|This is good for
• Cellular health
• Boosting immunity
• Improved insulin sensitivity
• Improved appetite control
• Burning fat
• Sustainable weight loss
|This is not good for
• Athletic performance
• Strength gains
• Building muscle
• Eating disorders
• Pregnant women
• HPA axis dysregulation
What is intermittent fasting?
Time-restricted eating, often referred to as intermittent fasting, involves alternating periods of eating and not eating. There are several ways to practice intermittent fasting, including alternating one full day eating and one full day not eating or simply decreasing the feeding window on any number of days per week. Fasting for 12–16 hours is the most common practice. Most people choose to begin the fasting period at night, allowing them to sleep for several hours during this time. Time-restricted eating feels difficult at first but is perfectly natural. We are biologically adapted to this rhythm. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors would often go for extended periods on restricted calories.
What does intermittent fasting do?
Intermittent fasting stimulates your body’s anti-aging and repair process. Temporarily restricting calories initiates cellular autophagy—or “self-eating.” During autophagy, the body cleans house and starts regenerating itself by eliminating dysfunctional cells to make room for new, healthy ones. This natural process removes viruses, bacteria, and damaged material from cells. Think of this recycling of cellular material similar to how we recycle glass, plastic, and metal.
How to do intermittent fasting
- Start with a 14–16 hour fast one to three times a week. This means all food is consumed within an 8–10 hour window—for example, 10 am to 8 pm or 12 pm to 8 pm each day.
• Women tend to do better with slightly shorter fasts when compared with men.
- Consume only water, tea, or black coffee during fasting periods. A small amount of ghee or coconut oil in a hot beverage is permitted during fasting periods if desired.
- If you experience positive results, slowly progress to a 16–hour fast every day of the week.
- You can add a 24-hour fast once per month to supercharge cellular renewal. This is a more advanced strategy and should only be done by those who already have experience with fasting.
- It’s also essential to monitor sleep, energy levels, and cognitive function. If any of these start to decline, it may be time to reduce how often you fast.
- Fast on non-training or light training days. Nutrients are necessary to drive exercise, build muscles, and support recovery. If you exercise on a fasting day, be sure to perform the activity during the feeding window.
Benefits of intermittent fasting
Improved Body Composition
Fasting for periods of 12-hours or more has been shown to enhance your body’s fat-burning capability. Fasting also increases the secretion of the muscle-building growth hormone.
Energy levels and mental focus increase while fasting due to a rise in the hormone adrenaline. Humans have likely evolved this primitive mechanism to give the body a boost to hunt when food is scarce.
Autophagy is a repair process in which cells cleanse and repair themselves by removing old and damaged proteins and replacing them with new ones. This process is associated with anti-aging, longevity, and disease prevention.
Ghrelin, known as the “hunger hormone,” signals to the brain that we need to eat. Conversely, Leptin is the hormone responsible for telling the brain that we are full and satiated. Balancing these hormones is the key to healthy appetite regulation. Long-term intermittent fasting improves leptin sensitivity—which reduces hunger drive and cravings.
Fasting can improve blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and insulin sensitivity.
Fasting signals the body to remove viruses, bacteria, and damaged material from cells. It also increases microbial diversity and fermentation rates in the gut.
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