Intermittent Fasting (IF) is the latest diet and fitness trend that’s been around for hundreds, if not thousands of years.
What’s so fascinating about this ancient practice is that, in addition to weight loss, IF provides numerous benefits that can also improve your health and life as a whole.
Here are 8 reasons why Intermittent Fasting should be your next diet approach. You just might find it’s more of a lifestyle than anything else.
IF Improves Fat Burning
Did you know that the ketogenic diet originated in the 1920s because of fasting? That’s because long-term fasting has the ability to put your body into the metabolic state known as ketosis. When you’re in this state, your body is preferentially burning fat and ketones, (a byproduct of fat metabolism), which makes fat loss easy.
But what’s so awesome is that you don’t need to radically change your diet to fit with keto. Intermittent fasting has the ability to put you into ketosis and preferentially burn fat.
When you restrict food, your body turns towards liver glycogen (stored sugar) to maintain blood sugar levels, but eventually this runs out. When that happens, the body switches towards tapping into body fat stores to generate ketones for energy.
Mostly, by practicing IF, you shift the body towards using fat and ketones. When combined with calorie restriction, this can lead to significant body fat reduction.
IF Helps Retain Muscle
One of the lesser-known benefits of intermittent fasting is that most people report it helps retain muscle. Fortunately, most research on this topic corroborates these findings.
Typically when you restrict calories, the body needs to reduce mass to accommodate the reduction and that can mean muscle loss. Fortunately though, periods of fasting increase ketone production, which are byproducts of fat metabolism. Research shows that when you fast, the body uses these ketone molecules for energy instead of burning off muscle mass.
This is one of the more paradoxical benefits of fasting but most research and personal experiences indicate that IF does not cause muscle loss to any significant degree.
IF Helps Reduce Hunger
Again, one of the more interesting benefits of fasting is that it helps reduce your hunger.
Most people think that eating many small meals is great for metabolism and hunger, but really all that does is stimulate the release of hunger hormones more often, making you feel hungrier throughout the day.
As I go into in great detail in my Intermittent Fasting Bible, ghrelin, the major hunger hormone is secreted from cells in the gut. But these cells are unique because they secrete hormones according to a normal schedule. For instance, if you eat lunch every day at noon, you can expect to get hungry just before your scheduled eating time.
Since you’re regularly eating at this time, these cells become trained and act according to this schedule.
When you fast though, you’re not eating food. That means after a few weeks, the cells that secrete ghrelin become acclimated to this new schedule. If there’s no food being regularly eaten, then there’s no reason for these cells to release ghrelin.
Mostly, be regularly fasting, you change how hunger cells secrete hormones, which means you have greater control over when you feel hungry and thus also over your food intake.
IF Is Convenient
A lot of diets make you eat according to the diet’s schedule, rather than your own. That’s where IF is different. IF allows you to eat more so when you’re hungry and when you’re able, rather than defining exactly when you eat.
Up until recently, most people believed that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. As a result, many people scramble to consume even junk food in the morning because they are scared of what breakfast skipping will do to their energy levels and physique.
How people have responded to intermittent fasting protocols shows us this could not be further from the truth. People aren’t falling apart and gaining body fat just because they skip breakfast. By realizing this, IF has become the most convenient diet in existence.
Now, you’re no longer tied to the specific schedule of a diet. Rather, you can focus on eating when you’re hungry or when you have the time. This allows for greater command over the diet, ensuring that you’re successful.
IF Makes Calorie Restriction A Breeze
By now, you know that calories are the biggest factor in your success. No matter if you fast or eat clean, you’re finding success by restricting calories. Fortunately, IF makes this process extremely easy.
When using IF, you’re restricting the amount of time that you have each day to consume food. Normally, you don’t think about how your first meal might make you eat less during the second, but this becomes very apparent when using IF.
What most people find is that restricting the time available to eat means that you’ll have a hard time making up for those lost calories, once you get to your “eating window”. The reduction of time means that digestion of other meals may reduce your hunger, making it more difficult to eat enough food.
For weight loss, this is very advantageous since hunger is one of the major reasons why diets fail. With IF, you’re almost never hungry, which makes calorie restriction pretty simple.
IF Allows For More Food Flexibility
When you’re eating all day, paying attention to the types of foods you’re eating and calories per serving is much more important. When you use IF, the flexibility of which foods you can eat is much greater.
As I mentioned in the last section, the shortened time availability for eating makes calorie restriction pretty easy. This means that compensating for the calories you lost during the fasting period is a bit difficult.
For example, let’s say a normal eating routine, you’ll eat 4-6 meals per day. When you fast, the time you have to eat is reduced, which means you’ll probably only eat 1-3 full sized meals.
That means each of those meals will allow for a higher calorie intake, which means you can eat more types of food that you might not eat otherwise.
This isn’t to say that you can just eat what you want while practicing IF. Know that total calories still matters. However, with IF, you’ll have more leniencies per meal, opening up food options.
IF Promotes Autophagy
Autophagy is a process where enzymes consume and destroy damaged cellular components. This is a process that occurs all the time, but during fasting, this process is elevated.
The process of autophagy is extremely important. If autophagy doesn’t happen, damaged cellular components can lead to inflammation and even disease, such as cancer.
Fasting puts your body into a catabolic state, meaning that they body is attempting to remove unneeded parts of the body and as a result, this leads to a higher rate of autophagy. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen as optimally when you consume food constantly. Food signals growth in the body, which means autophagy, diminishes.
This is a major health benefit that may be improved through the use of intermittent fasting.
IF Can Help You Target Stubborn Fat
One of the cool things about fasting is that extended periods without food increase circulating hormones known as catecholamines.
Catecholamines like epinephrine and norepinephrine stimulate the sympathetic nervous system to increase metabolism and energy expenditure. What’s also fascinating is that these hormones also attach to receptors located on stubborn fat. When attached, these hormones let fatty acids out of fat cells into the blood for metabolism.
While most calorically restrictive diets also do this, extended fasting makes this happen rapidly and predictably.
Learn Exactly How & Why You Should Use Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is an ancient practice that can’t be properly described in one short article. I recommend you consider looking into my Intermittent Fasting Bible.
In it, you’ll find an amazing resource discussing the science behind the effectiveness of IF and you’ll even get some sample meal plans to understand how best to use IF for your own routine.
So, what are you waiting for? Grab your copy of the Intermittent Fasting Bible today to take back control of your diet and life as a whole.