Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. Human fasting is not a new concept by any means. It has been done for thousands of years for different reasons, such as spiritual and healing purposes. Let’s look at the Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting.

Intermittent fasting is not any different but merely a rebrand of something that people have been doing.

For example, did you know that your body enters a state of fasting every time you’re asleep? In other words, your body is perfectly equipped to handle some durations without food.

 This diet style is well famed because it is easy to do. Most women love this eating pattern for weight loss because it gives instant results. There are different types of intermittent fasting people can choose according to their convenience.

Additionally, intermittent fasting does not cause any harm to you. It provides health benefits such as weight loss, lowering blood sugar levels, reducing blood pressure, improving mental health, preventing heart diseases, etc.

Many studies show that intermittent fasting can be of health benefits to the body.

See How To Balance Cortisol Levels Naturally? and How To Boost Your Immune System?

All the diets focus on ingredients, but intermittent fasting focuses on at what time you are taking your meals.

In intermittent fasting, you only eat during a specific time period. For example, you keep fasting for a certain number of hours, or just eating one meal a couple of days a week can help your body in burning fat.

Johns Hopkins says that our bodies are able to go without food for many hours or even days or longer.

In older times, people used to harvest and work harder to stay hungry for more extended periods of time, and 50 years ago, it was even easier to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Johns Hopkins dietitian Christie Willian explains: “There are no computers and TV shows turned off at 11 pm, people stopped eating because they went to bed. Diet portions were smaller. People used to work outside and in general, getting more exercise.

Nowadays, internet and TV entertainments are available 24/7. We stay awake for longer times to watch our favorite shows, chat online and play games. We are sitting and snacking all day long and most of the night “.

And these extra calories and less activity mean a high risk of type-2 Diabetes Mellitus, cardiovascular diseases, and many other severe disorders.

Intermittent fasting is the healthiest kind of diet that has a significant number of health benefits. Intermittent fasting is suitable for all people. It’s an eating pattern that helps to improve overall health.

Here are some health benefits of intermittent fasting, such as

intermittent fasting infographics in red, burgundy and black on a white background

1. It may reduce insulin resistance and lower your risk of type 2 diabetes

Insulin is a hormone that carries glucose into the cells. Insulin resistance occurs when your cells are less receptive to insulin, leading to an accumulation of glucose in the blood.

Over time, this may increase your risk of type 2 diabetes, among other issues.

Intermittent fasting has been shown to improve insulin resistance and reduce blood glucose levels. Additionally, it may reduce fasting blood sugar in people with prediabetes.

 The blood level of insulin drops with intermittent fasting, which causes the breakdown of fat.

According to studies, intermittent fasting for 8-12 weeks has reduced blood sugar levels by 3-6%. In addition, fasting insulin has been reduced by 20-31%.

Another study on mice with high blood sugar showed that intermittent fasting protected them from diabetic retinopathy and increased their survival rate too. Diabetic retinopathy causes serious complications like permanent blindness.

Moreover, intermittent fasting reduces the risk of getting type 2 diabetes. It protects the person from getting type 2 diabetes at an early age

2. It can help you lose weight

Intermittent fasting is the easiest way to lose weight and most people that get on board, do it for this particular reason!

One review found that intermittent fasting can cause up to 3-8 percent weight loss in 3-24weeks. The review further revealed that the participants also lost 4-7percent of their belly fat, a risk factor for different chronic conditions.

In general, intermittent fasting translates to fewer meals meaning, less calorie intake. It also prompts the body to burn stored energy in the form of fat, causing weight loss.

Additionally, intermittent fasting improves hormonal functions associated with weight gain. For example, it suppresses insulin, a fat-storing hormone, and increases anti-aging and growth hormones which are primary fat-burning hormones.

Low insulin levels, high HGH levels, and increased amounts of noradrenaline will increase the breakdown of body fat and facilitate energy usage. In addition, short-time fasting increases metabolic rate, thus helping you in burning even more calories.

Moreover, intermittent fasting enhances noradrenalin production, which promotes the breakdown of fat and its use as fuel. This improves the metabolic rate and encourages the burning of calories.

3. It may improve heart health

Intermittent fasting improves insulin resistance, which often progresses to obesity, prediabetes, and type diabetes. Diabetes is often associated with damage to the arteries, causing hardening and increasing the risk for atherosclerosis. If not treated, atherosclerosis can cause high blood pressure, further increasing the risk for heart attack and stroke.

Intermittent fasting may also lower harmful cholesterol levels and decrease triglycerides.

