Fasting is an overlooked yet potentially very beneficial method of ‘resetting’ the body and kick-starting a healthy new regime, but few people are willing to give it a try. The apparent benefits of fasting have been studied extensively and include:
Supporting weight loss
Of course, eating in a specific window of time will naturally mean you eat less calories, unless you eat a lot more during your other meals! As well as a reduced calorie intake, fasting also appears to increase your metabolic rate, which means you will burn even more calories.
Reducing insulin resistance
Insulin resistance is caused by excess glucose aka sugar in the blood, making it more difficult for the pancreas to produce enough insulin to maintain safe blood sugar levels, meaning the body’s cannot use blood sugar for energy as efficiently. This is a major cause of type 2 diabetes. Intermittent fasting makes the blood sugar levels decrease, leading to a reduction of insulin, thus protecting against type 2 diabetes.
Supporting heart health
Heart disease is one of the biggest causes of death in both men and women under 65, so keeping your heart healthy is no joke. Heart disease is associated with a variety of risk factors, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and high inflammatory markers. Many studies have shown that intermittent fasting can help to lower these risk factors.
Assisting with cellular repair
Another interesting effect of fasting is that any damaged cells in the body get destroyed, or ‘eaten’ in a process called autophagy, whereby defective cells are devoured by healthy ones, recycling essential nutrients and allowing the body to make new healthy cells. This could have potential in protecting against diseases like Alzheimer’s and cancer, although many more studies are required to explore this potential.
Inflammation is a natural part of the body’s method of healing itself, but chronic inflammation occurs when the body is unable to heal and can cause long term health issues like arthritis and fibromyalgia, and has even been linked to cancer, Alzheimer’s, and heart disease. Studies have shown that intermittent fasting can reduce inflammation and thus decrease the risk of associated health complications.
Given the numerous benefits of fasting, it is surprising that it isn’t more popular. Perhaps because you don’t need any special products or tools to help you fast – so there is no reason for many companies to promote fasting. We do things a little differently here, so we are more than happy to offer our advice about fasting.
How to practice fasting
The most popular way to fast is to practice intermittent fasting, where you don’t eat food for 12-18 hours per day. As you are going to be asleep for 8 or so hours a day, this is actually not too unmanageable. Many people have their first meal at maybe 7 in the morning, and then have their last meal at 3pm and fast the rest of the time. Others choose to take their first meal at 12pm and then their last meal at 7pm – the great thing about fasting is that you can adapt it to work for you and your lifestyle. Some people find it easier to fast for a whole day at a time, a couple of times a week.
If you are thinking about fasting, make sure you consult with a doctor first. Fasting is not suitable for everyone, especially if you have any existing medical conditions.