Doing intermittent fasting is super simple—eat less often, but eat well.
Intermittent fasting comes with a HUGE number of benefits including reducing belly fat, reducing the chance of developing a myriad of diseases all while improving your energy levels.
Intermittent fasting doesn’t mean eating less food, it’s simply eating less frequently.
It’s not a diet, it’s simply changing your pattern of eating and not eating.
Check out the benefits below, then feel free to try our 7-day intermittent fasting plan for weight loss.
1. Cell Function and Hormone Changes
When you fast or don’t eat for some time, a number of different things can happen in your body.
One of these things is that your brain sends a message to your body to initiate an inner-body MOT.
This includes starting some all-important cellular repair processes and changes to your body’s hormone levels to ensure that the stored fat is more accessible to tap into for fuel (Mattson and Wan, 2005).
Some important changes that will occur within your body during fasting include a significant drop in insulin levels.
This drop also helps with the fat burning process.
It’s also possible that your levels of growth hormone may increase, which again will help with the fat burning process and muscle gain.
Cellular repair also occurs, and this helps remove any waste material and toxins from your cells; therefore improving your overall health.
2. Belly Fat Loss
Losing weight is one of the main reasons why people do intermittent fasting.
In short, IF does make you eat fewer meals, so unless you make up for this by eating even more during your other meals, you’ll ultimately consume fewer calories than you normally would if you were eating three meals spread throughout the day.
IF also improves your hormone function, which also helps with your weight loss efforts.
This together with the lower insulin levels and higher growth hormone levels result in the breakdown of body fat, allowing you to use it for energy.
What’s more, long-term fasting also boosts your metabolic rate, sometimes by up to 14%, leading you to burn even more calories.
Recent research that’s been carried out augments the effect IF has on weight loss, and it’s believed that a person can lose between 3 and 8% of their body fat between a 3 and 24-week period.
This is why, if done properly and you don’t have any underlying health problems that could be making it difficult for you to lose weight, IF can be an extremely powerful tool for fat loss (Mattson and Wan, 2005).
3. Reduced Insulin Resistance and Type 2 Diabetes
The number of cases of type-2 diabetes continues to increase.
For me, this is a particularly important benefit of IF, and is very close to home. The main feature of type-2 diabetes is high blood sugar levels, mostly in the form or insulin resistance.
In theory, what helps lower insulin resistance should also help reduce your blood sugar levels between 3-5%, and therefore help you protect yourself against type-2 diabetes.
IF is also believed to help protect your kidneys from damage, which is one of the more serious complications of diabetes (Mattson and Wan, 2005).
The above info, therefore, suggests that IF can work wonders when it comes to protecting people that are more at risk of developing type-2 diabetes.
4. Reduction of Oxidative Stress and Inflammation
Oxidative stress causes premature aging and can be the cause of a number of chronic diseases.
The free radicals brought on by the oxidative stress react with other important molecules that we need to live a healthy life, which includes protein and DNA.
A few studies that have been carried out suggest that IF can improve your body’s resistance to oxidative stress.
The same studies have been found IF to fight against inflammation, which is another key cause of a number of common diseases.
So not only will you improve your overall health and lessen your chances at developing serious chronic diseases later on down the line, but you’ll also be glowing on the outside as well because it’s the free radicals that are responsible for wrinkles and premature aging.
5. Better Heart Health
At present, heart disease is the world’s biggest killer when it comes to disease.
IF has been found to improve many different risk factors that lead to heart disease, such as bettering blood pressure levels, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar levels to name a few (Mattson and Wan, 2005).
6. Improved Cellular Repair Processes
When you fast, your body’s cells start a cellular “trash removal” process known as autophagy.
This process involves your cells breaking down and metabolizing any proteins that have built up and become broken or dysfunctional in your cells over time.
An increase in autophagy also protects against a few different diseases, such as certain types of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
7. Cancer Prevention
This is a pretty big call, but there is also some research that suggests that IF may be able to help prevent certain types of cancers.
After heart disease, cancer is the second biggest killer. Characterized by the uncontrolled growth of cells, cancer is a horrendous disease that affects millions of people and families each year.
There is some evidence to suggest that fasting has positive effects on the body’s metabolism that may, in some cases, reduce the risk of cancer.
Also, when done in tandem with conventional cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, fasting has been found to slow down the progression of skin and breast cancer through increasing the levels of lymphocytes, which are basically cells that your immune system sends out to attack any tumors in the body (Di Biase et al,. 2016).
8. Enhanced Brain Health
Another thing to note is what’s great for your body is usually great for your brain as well.
So it’s no surprise that IF improves a number of different metabolic features that are key for your general brain health.
Firstly, it’s already been mentioned, but fasting reduces oxidative stress and inflammation, which can destroy or kill cells.
But fasting really is an amazing thing, especially when you think about the fact that it can encourage the growth of new nerve cells that bolster brain function.
It also boosts your levels of an important brain hormone, which is called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (which I know is a bit of a mouthful, so let’s go by its acronym BDNF).
When people have been found to have a deficiency in BDNF, there are often connections to depression and a few other brain-related problems.
Some research suggests that it even helps prevent brain damage in stroke victims, however, this research continues.
9. Helps Prevent Alzheimer’s
I’ve seen a few people suffer from Alzheimer’s, including two of my grandparents and my wife’s mom.
I wish I knew then what I know now about the benefits of this way of life.
This heart-breaking disease is the world’s number one neurodegenerative disease.
With no cure, the key at present is only prevention. For some people that have a history of
Alzheimer’s in the family or are showing early signs of the disease, intermittent fasting may slow down the onset of the disease or reduce the severity of its side effects.
Also, the fact that IF helps to reduce both obesity and the risk of developing type-2 diabetes is also a huge factor, as both of these conditions have been linked to Alzheimer’s (Mattson and Wan, 2005).
Other brain-related studies even go as far as suggesting that fasting can help protect against other similar diseases like Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s.
10. Longer Life Expectancy
Who doesn’t want to live forever?
Or at least maintain their youthful spring in their step as they age for as long as possible?
I for one don’t want to be hobbling around with a walking stick; I have visions of myself being the king of the dance floor in the retirement home.
Intermittent fasting does improve your life expectancy in a very similar way as a continuous calorie-restricted diet does.
11. Eases Depression
While it doesn’t cure depression, fasting can help ease its symptoms.
Recent research has uncovered that those people suffering from depression reported an improved mood, better mental alertness, and more of a sense of peace when intermittent fasting (Fond et al., 2013).
Obviously, intermittent fasting has a wide number of evidence-based benefits.
We’ve put together everything you’ll need to get started today to lose weight, improve your health, memory, cognition—and much more.
Try our 7-day intermittent fasting meal plan and guide here.