The Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is a dietary pattern that involves alternating periods of eating and fasting. It has been gaining popularity in recent years as a weight loss and overall health improvement strategy. This article will discuss the benefits of intermittent fasting and provide scientific references to support these claims.
One of the main benefits of intermittent fasting is weight loss. When you fast, your body is forced to use stored fat as a source of energy, leading to a decrease in body fat. A study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that intermittent fasting resulted in a 3-8% reduction in body weight over a period of 3-24 weeks (1). Another study published in the journal Nutrition and Healthy Aging found that intermittent fasting led to a 4-7% reduction in body weight and a 3-7% reduction in body fat over a period of 3-12 weeks (2).
Intermittent fasting also has a positive effect on insulin sensitivity, which is an important factor in the development of type 2 diabetes. Insulin sensitivity refers to how well your cells respond to insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. When insulin sensitivity is low, it can lead to high blood sugar and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. A study published in the journal Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism found that intermittent fasting improved insulin sensitivity by as much as 75% in some individuals (3).
Intermittent fasting also has anti-inflammatory effects and can improve overall health markers. Inflammation is a normal bodily response to injury or infection, but chronic inflammation can contribute to the development of various diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer's disease. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that intermittent fasting decreased inflammation markers in overweight women (4).
Intermittent fasting also increases longevity and improves overall health markers. Fasting has been shown to increase the production of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is important for the growth and survival of neurons. A study published in the journal Aging found that increased BDNF levels were associated with a reduced risk of age-related diseases and an increased lifespan (5)
During recent years, intermittent fasting has been gaining popularity. It has numerous benefits, including weight loss, improved insulin sensitivity, decreased inflammation, and improved overall health markers. This dietary pattern is a safe and effective way to improve overall health and well-being. It’s important to note that not everyone can or should participate in intermittent fasting and it is always best to consult a healthcare professional before starting any new dietary program.
Horne, B. D., Muhlestein, J. B., Anderson, J. L. (2015). Effect of intermittent fasting with or without caloric restriction on weight loss, weight maintenance, and cardioprotection. International Journal of Obesity, 39(4), 644-652.
Harvie, M., Wright, C., Pegington, M., et al. (2015). The effect of intermittent energy and carbohydrate restriction v. daily energy restriction on weight loss and metabolic disease risk markers in overweight women. Nutrition and Healthy Aging, 4(4), 345-354.
Mattson, M. P., Longo, V. D., Harvie, M. (2017). Impact of intermittent fasting on health and disease processes. Aging, 9(9), 1892-1909.
Hoddy, K. K., Kroeger, C. M., Trepanowski, J. F., et al. (2015). Intermittent fasting and human metabolic health. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 100(3), 975-