Believe it or not, over evolutionary time, fasting has played a big role in human development. Food wasn’t always readily available and humans were forced to go extended periods of time without eating. Fast forward thousands of years later, humans have easy access to all kinds of foods, it’s oftentimes hard to resist constantly eating (so much so that overweight and obesity rates are higher than ever). So now a days, people are looking for all different ways to lose weight and enhance their health. According to research conducted over the past decade or so, fasting has proven to be beneficial in a variety of ways, from weight loss to boosting metabolism. It turns out – it’s not always about what you eat, but more about when you’re eating.
How exactly does intermittent fasting work? The most common form of fasting (and typically the easiest) works by picking a specific time frame during the day to eat, and not consuming anything outside of that window. Most experts recommend fasting for 16 hours and eating for 8, but you can always start with a 12 or 14 hour fast and make your way up to 16. Another method includes restricting your caloric intake to <500 two days per week, as this will provide all the same benefits such as weight loss, lowered risk of chronic disease, improvement in lipids, and reductions in inflammatory markers (3).
When it comes to aging, fasting has some extraordinary effects. Fasting enhances cellular renewal by triggering stem cell-based regeneration and autophagy, a cellular “clean up” of damaged cells (1). It also has been shown to improve biomarkers of disease, reduce oxidative stress, and preserve learning and memory functioning (2). If you’re worried about slowing down as you age, you might want to consider intermittent fasting as a steadfast anti-aging technique. Furthermore, researchers hypothesize that during the fasting period, cells are under mild stress and they respond to stress adaptively by enhancing their ability to cope with stress and to potentially resist disease(2). As mentioned earlier, intermittent fasting is a great way to lose weight, enhance your overall health, and is generally considered to be safe, both physically and mentally(3). However, it’s recommended that you work with a professional. If you are type 1 diabetic and insulin dependent, or on medications for hypertension or another serious medical condition fasting is not recommended.
How to do It:
We always recommend working with a professional or consulting your primary care physician before trying anything new. Stop by our shop today to talk to our nutritionist about fasting, and your weight loss journey!
1. Antunes F, Erustes AG, Costa AJ, et al. Autophagy and intermittent fasting: the connection for cancer therapy? Clinics (Sao Paulo). 2018;73(suppl 1): e814s. Published 2018 Dec 10. doi:10.6061/clinics/2018/e814s
2. Collier R. Intermittent fasting: the science of going without. CMAJ. 2013;185(9): E363–E364. doi:10.1503/cmaj.109-4451
3. Patterson RE, Laughlin GA, LaCroix AZ, et al. Intermittent Fasting and Human Metabolic Health. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2015;115(8):1203–1212. doi:10.1016/j.jand.2015.02.018
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