Heart diseases are common in people. Especially older adults are more affected by heart diseases. According to a recent report, about 18.6 million people died due to heart diseases in 2019. Intermittent fasting is good for heart patients.

4. Reduces inflammation and oxidative stress

Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress are major causes of chronic conditions.

Studies show that intermittent fasting may help fight inflammation and enhance the body’s resistance to oxidative stress.

Animal studies show that intermittent fasting and calorie reduction helps in reducing Inflammation. Intermittent fasting also aids in reducing oxidative stress in the body. Oxidative stress promotes many health complications; especially, it causes various chronic diseases.

The Authors of the study published in Nutrition Research wanted to know if this link is true for humans as well. This study showed that 50 participants were fasting for Ramadan, the Muslim holiday, which involves fasting from sunrise to sunset and eating overnight. In addition, this study showed that levels of inflammatory mark Reduced Blood Pressure.

5. It induces cellular repair

Intermittent fasting stimulates the removal of cellular waste, a process known as autophagy.

Autophagy removes toxic proteins associated with neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease from the cell.

Autophagy also promotes healthy aging, fights inflammation, boosts energy levels, and improves heart health.

6. It stimulates the production of human growth hormone

The human growth hormone or HCG is essential for the growth, maintenance, and repair of tissues. It also enhances muscle growth, boosts metabolism, and burns fat.

HCG is naturally produced in the body; however, it only remains active for a few minutes. Thus, stimulating its production will help you enjoy the benefits longer.

By adopting intermittent fasting, the level of human growth hormones increases. The high level of human growth promotes the gain of muscle and burns fat.

7. Improved memory

Intermittent fasting may help retain long-term memory and promote neurogenesis. This may help improve cognitive decline associated with old age.

 Brain health is important and intermittent fasting is beneficial for brain growth. For example, a recent study on mice showed that intermittent fasting helps in the growth of new nerve cells, which give benefits to the brain.

Additionally, intermittent fasting increases the production of brain hormones which are known as brain-derived neurotrophic factors. The deficiency of brain-derived neurotrophic factor hormone causes depression and other brain issues. So intermittent fasting raises the level of brain hormone and reduces the risk of brain illness.

Moreover, intermittent fasting aid in preventing brain cells damage due to stroke, etc. experts suggest that depression patients do intermittent fasting because it helps to get rid of depression and other mental issues.

8. Prevent cancer

Cancer means uncontrolled cell growth and a significant number of people. According to a survey, about 18.1 million people are suffering from different types of cancer. This survey also showed that about 8.8 million women are cancer patients, and 9.3 million men have cancer. But intermittent fasting can reduce the chances of cancer by altering the metabolism.

Studies have shown that intermittent fasting can reduce the chances of cancer. An animal study concluded that intermittent fasting reduces the chance of getting cancer. The study on humans also showed the same results.

Another Research has also shown that fasting can help in reducing the side effects of cancer treatment like chemotherapy.

9. Gene expressions

Fasting is also beneficial for the expression of genes. The positive changes occur in genes that protect the body from different diseases.

10. Reduced Blood Pressure

Intermittent fasting helps a lot in maintaining blood pressure. Research published in June 2018 in Nutrition and Healthy Aging showed that 16:8 reduced systolic blood pressure among the 23 participants.

A study published in October 2019 in the European Journal of Nutrition found that intermittent fasting reduced blood pressure more than the diets which didn’t involve any eating times.

11. Better Outcomes for Stroke Survivors

Having a low cholesterol level and low blood pressure levels helps in preventing some serious diseases like stroke. An article published in Experimental and Translational Stroke Medicine proved that intermittent fasting also provides a protective mechanism for our brain cells. Eating in this way helps in warding off pre-stroke injury.

12. Help to reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer

Alzheimer’s is a common mental illness that has no permanent cure. Only a few things can help you to lower the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

A study on a rat with Alzheimer’s disease proved that intermittent fasting aids in reducing the severity of Alzheimer’s disease.

Additionally, the study of different case reports showed that short-term fasting improves the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Moreover, intermittent fasting reduces the risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease.

13. Extend life span

Different studies proved that intermittent fasting might extend the life span. For example, a rodent study showed that intermittent fasting extends life span like a calorie restriction diet.

Additionally, one other study on rats showed that a group of rats who did fasting lived 83 percent longer.

Scientists are doing more research about the effect of intermittent fasting on humans’ longer life span.


