This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series IF 411

IF-411, the benefits of intermittent fasting

IF-411, the benefits are hard to see if, like many, the choice is to live to eat and not to eat to live. Focusing on how most people live to eat would be astonishing because not everyone realizes how unhealthy their eating patterns are. If you choose the path of eating to live, fasting is one option. Unfortunately, most people consider the choice of fasting as unhealthy deprivation. People often associate fasting as a fad attempt to lose weight.

This post disputes the typical views of fasting, with the goal of sharing the positive benefits. With fasting, short-term fasting to be exact, it’s possible to achieve unsurpassed health, a fact supported by many studies. However, like most things, there is a right and a wrong way to do it. That is why this series is so relevant for learning more about intermittent fasting. We will share more about the right and wrong way to intermittent fast in a future installment of the series. In this post, we want to share the benefits. To enable those interested in this method of eating, to learn more about this approach and what to expect.

Let’s Start With Autophagy

Several years ago, a Japanese cell biologist, Yoshinori Ohsumi, won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his research on autophagy. Autophagy is a mechanism to recycle & renew cellular contents. You can also view it as the body consuming its own tissues in a metabolic process when it goes into a starvation phase. According to Ohsumi’s study, fasting activates autophagy.

When it’s activated, it can slow down the aging process and have a positive impact on cell renewal. If you’ve read the introduction to this series, we shared the history of fasting. It’s easy to see why cultures such as India and the Middle Eastern cultures benefited from this practice, whether they fast for religious or non-religious reasons. Today, thanks to science backed research, these cultures’ fasting practices and benefits uphold the reason this approach is worth considering.

Today, regardless of its history, its popularity has surged because of its array of health benefits we are about to share.

Related: Read the introduction to this series


A Question to Consider 

Before sharing more about IF-411 benefits, let me ask a simple question that you should keep in mind as you read these benefits. Here is the question: Have you ever experience lightness after a brief absence of eating? As you think about your answer, keep it in mind as we share how fasting can positively affect your health.

1. Fasting helps detoxify the body.

During fasting, our bodies do not access glucose (energy source under standard conditions) from different food sources. Instead, it forces the cells in the body to resort to other non-carbohydrate materials such as lactate, amino acids and fats to produce energy. Science defines this process as gluconeogenesis.

2. Fasting prevents obesity & associated diseases.

Another important mechanism that occurs during fasting is ketosis. This is when the body burns stored fat as its primary energy source. Hence, helping to maintain an ideal weight and balance blood sugar levels. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand how ketosis helps to reduce excess fat from the body.

3. Intermittent Fasting Fights inflammation

Studies have shown that fasting can promote better health by reducing inflammation levels in the body. Acute inflammation is one of the normal immune responses that helps the body fight against various types of infections. However, chronic inflammation can have detrimental health effects. For example, chronic inflammation can be a contributing factor in rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, and heart diseases.

Related: The inflammation Theory of Disease

4. It helps to prevent neurodegenerative diseases

Fasting can significantly boost brain functions by increasing neuron synthesis. Although such studies focused on animals, fasting could help people with neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, etc.

5. Increased levels of HGH

Studies have found fasting can elevate HGH (Human Growth Hormone) levels naturally. For example, one study showed that fasting for 24 hrs significantly increased HGH levels in healthy adults. HGH is a hormone that plays a vital role in growth, metabolism, weight loss, etc.

6. Can Lower Risk Of Heart Disease

Heart disease is one of the biggest negative health factors that can kill. Intermittent fasting has shown to decrease blood sugar levels, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and blood pressure. All markers responsible for the potential of heart disease.

It’s important to note that studies are ongoing, and animals have been the basis of studies done so far.

7. Improves Brain Health

We already mention how fasting can prevent neurodegenerative diseases. Here are other benefits related to the brain worth sharing. Fasting increases the growth of new nerve cells. It also increases the levels of a brain hormone known as BDNF (brain-derived neurotropic factor) link to depression and other brain issues.

8. Intermittent Fasting Can Help You Live Longer

Studies show intermittent fasting can extend lifespan. Studies done on rodents, mice and fruit flies show that extended caloric restriction can extend their lives. Although not validated on humans, intermittent fasting has become very popular amongst advocates of this method of eating.

The Key Point of IF-411 benefits

When we implement a calorie restrictive diet, or intermittent fasting, our bodies replenish and expel accumulated toxins. Instead of carrying out the fundamental body functions that happen during a typical digestive process, the body goes into autophagy (as mentioned above), and enacts other processes to remove toxins from our body.

Summary of IF-411 Benefits

This way of eating allows our bodies to take care of itself and helps us live an optimal life. One thing is clear, the human body is an amazing tool. It optimizes and functions effectively, provided we give it enough time to replenish and recharge. Focus on what you eat and when you eat and see the benefits that happen because of intermittent fasting.

Share your experience and thoughts in the comment section below, or in the IF411 Forum.

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