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Intermittent fasting: Benefits, how it works, and is it right for you?

Intermittent fasting is a growing trend in the world. It's the practice of either eating less than one's daily calorie requirements or the restriction of eating certain meals to the point where your body starts to metabolize its stored fats to generate energy. It refers to refraining from consuming food for extended periods ranging from 8 to 12 hours. There are many different approaches with different intended results; weight loss being perhaps the most common, with others including mental clarity and improved immunity.

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But why do we do it? Why not just eat less? Or better yet, why not just exercise more? The first reason one might practice intermittent fasting is due to health reasons such as diabetes or high cholesterol. In these cases, there could be a serious medical reason for calorie restriction synonymous with weight loss. Intermittent fasting isn't any magic bullet against these types of diseases, but it may alleviate some symptoms. The second reason one might practice intermittent fasting is for its inherent benefits, which may align with a person’s body goals. It could be to be able to fit within a particular weight for sporting purposes or looking aesthetic in a toned body.

The purpose of the diet is simply weight loss, primarily achieved through calorie restriction.


The third reason someone might practice intermittent fasting, which applies in most demographics, is to improve one’s health. Many people who follow this approach engage in intermittent fasting, not necessarily for weight loss purposes, but rather to have more potential latent energy and a better mental clarity in their daily lives. The positive effects emanating from eating a better diet and less processed food complements any benefits from weight loss.


Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Weight loss: When you restrict calorie intake, insulin triggers body cells to use glucose as an energy source, providing fuel for all its activities. This process helps your body to burn fat properly. In the long last, one loses weight as the body utilizes the body fats to generate energy.

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Adipose tissue mass reduction: Insulin is also responsible for depositing fat into cells in your body. When there is a high level of insulin, the cells store fatty acids in your adipose tissue, causing it to become larger. When the insulin levels go down, these fat deposits are released from the cells, and they are broken down by the body.


Healthy weight loss and fat loss: If you want to lose weight, you will need to burn extra calories every day. The body burns most of its stored fat during aerobic exercises. When you do not eat food for a particular period, your body begins to break down its glycogen stores and fat deposits. Intermittent fasting helps you burn fat faster than normal because there is a block in the storage process of fatty acids in adipose tissue, and fat burning is accelerated during exercise.


Muscle gain and lean muscle mass increase: Fasting increases the level of human growth hormone in the blood. As a result, it stimulates proteins from fat cells to be broken down and used as fuel. The cells in your body also become resistant to insulin. This makes them use up more fat as fuel. Once starvation is over, the muscles become stronger because they have been stretched through extensive muscle building and development when exercise is stopped.

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Reduced risk of cancer and diabetes: Fasting reduces the level of IGF-1 in the blood, which is a growth factor that increases your risk of developing cancer and diabetes. IGF-1 is secreted from the liver and spleen. It can also be produced by white blood cells throughout the body. High levels of IGF-1 cause cancer and diabetes to develop in later stages of life. Intermittent fasting reduces your levels of this growth factor, which helps reduce your risk of developing cancer and diabetes in adulthood.


Intermittent fasting is right for you because it helps you lose weight and live longer. When you fast, you put your body into an overnight-style low-calorie state for 24 hours which helps induce autophagy, or cells self-eating to regenerate and rebuild better. This process helps fight everything from cancer to diabetes to chronic inflammations and prevents diseases like Alzheimer’s from taking hold. Intermittent fasting also raises human growth hormone (HGH) levels which helps with lean muscle gains and fat loss.

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Intermittent fasting puts your body into a “non-dieting” mode which helps you to burn fat and keep it off without having to count calories, carbs, or any of the basics that typically predisposes people to obesity. There is no specification for foods to consume or avoid. The approach enhances the metabolism process allowing the body to self-regulate. Apart from losing weight, you also get to repress the hunger sensations and regulate one’s appetite. The eating pattern trains your mind to control urges eliminating the need to consume foods when not hungry.


Intermittent fasting is not fit for everyone. Children, pregnant mothers, individuals with diabetes, and people taking medications should not adopt the routine unless under medical guidance. This group requires calories to sustain their health. Calorie deficits may aggravate the harm or illness. Nevertheless, this eating pattern is the best for people desiring to achieve overall wellbeing. Although the beginning may be difficult due to mild headaches and fatigue, persistence is critical to attaining the benefits. In the end, one gets to improve their lifestyle and succeed in their endeavors to maintain fitness. Intermittent fasting is the best approach to boosting your body’s capacity to enhance good health.

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