You may have heard about it. You may have even tried fasting. You might even be the one who’s tried fasting and who’s been so successful at it and you are now a huge proponent of it. But did you know that researchers are busy studying whether is a good thing or just a fad, and are fast concluding that fasting benefits you in more ways than one?
For example, one small study shows that the oxidative stress of fasting may have a positive effect on your body, from producing antioxidant compounds in response to the stress, to protecting your body from aging and enhancing mitochondrial activity.
According to Inverse, identifying all the benefits of fasting is still in its infancy, but one thing researchers are sure of so far is that “fasting really changes the body” and that science has so much more to learn.
This is excellent news, as the “fad” of fasting is big right now, and it’s always a good thing to find out something you support has science behind it. But there are so many fasting programs out there – how do you know which one is THE one for you?
If you haven’t tried intermittent fasting, now would be a good time to start, as this fasting program doesn’t call for going a day or two or more with no food at all.
Rather, with intermittent fasting, you limit your fasting time to 16 to 18 hours a day, and eating all of your meals within the remaining six to eight hours. To make this schedule work, you need to skip either breakfast or dinner.
With intermittent fasting, if you choose to eat dinner, be sure to do so at least three hours before bedtime, to avoid the creation of excessive amounts of damaging free radicals. Avoiding late-night eating is a simple way to protect your mitochondrial function and prevent cellular damage from occurring.
There are also other intermittent fasting plans where you dramatically cut back on your calories for a certain number of days each week, while eating normally during the remainder. The 5-to-2 intermittent fasting plan is one such example.
Whichever type of fasting you choose, recent research suggests the effects of intermittent fasting are bolstered by combining it with a pulsed ketogenic diet. The ketogenic diet provides many of the same health benefits associated with fasting and intermittent fasting, and when done together, most people will experience significant improvements in their health.
This includes not just weight loss, which is more of an inescapable side effect of the metabolic improvements that occur, but other benefits such as:
- Improved insulin sensitivity
- Increased muscle mass
- Reduced inflammation
- Reduced risk of cancer and Alzheimer’s
- Increased longevity
As with fasting, the cyclical pulsing of nutrients will optimize your benefits when on a ketogenic diet. Most people believe continuous keto is the key to success, but mounting evidence suggests this is not the case.
The bottom line is more and more people are now starting to recognize the health benefits of fasting and, indeed, while many worry that fasting will lead to a deterioration of mental processing and physical functioning, the converse is actually true.