Updated: Jan 16, 2020
What are the benefits and concerns with intermittent fasting? #intermittentfasting #autophagy #weightloss #autoimmunedisease
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. It doesn’t specify which foods you should eat but rather in which time frame you should eat them. Common intermittent fasting methods involve daily 16-hour fasts or fasting for 24 hours, twice per week.
During the fasting periods, you eat either very little or nothing at all. These are the most popular methods:
The 16/8 method: Also called the Leangains protocol, it involves skipping breakfast and restricting your daily eating period to 8 hours, such as 1–9 p.m. Then you fast for 16 hours in between.
Eat-Stop-Eat: This involves fasting for 24 hours, once or twice a week, for example by not eating from dinner one day until dinner the next day.
The 5:2 diet: With this method you consume only 500–600 calories on two non-consecutive days of the week, but eat normally the other 5 days.
Intermittent fasting has huge benefits. It can help with:
Gastrointestinal issues – especially Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).
It can be extremely helpful with glucose regulation issues, although people who are taking medication for type 1 or type 2 diabetes should be cautious as going without food will naturally lower glucose levels so anyone taking glucose-lowering medication must monitor their blood sugar to make sure it doesn’t get too low. This won’t happen with anyone who is not taking medication, but it must be monitored with anyone who does take these medications.
Human Growth Hormone (HGH): The levels of growth hormone increase as much as 5 times. This has benefits for fat loss and muscle gain, for instance, but also boosts longevity.
Insulin sensitivity improves and levels of insulin drop dramatically. Lower insulin levels make stored body fat more accessible.
Cellular repair: When fasted, your cells initiate cellular repair processes. This includes autophagy, where cells digest and remove old and dysfunctional proteins that build up inside cells. You could understand this as the auto-repair mode of your body. So if you are fighting an illness, auto-immune disease or other inflammation, this is highly beneficial as your body will repair the damage once entered in autophagy.
Gene expression: There are changes in the function of genes related to longevity and protection against disease
Over time, intermittent fasting improves glucose regulation. It’s also proven to lower total cholesterol and triglycerides. Fasting causes the body to burn stored fat for energy so it’s a great strategy for weight loss.
Lastly, there are several proponents who claim that fasting can boost brain health, slow the aging process, and may even play a role in cancer prevention.
If you are fasting, please make sure you:
consume adequate (sea) salt and electrolytes
don’t overeat when the fast is over. It is not an excuse to binge or eat unhealthy foods during non-fasting periods.
I think that intermittent fasting is an excellent strategy for many people. And for women it's even easier to do this as their liver storage is smaller than men's. This means that 12-13 hours of fasting can already be sufficient for women. Exercising in the morning before breakfast will further support autophagy.
If you have questions or remarks about this, please don't hesitate to get in touch.
You can also read this article on science daily that backs up the information l shared.