Over the last few years it seems that the words “intermittent fasting” or IF, has been the topic of discussion over vase publications and website. Many celebrities as well as popular health and wellness advocates have hopped on board with this new trend. So, I ask is this trend the new key to health or just a BS claim that should be counted as a fad. First off, intermittent fasting is almost exactly what it sounds like. It generally consists of going without food or any calorie intake for a period of time, then eating normally. The most popular type is “Time Restrictive Eating” (TRE), — 16:8 — consists of getting all of your calories for the day in an eight-hour window (say, from 1p.m. to 9 p.m.), then fasting for 16 hours overnight. There are also some variations to this way of eating, which I will touch on later on in this piece. has helped many loose inches from their waist and even helped diminish some aches and pains.
This isn’t exactly a new trend, our ancestors adapted similar practices in order for survival during periods of food scarcity and availability. In today’s world humans face a new set of challenges with increased amounts of food abundance and accessibility. More and more people are over eating and abusing food like it’s a drug than ever before and it is literally killing them. There has also been an increase of food portion size over the years which leads to overall over consumption. Now, what if there was a way to tap into our ancestors roots for a solution that would reduce our waist line, slow down aging, and even give us increased energy, is that something that you think you would be interested in?
I personally have had great success with intermittent fasting, specifically the TRE and have experienced all of it benefits. If you are like me, than you want to know the how things work behind the scenes so here you go.
Intermittent Fasting Micro Overview:
- Activation of more efficient respiratory pathways which leads to improved mitochondrial efficiency and reduction of production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which is a free oxygen or better known as a free radical.
- Activation of autophagy of intracellular debris thereby eliminating dysfunctional proteins. (basically cleaning up all the garbage from the cell)
- Anti-inflammatory effects by limiting and inhibiting nuclear factor-kB.1
As this practice has been gaining popularity there is more research being done so that one can really understand IF as a whole and its benefits. It has been documented that IF has been shown to affect us on a metabolic level as well. Some of these effects were as follows:
- Reducing levels of blood glucose and insulin
- Improve insulin sensitivity, increase fat oxidation and beneficial changes in body composition.
- Improved cellular utilization of ketones and fatty acids and beneficial changes in lipid profiles.2
IF is a blanket term and really just a 10,000 foot view of intricacies of fasting. There is a variety of ways one can apply IF into their lifestyle. The seven widely used IF techniques are as follows:
- Time Restricted Feeding or TRF: This is when meals are consumed within a 6-8 hour eating window and at least a 16 hours of fasting happens each day.
- Alternate Day Fasting or ADF: This is when a person fasts every other day and consumes a habitual diet on non-fasting days.
- Modified Alternate Fasting or mADF: Very limited caloric intake (500-600) on fasting days and habitual eating on feeding days.
- 5:2 Protocol: Restricted caloric intake (500-600) 2 consecutive or nonconsecutive days per week with generally unrestricted intake on the other 5 days that week.
- Prolonged Fasting: No caloric intake (food or drink) for > 72 hours.
- Short-term Fasting: No caloric intake ( food or drink) for < 72 hours.
- Fasting mimicking diet: or FMD: This is a commercial diet that consists of plant-based, low-protein, reduced caloric meal plan for 3 cycles of 5 days per month.
As researchers put more time and effort learning about these practices the longer the studies will be done in order to show the benefits. The first long-term human energy restriction trial administered was the Comprehensive Assessment of Long-term Effects of Reducing Intake Energy (CALERIE) trial, which found that a 12% reduction in caloric intake for up to 2 years reduced the risk for age-related disease such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke. 3,4
Fasting may give your body numerous benefits as losing weight and reduce the risk of catching serious diseases such as cardiovascular disease or cancer, it helps to improve your health and simplify the daily routine by making the daily diet handy.
For those who want to start practicing fasting and have preexisting determine disease, it's recommended to visit your doctor. The IF is not risky for the ones who use this method as part of their lives, there is nothing wrong with giving some space between meals if, and just if there is a balanced and healthy diet.