Posted on Feb 28, 2019, 2 p.m.
Intermittent fasting has been shown to have powerful beneficial effects on the mind and body, so it is no shock that it is becoming increasingly popular in the health and fitness world.
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of eating and fasting, it doesn’t focus on what you are eating more so when you are eating, which is why it is not really a diet more so an eating pattern.
There is more than one way to fast, fasting methods can involve 12-24 hour fasting periods, daily, every other day, or several in a row before returning to a normal eating routine. Animal studies have shown the animals to live longer and healthier lives if their diets are restricted or if they are fasting; this mechanism is also conserved in humans with preclinical trials on fasting being positive, but clinical trials have been inconsistent.
Humans evolved being able to function without food for extended periods of time dating back to hunter-gatherer roots when our ancestors weren’t able to always find food. Fasting is also done during certain religious or spiritual reasons.
Fasting may trigger the body to remove and replace damaged and dysfunctional cells, remove cellular waste, lose weight, and reduce inflammation. Fasting has several different methods, all involve splitting the day/week into eating and fasting periods during which you eat very little or nothing at all, water permitted.
16/8 or Leangains Protocol involves skipping breakfast and restricting daily eating to an 8 hour time frame, such as eating from 1PM to 9PM and then fasting for the next 16 hours to start over the next day.
Eat/Stop/Eat involves fasting for 24 hours once or twice a week; for example finishing a meal at 3PM and not eating again until 3PM the next day.
5:2 involves intaking 5-600 calories on two non consecutive days of the week and eating normally for the other 5 days.
Periodic fasting involves fasting for an extended period of time and then returning to regular diet most commonly from 4 to 7 days, an example would be a water fast for 5 days then returning to a regular diet.
Time restricted feeding/fasting is based off of the theory that our ancestors likely fed during daylight with limited resources and fasted during the night controlled by the circadian system. Modern society has disrupted this system with long work hours, artificial light exposure, and poor eating and lifestyle behaviors. You can try to mimic the circadian pattern by restricting feeding to a certain time frame to gain back control of this system.
Dr. Joel Khan, holistic cardiologist, says “When we stop eating food, the body starts to utilize energy stores to fuel itself, and can pull from three different kinds of materials to create energy: protein (muscle mass); carbohydrates (glycogen storage); and lipid (fat mass). These materials provide energy for the body at different rates and through different pathways. The body has a small amount of glycogen to pull from, once depleted it moves over to proteins and lipids. However, it is more efficient to use lipids than protein as there is more energy in fat mass than in muscle mass.”
“The body will begin to burn fat once all of the carbohydrate has been depleted, for the most part. When burning fat the body is believed to be in the fasting state; this is around 48 hours after the last meal. The way the body burns fat is through molecules called ketone bodies. The role of periodic fasting and ketosis is a path that provides balance for benefit versus risk, as fat burning increases, ketone bodies appear in the blood and urine; however if left in “ketosis”, a form of starvation, the body will eventually become malnourished.”
“Fasting is a powerful tool for all cardiology practices, and may surpass traditional cardiovascular therapeutics as path to preventive health for both cardiologists and patients.”
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