittent fasting for most of us. Dr. Jason Fung feels that all fat deposition is mediated through insulin. If we lower our insulin levels, we will deposit less fat. This is especially true for visceral or internal fat. We will burn more fat if our insulin levels are lower. I have personally seen better muscle definition since doing this. While I am still far from Bruce Lee, I am much better than I was!
- Elevates Human Growth Hormone (HGH), which improves fat burning and muscle deposition.
- Increased cellular repair. I listen to a lot of podcasts on longevity and health and many of them stress that during the time that the body is NOT digesting food, it can use this time and energy to get rid of old cells as well as heal injured cells.
- Beneficial changes with regard to gene expression.
- Decreased weight and belly fat, at least partially mediated through decreased insulin levels but also due to other factors. I would add that the belly fat (visceral fat) is thought to bring the greatest risk of heart disease. Studies have demonstrated both weight loss and decreased weight circumference through intermittent fasting.
- Increased metabolic rate (at least in the short term), leading to more fat burn.
- Reduced the risk of Type 2 diabetes and is possibly curative in many cases of Type 2 diabetes, most likely due to restoring insulin sensitivity.
- Decreases oxidative stress and inflammation in the body. which means less achiness. There is very good evidence that inflammatory markers are improved with intermittent fasting. I have certainly found that this is the case for me and I have heard this from a number of patients. Inflammation is thought to be a mediator of many diseases, including leaky gut syndrome, arterial disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and all autoimmune diseases.
- Positively impacts heart health by lowering blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, inflammatory markers, and blood sugar.
- Increased autophagy, which is when the body cleans up its cellular debris.
- May be beneficial for those with certain types of cancer and also for tolerating chemotherapy, though this needs to be studied further.
- Possibly beneficial for brain function, as it appears to increase levels of Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), which may help with depression, some cases of schizophrenia and bipolar illness.
- May be very helpful in preventing and improving Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
- May both extend life span and the quality of that life span.
Many of these points have been brought together nicely by Kris Gunnars BSc.
I would add that there is a lot of overlap between the benefits of a low carb/keto diet and intermittent fasting, which is why I recommend both. It should be noted that there is much debate over details about the ketogenic diets, cycling in and out of a ketogenic diet, and the best way to do this. Again, that’s a topic for another blog article.
I personally have found that I feel incredibly good and healthy doing what my other blogs on the topic have covered – namely, intermittent fasting aided by taking at least one Pruvit ketone supplement in the morning and frequently a second one later in the morning or afternoon, in addition to following a low carb diet during the day.
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Want to discuss the Ketogenic diet in greater detail or other available options for decreasing body fat? Call us at 703-406-2444 to schedule your complimentary, private consultation with me. I’d be happy to help you find the right solution for you!