How to do Intermittent Fasting

There are many different methods of intermittent fasting:

  1. The 16/8 way – It includes fasting for 16 hours every day then restricting your eating to the next 8 hours
  2. The 5:2 method – Here you eat as usual for 5 days a week then restrict your calorie intake to 500-600 for the remaining 2 days of the week
  3. Eat stop eat – This involves fasting for 24 hours, once or twice a week
  4. Alternate day fasting – Here, you fast every other day
  5. Spontaneous meal skipping –In this method, you can skip meals from time to time, such as when you don’t feel hungry

With all these methods, one may get confused, but at the same time, there is no hard and fast rule on the correct way of doing it. This makes intermittent fasting flexible for anyone to try. It’s really about mastering what works best for you.

The only principle is to focus on what the body needs – a healthy and nutrient-dense diet.

A healthy meal not only nourishes the body but also reduces cravings and keeps you satisfied longer.

If you’re looking to start intermittent fasting, the number one recommendation is to view your journey as a transition.

Your hormonal regulation and cellular adaptations to a new routine and diet might take time. Allow yourself to gradually and naturally adapt to the new routine.

You can begin by first cutting off all your snacks but maintaining your three meals.

A typical diet for most people looks something similar to this;

 Breakfast – Snack – Lunch – Snack – Dinner – Snack

To ensure you don’t crave back your snacks, incorporate healthy fats such as coconut oil, olive oil, and avocado oil, protein, and non-starchy vegetables into your meals.

Fats bring a feeling of early satiety, keeping you full for longer, while vegetables are high in minerals and vitamins needed for a strong immune system.

Vegetables are also rich in dietary fiber that increases stomach bulk, keeping you full for a long time.

Once you’re okay without snacks, cut down your meals to two and space them as close as possible. You may begin at 8 hours apart, then reduce to 6 and eventually 4 hours. This will allow enough time (20hrs) for you to fast.

The best way to achieve this is by gradually pushing your breakfast forward. For a start, you may choose to go with 10 am, then later push to 11 am, and eventually, your first meal will be around 1 pm.

My most significant and most effective rule in intermittent fasting is to eat just when hungry and to minimize carbs as much as possible.

Mistakes People Make When on Intermittent Fasting

1. Omitting fat

Healthy fats such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are essential for proper body functions. For instance, your body, especially the brain, needs fat in the form of cholesterol to function. Your nervous system is all insulated by fat. What’s even more, for the body to absorb vitamin D, you need cholesterol.  So, fat is such an essential component of your diet.

Fats can help you lose weight and keep you full and satisfied until your next meal, and omitting them will create room for cravings. According to a study in 2016, excess protein consumption as a replacement for carbs showed a significant weight gain compared to its substitution for fat.

2. Going too fast

Intermittent fasting is all about adaptations since your hormones need time to regulate their functions.

So, starting from an extreme point of intermittent fasting will only leave you crushed. This is why most people may end up with symptoms like dizziness, colds, headaches, etc. Start slow and advance your fasting as per your body’s response.

3. Breaking a fast with a high carbohydrate diet, sugar, and processed foods

Intermittent fasting is not a magic pill, and a poor diet will only make it worse.

When fasting, your digestive system is on resting mode, and you don’t want anything that will be overwhelming.

Besides, high carbohydrates especially processed ones, can only increase your blood glucose, trigger insulin levels, cause inflammation, and increase your risk of developing problems.

4. Exercising too much

When intermittent fasting, your body is running under stored energy most of the time. For this reason, engaging in intense exercises requires a lot of energy, which the body cannot provide at the moment. This puts more stress on the body causing an increase in cortisol levels and insulin, which will then cause you to store fat.

However, there are few things you can do to keep your body active such as walking, taking the stairs, performing some chores, etc.

Bottom Line

Having gone through this post, you probably know you’ve been fasting in ways you didn’t even know, and that’s the motivation you need to push forward.

When done correctly, intermittent fasting can help you improve your health and promote wellbeing.

Start slowly and allow your body to graduate through the process.

If seeking to lose weight, intermittent fasting doesn’t mean less food. So, make sure to eat healthily and up to satisfaction during your eating window. Also, remember to drink adequate amounts of water throughout your fasting window.

Other Related Topics

  1. Health Benefits Of Autophagy
  2. 18:6 Intermittent Fasting
  3. How To Reverse Adrenal Fatigue?
  4. What Makes You Gain Weight?
  5. How To Boost Metabolism Naturally?
  6. Low-Calorie Foods That Fill You Up.

If you enjoyed this post on Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting and would love to see more, join me on YoutubeInstagramFacebook & Twitter!

Get discounted copies of my cookbook here.

Fortunately, because of the Ads on our website, readers and subscribers of Healthier Steps are sponsoring many underprivileged families.