There are a few things in fitness and in life that seem to pop up all too often. One of the first things that come to mind is lower-back health. In everyday life, it can stop us in our tracks. From long days to sitting at a desk to hours upon hours of manual labor, the lumbar spine can start to feel not as resilient and at times, painful. In the gym and during various […]
The term intermittent fasting (IF) can throw people off guard at times. When they hear the word “fasting”, they think that it will be some starvation diet. If you have read my previous blogs on IF, you should know that IF is just a way of eating, not a starvation diet.
Before you say that IF is not right for you, please give it a try for 2-weeks, and I mean an honest effort, and then decide if it is right for you. If you need a little more convincing, take a look at all of the amazing benefits that IF can provide.
The AMAZING Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is the easiest way to restrict calories
At the end of the day, you can not consume more calories than you can expend, or else you will end up gaining some bodyfat (but keep in mind not all calories are created equal). If you limit the window of consuming calories, you have a better chance that you will not consume too many calories in a day.
Intermittent fasting gives you more appetite control
Hunger isn’t driven by physical needs as much as cognitive factors. Oftentimes you’ll find yourself eating when you think you’re hungry, but it’s not when your body really needs food. In fact, your body has a tremendous capacity to store food and energy and work efficiently, and we can negatively affect that process by stuffing ourselves with food when it’s not needed or wanted. There is no benefit to frequent eating. You are actually training your body to be more hungry, by increasing the hunger hormone, ghrelin. Eating frequently does not increase the metabolism, like we once thought it did.
Intermittent fasting makes you more productive
One study found that healthy young adults who ate as little as 300 calories over a two day period experienced no decrease in brain tests and cognitive performance (including vigilance, choice reaction time, learning, memory and reasoning), activity, sleep and mood. Other research has found that long-term calorie restriction can improve memory in older populations.
This could possibly be due to the fact that you are managing your insulin levels much better. If you remember a time when you ate a bunch of carbs in the morning or at lunch and crashed and burned later, you may be able to relate. Fasting can actually help increase energy production, not hurt it.
Intermittent fasting reduces your glucose/sugar levels
When trying to lose weight and burn fat, lowering your blood sugar is important to avoid pre-diabetes, diabetes, insulin resistance and most importantly becoming overweight. The norm in the fitness industry is that by eating 5 to 6 frequent meals a day you would regulate blood sugar levels. This has been proven to do the exact opposite. By fasting you could decrease your sugar input by anywhere from 15-30%. This improves your ability to burn fat and improve your insulin sensitivity.
I can remember when I would diet for a bodybuilding show and would be crashing about 2 hours after my last meal. I couldn’t wait to eat my next round of chicken, sweet potatoes and broccoli. I know now that I was messing with my insulin way too much.
Intermittent fasting increases fat oxidation
Fat oxidization refers to your body’s ability to use stored fast to produce energy. A process that normally happens during exercise. When using IF you are increasing your body’s ability to use your stored fat as energy. This means that when you are burning calories, more of those calories will come directly from fat, instead of your stored glycogen.
Intermittent fasting will help eliminate waste from the body and lower inflammation
Short term fasting actually helps you eliminate waste in your body and can speed up the healing process by lowering your inflammation levels. Metabolic inflammation is the inappropriate activation of your immune system, which can disrupt many of your body’s systems and can have severe effects on weight retention and weight gain. And this is important because nearly half of Americans have metabolic inflammation without even knowing it.
You body basically needs a break from all of the food you are putting into it. By fasting, you don’t put all of your hormones, enzymes and organs under constant stress. Think of this as working out for an hour, 6 times each day. At some point your body just couldn’t handle the constant stress anymore.
Intermittent fasting helps unleash the power of growth hormone
This is the biggest benefit that you will give yourself when adopting an IF lifestyle. You increase your ability to stimulate your fat burning hormones in an optimal level. Growth hormone (GH) is the “king” of hormones, when it comes to fat loss.
Let’s define what GH is. Growth hormone is a protein-based hormone that is produced by the pituitary gland. It stimulates growth of cell reproduction and regeneration in humans and animals. GH is research-proven to be the best fat burning, anti-aging and muscle building hormone your body produces. Growth hormone incinerates your fat and denies fat cells from ever forming. Growth hormone helps you build muscle and helps make you look younger.
Intermittent fasting helps you never feel hungry again
The hormone Ghrelin is another very important piece of the fat loss equation. As we all have experienced, hunger is one of the hardest parts about eating correctly. Many people also experience irritability and mood swings if they don’t eat. Ghrelin also affects these feelings. Every time Ghrelin is secreted in your body it creates a hunger response. The more times you delay your hunger response you train your body to handle the hunger inducing the effects of Ghrelin.
Increased production of Ghrelin also means you increase more growth hormone in your body as well. The more you are able to delay your hunger response and incorporate periods of short term fasting into your lifestyle, the more growth hormone and Ghrelin we’ll have pumping in our bodies.
Are You Still Convinced That 6-Meals Per Day is Best?
If not, you need to check out this article debunking the 6-meal per day myth!
Here is another article on Mark’s Daily Apple that explains many of the great health benefits of intermittent fasting. He includes tons of research, too.
Thats a Wrap
I could go on and on about the many benefits of IF, or reducing the frequency of your food intake, for that matter. Still keep in mind that IF may not be for everyone. Take it one step at a time and see how you feel. I am hopeful you will experience a new way of eating.
To Less Hunger,