How Intermittent Fasting Can Affect Your Health
- 3 mins read
- Written by: Jillian Lai Mei Siew
What if we told you about a diet that allows you to have anything you want? You would think we’re joking, right! We’ve all grown up with the notion that diet is all about controlling your food intake, watching what you eat. We would like to tell you about this extraordinary diet that doesn’t limit what you eat, but when you eat it. Intermittent Fasting (IF) is an eating pattern wherein you cycle between periods of eating and fasting. It has been proven effective when it comes to weight loss. But what about our digestion process and liver health? Does it affect them in any way? It does. Let’s see how.
The clock starts now
As we have discussed, IF is time-dependent for which several methods exist.
- This includes the 16:8 method, where your daily eating window is 8 hours and a fast for 16 hours.
During your feeding window, you’re allowed to eat 2-3 meals. For example, if your feeding hour starts at 12 noon then you can eat 2-3 meals until 8 pm. After 8 pm your fasting hour starts which will last for 16 hrs until the next day at 12 pm noon. Don’t forget to stay hydrated during your fasting period.
- Another option is the 5:2 method, In this diet, you eat for 5 days a week and fast for 2 days eating 500-600 calories on those days. Fast days can be mid-week or on weekends as per your convenience.
These methods split up the day or week into eating and fasting periods. IF is also a part of many religions. It can help in weight loss and even prevent some diseases.
Just because there are no restrictions on what to eat doesn’t mean you have to fill your body with bad foods that are full of unsaturated fats and carbohydrates. Losing weight is a short-term goal, whereas having a healthy body should always be a priority for the long run. Your diet should include good stuff like superfoods for example Lean meat, leafy greens, whole grains, berries, nuts, and yogurt should form a part of your diet if you want your body to flourish. Including good fatty foods like avocado, olive oil, fatty fish won’t make you fat! they’re essential for the smooth functioning of your body and do wonders in your weight loss journey.
Livin’ it up
Our liver is the hub of most metabolic reactions. Recent studies have found that IF can affect some liver proteins, especially the HNF-alpha protein, which controls a few of these metabolic reactions. It is essentially reprogramming the liver proteins that perform an array of metabolic functions in the body. This knowledge suggests that IF may have a role in improving glucose tolerance and diabetes regulation.
Works on your guts
The composition of our gut microbiome undergoes fluctuations daily. Research suggests that IF can directly affect the composition of our microbiome. It can increase the number of good bacteria in the body and reduce intestinal inflammation. This can impact our overall digestive function and health.
The benefits of Intermittent Fasting
- IF has a huge impact on your hormones that makes your body shed those kilos
Insulin levels in the body drop, which causes the body to lose more weight.
IF leads to the body getting rid of its toxins and work on repairing its cellular structure.
The levels of human growth hormone (HGH) shoot up leading to weight loss and muscle gain.
The impact of all these hormones turns the body into a fat-burning machine.
- People on IF shows significantly reduced fasting blood sugar levels. This means IF can help keep diabetes away!
- IF has been shown to slow down the action of free radicals and thus protect cells, DNA, and proteins from damage. This keeps various diseases at bay.
- IF has been shown to improve numerous risk factors like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart conditions, and high cholesterol.
The big IF
IF has several benefits, backed by studies and scientific data. But the big question is, can you go on a fast? IF requires a lot of patience and self-control, which is probably why many of us would find it difficult to adopt. We believe it is just a matter of time that we get used to the regime. It would probably be a good idea to give IF a shot, mindful of the health gains.
- Intermittent Fasting: What is it, and how does it work? Available from: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/intermittent-fasting-what-is-it-and-how-does-it-work. Accessed on 22 June 2021.
- How intermittent fasting changes liver enzymes and helps prevent disease. Available from: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/03/200310164737.htm. Accessed on 22 June 2021.
- Karakan T. Intermittent fasting and gut microbiota. Turk J Gastroenterol. 2019;30(12):1008.
- Intermittent fasting: Pros and cons according to NUNM.Available from: https://nunm.edu/2019/02/intermittent-fasting/. Accessed on 22 June 2021.
- The liver and positive benefits of intermittent fasting. Available from: https://www.diabetes.co.uk/news/2020/mar/Positive-benefits-the-liver-and-intermittent-fasting.html. Accessed on 22 June 2021.