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Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

26 Reasons to Try Intermittent Fasting (Fat Loss Is Just 1 Benefit!)

You've heard that intermittent fasting (IF) can help people lose weight, especially when diets failed them in the past, but there are so many more reasons to try IF than just fat loss! Here are the benefits of intermittent fasting from A to Z.

  • Autophagy: Dr. Luiza Petre, a weight-loss specialist and board-certified cardiologist, explains that "intermittent fasting aids autophagy, a cell-based self-cleaning function that tears down and recycles molecules that are damaged." Autophagy is low when insulin is increased, so when you're fasting and insulin levels drop, autophagy significantly increases.
  • Belly fat diminished: Dr. Daryl Gioffre, a celebrity nutritionist and longevity expert, says that "belly fat can be stubborn to lose because the abdominal area contains more alpha-2 receptors that slow down your ability to burn fat, compared with beta-2 receptors that increase your fat burning potential." IF is powerful because lower insulin levels "activate your b-2 receptors and shut down your a-2 receptors, allowing you to burn targeted fat in your belly area."
  • Cancer prevention: Autophagy repairs cellular damage, helping to prevent cancer cells from multiplying. IF also helps prevent obesity, a major risk factor in cancer.
  • Digestion improved and decreased bloating: Eating less helps prevent overeating, which improves your digestion. Stephanie Ferrari, a registered dietitian with Fresh Communications, adds, "You'll be drinking more water, which is often the unsung hero to many digestive issues." When you're eating less time during the day, you'll feel less bloated, and have less gas and discomfort. Stephanie notes that drinking "more water will help keep your digestion regular and will also keep the bloat away!"
  • Energy! It seems like not eating would make you tired, but fasting has the opposite effect. Digestion takes so much of your body's energy, so when it doesn't have to work hard on that front, you'll feel more peppy.
  • Flexibility: Since there are so many different methods of IF, you can find one that fits your lifestyle, schedule, and your goals.
  • Glowing skin: Since intermittent fasting helps recycle old cells, it can help improve the look and texture of your skin.
  • Human growth hormone increased: Higher levels of this hormone facilitate fat burning and muscle gain.
  • Insulin levels lowered: Dr. Jason Fung, MD, author of The Complete Guide to Fasting, explains that when we eat, insulin levels go up. Insulin stores sugar as glycogen in the liver, and also turns on fat production in the liver. You need to decrease insulin to cause weight loss, and that's just what fasting (not eating) does.
  • Joy: You'll have to experience this one for yourself, but there are so many reasons to feel happy when doing IF. You'll feel excited that you can eat what you want, that you're feeling more energetic, less bloated, and that you're finally losing weight when diets have failed you.
  • Kick cravings to the curb: Stephanie shared that intermittent fasting can help curb sugar cravings if you do it long enough. When you're eating less, you're bound to eat less sugar, and the less sugar you eat, the less you crave it.
  • Less hunger: Surprisingly, not eating as often reduces hunger. That's because production of ghrelin (the hunger hormone) decreases.
  • Mental focus and clarity: After the initial period of feeling lightheaded or dizzy, you'll experience increased laser-focus and attention. It makes sense — if you were a cavewoman and needed to find food, your brain would need to be alert to hunt.
  • No more weight fluctuations: Yo-yo dieting is no more when you're doing IF, because unlike calorie or food restriction diets, you're allowed to eat what you want so you never feel deprived. This means you're less likely to give up and go back to your old eating habits.
  • Obesity solution: Intermittent fasting is proven to help with weight loss, so if more people utilized it, there'd be a decrease in obesity.
  • Prevention of disease: Autophagy not only decreases your risk of cancer, but also decreases your risk of obesity, heart disease, and Alzheimer's.
  • Quicker metabolism: Dr. Gioffre says that when you fast for 16 hours, "your blood sugar and insulin levels lower," and the human growth hormone increases. This increases your metabolic rate ("by up to 14 percent in some people"), and when this happens, your body has no other choice but to start burning your body's stored fat for energy.
  • Reduced Inflammation: Fasting decreases inflammation through better hormone balance. IF also helps decrease the free radicals in the body, which reduces inflammation.
  • Sleep improved: With improved digestion, you'll sleep better without bloating, gas pains, or heartburn keeping you up.
  • Time: You'll spend less time planning, preparing, eating, and cleaning up after meals, which means more time to do other things that make you happy.
  • Ultra-boost for immunity: Fasting lowers white blood cell counts, which triggers stem-cell-based regeneration of new immune system cells, which not only boosts your immunity, but plays a role in longevity.
  • Very big meals: Forget eating six smalls meals and snacks a day. When you do intermittent fasting, you consume all your calories in a shorter window, so you can sit down to a huge meal and really feel satisfied afterward.
  • Weight Loss: When your body doesn't have a constant energy source from the food you eat, it allows your body to utilize the fat stores it already has, helping you decrease your overall body fat percentage. IF can also help you break through a weight-loss plateau.
  • eXercise improved: With the shedding of excess fat and increased energy, your athletic performance will improve.
  • Years added to your life: While it's not yet proven in humans, early studies in rats seem to link intermittent fasting with increased longevity. It makes sense when IF helps people lose weight and prevent disease.
  • Zero dieting ever again: Intermittent fasting allows you the freedom to eat what you want during your eating window, so you can say yes to all your favorite foods like chocolate, pizza, and wine. You'll never have to diet again, just change how many hours a day you eat.
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Cera Hensley
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