Whether you are doing it for health or spiritual reasons. Fasting done correctly, can offer a world of benefits. It’s an effective tool for weight loss because it helps burn visceral fat. It allows you to eat fewer calories while boosting metabolism. It also causes a drop in insulin levels and an increase in the human growth hormone. This in turn, initiates critical cellular repair processes.
Studies suggest that intermittent fasting, in particular, has been shown to help manage insulin resistance. It also reduces oxidative stress and inflammation in the body. Therefore, benefits against aging and development of numerous diseases. Because the practice can alleviate inflammation and oxidative damage, it may be beneficial for heart health. As a useful tool that burns belly fat, it may help lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Different purposes for fasting
- Weight Loss – When you eat little to no food or dramatically reduce your calorie intake, the initial weight loss is mostly “water”. Not fat, and once you break the fast, chances are the weight will pile back on. However, when done correctly, fasting helps burn fat efficiently because temporarily restricting calorie consumption allows your body to tap into fat stored in the liver and muscle for energy consequently. Resulting in significant weight loss of about 3-8% over 3-24 weeks. By choosing a method that suits your health and fitness goals, incorporating intermittent fasting into your lifestyle is easy. One that allows you to eat no less than 500 calories of healthful foods during fasting days.
- Cognitive health – The goal of fasting is to elevate the levels of compounds in the body called ketones. Our brain and body are surprisingly able to function well in a fasted state. You can significantly improve metabolic processes such as oxidative stress, inflammation, blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity through fasting. As a result you enhance sleep, cognitive function, learning, mood, memory, including alertness.
- Training – Various studies have suggested that intermittent fasting can help gym-goers improve their workout performance. Allowing them to gain strength, burn fat, even enhance muscular endurance. Since carbs are nearly depleted after about 16 hours of fasting. Working out in this state forces the body to activate the fight-or-flight responses. By doing so, digestion slows down. While the heart rate, fat oxidation, and muscle tension increases. As your body becomes better at metabolizing fat rather than relying on the carbs for fuel.
Ready to fast?
The success of intermittent fasting, be it for weight loss, endurance or overall health largely depends on finding an eating window that aligns with your needs and consuming healthy foods. So, try different windows, timing, and diets to see what works best for you. For example, if you are a morning person, try a 9AM-6PM window for a 15-hour fast or a night window of between 12pm-9m. Whichever fasting method you opt or, make sure that it’s sustainable in the long-term and don’t forget to keep hydrated at all time.