Intermittent Fasting: Just the latest weight loss fad or science proven results?
Intermittent fasting has become one of the most talked about weight-loss trends in the health community. Of course, the only question anyone is interested in is does it work? First, let’s start with what it is. According to Dr.Axe, intermittent fasting is the idea that you want to eat typically “between a four hour to a maximum eight-hour window”. The purpose of which is to reduce the number of hours in a day that a person is eating. This will lead to fewer meals being eaten and therefore fewer calories being consumed. Consuming fewer calories per day will undoubtedly lead to weight loss but there are many more benefits of intermittent fasting that people may not be aware of.
Dr. Axe lists the specific benefits of the intermittent fasting regime as the promotion of Human Growth Hormone and balancing of Cortisol, Insulin, Progesterone, Estrogen, Ghrelin, and triglycerides. The production of Human Growth Hormone is perhaps the most significant advantage of intermittent fasting. This is because HGH has been linked to aging, in that there has been a correlation between aging in men and women and low levels of HGH. Additionally, it is suggested that “working out on an empty stomach in the morning can boost your HGH by up to 1000%”. Another benefit is the balance of insulin levels when this hormone is not balanced it can lead to further imbalances in progesterone and estrogen levels that “can cause infertility in women”. Finally, intermittent fasting lowers triglycerides that are responsible for “clogged arteries leading to heart attack or stroke”.
Intermittent fasting is not a new concept as it has been practiced by many cultures throughout history. As Dr. Axe mentions, there is a reference to it in the Bible, throughout Islamic religion and even in Chinese history. Weight loss is the highest priority of any diet, but Dr. Berg suggests that it is not a diet rather a schedule change. He suggests that intermittent fasting is about a steady reduction of the hours in a day a person is eating a meal. He also acknowledges the benefits of intermittent fasting promoting HGH that can not only help a person lose weight but aid in muscle growth as well. Both of the aforementioned doctors also acknowledge the benefit of combining intermittent fasting with a ketogenic diet. This means that the meals being consumed are high in vegetable, protein, and other healthy fats, specifically avoiding carbs. This will increase the rate of weight loss and will improve upon the hormones affected by intermittent fasting.
Although there is significant backing and benefits for the idea of intermittent fasting and certainly everyone is capable by attempting the practice, one should always prioritize their own health above everything. For example, during pregnancy, a woman should trust the messages their own body is sending them as they are caring for more than themselves. Additionally, individuals with diabetes have to maintain a strict diet because of this condition. It is still possible for these individuals to receive the benefits of intermittent fasting but it is highly recommended they work with a licensed practitioner to avoid complications as a result.