WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF INTERMITTENT FASTING?
Over the years more and more research has appeared and has shown the amazing benefits Intermittent Fasting can provide and it’s not just for fat loss. Here’s just a few…
Better relationship with food
Remember when you were first told you need to lose weight and the best way to do that was to “stoke” your metabolism and eat 6 small meals a day? Imagine the stress that caused having to constantly worry about food, prepping a bunch of meals ahead of time and weighing all of your food out so you know how much you’re eating. When you constantly think about your next meal this can lead to you feeling distracted, obsessing and even worse thinking “screw this” and just binging on whatever is around. With Intermittent Fasting, no longer do you have to become obsessed with eating every few hours and you will quickly forget about food. You don’t need to be thinking about your next meal and instead, you can just focus on the rest of your life like working, socialising and binging netflix.
No more late night snacking
It’s 9 pm and you’re just about to sit down to watch a few episodes of Netflix. As you’re watching your favourite show you get a little hungry and decide to open a bag of potato chips and just have “a few”. 30 minutes later you’ve gone through two bags, a bottle of coke and maybe some ice cream. This leads you to feel guilty and frustrated about not seeing results because you just ruined a week of hard work. With Intermittent Fasting you can forget about those binges at happen at night since you’ve now got a cutoff point you’re less likely to overeat because you just abstain from food. I myself have a major sweet tooth which means I stop eating at 6 pm at night. This way I don’t have any temptations when I’m watching Netflix or doing something else that usually mindless snacking.
You’re not as hungry
Because you have a shorter time frame to consume all of your food for the day, this means you aren’t going to be getting as much food cravings, and this also means that you’re less likely to overeat. When I was younger and a chubby kid, I loveed to eat. I actually used to love to eat so much food until I was stuffed, and what I realised is when I was trying to diet and lose weight, I kept overeating because I was like, “Fuck. I just want to be full. I want to have that satiation feeling”, and I couldn’t do that while following traditional diets and eating a few small meals a day.
Now that I can eat in a shorter window and feel full after I eat a meal, it causes me to not overeat food. So if you’re someone who has this type of struggle and you have a big appetite or you want that feeling of being full and satiated after a meal, then having that smaller timeframe period to be able to do that is going to be so much more beneficial for you because it’s going to stop you from overeating.
Metabolically flexible (youburn carbs and fats)
This is one of the most important aspects because it allows you to become a fat burner and a carb burner which is great for your body to adapt and use both fuel sources. Let’s think about this logically first. Back in our ancestral days, we didn’t have access to a fridge or a bowl of oats as soon as we woke up.
We had to hunt and kill our food or go foraging for it. We could go days and weeks before we got food again, which meant the times we did get food we would eat a lot because we never knew when our next meal would be.Evolution got clever and when we didn’t eat for long periods of time we learnt to tap into our bodies stored fuel sources (fats and carbs), which would give us energy in times when we couldn’t eat.
Metabolic flexibility means that your body’s ability to use carbs as a fuel source and use fats as a fuel source, which is really, really cool because that means that you become more efficient with exercise, burning fat and building muscle. When you need carbs during high-intensity training, the body’s going to be able to access them, but when I’m sitting on my ass writing this or when I’m doing low-intensity cardio or when the body needs to, it will swap over to fat and start using fat as a fuel source, and being able to have that metabolic flexibility is going to be really, really beneficial for overall body composition and energy levels too. This will help prevent insulin resistance, energy dips and possibly even food cravings.
Mental clarity/ Boosting Productivity
When you don’t have to focus on eating food and your body doesn’t have to digest it and you have more blood flow going to your brain and That means you have better mental focus because your body doesn’t have to be working as hard. It’s also a good way to help you stay in the zone since usually you’re focused for a short amount of time before a food break and then you can easily get distracted. This is also a good time to bring up that feeling of drowsiness after you have a big lunch and find it hard to focus and would rather sleep. You can completely eliminate that since you’re going to be running of pure coffee and burning fat when fasting.
Increased Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF)
We have these cells in our brains known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor. When you’re fasting that means you’re actually becoming smarted because your brain is making more of these cells. One thing I’ve actually noticed is that my head actually gets bigger the longer I fast for. People will start to comment how much smarter I look and I even notice myself solving problems better. Actually, I’m joking, I don’t get a bigger head (although that would be cool though) but in all seriousness, you actually do increase your brain cells. You do increase brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which is a big benefit, and this happens usually after about the 24-hour mark, so between 24 to 48 hours and longer, you get an upregulation in BDNF.
In short, studies have shown intermittent fasting increases BDNF and the number of neurons in your brain. Obviously, this is a good thing. Increased BDNF may boost intelligence, mood, productivity, and memory along with decreased risks of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Fasting has been shown to accelerate autophagy. According to this study, short-term food restriction induces a dramatic upregulation of autophagy. What autophagy is, autophagy means self-eating, so what that actually happens is bad cells in your body are actually getting destroyed. All of those bad cells that are building up can
Fat cells, bad muscle cells, all these things actually get recycled and eaten with autophagy. That happens when you’re Fasting for longer than 16 hours. Now the longer periods of fasting is when this is going to give the best effect, and this is only going to happen if you aren’t having your EAAS, if you aren’t having any milk in your coffee, if you’re strictly sticking to green tea, to black tea, to black coffee and not having any calories at all because once you even have just a little bit of calories, your body then has to start metabolising that and will stop autophagy.
If you want the full benefits of autophagy because you really want to dive into it, then you need to make sure that you’re not having any calories during your fasting period. Apart from that, if you’re just happy with the fat loss benefits, then you can have a little bit of milk in your coffee, some sweeteners, all of those types of things.
I could keep harping on about more benefits but you get the point, it’s a great tool for a lot of great reasons and I urge you to try it!