Intermittent fasting (IF) limits your time of eating each day. This should result in fewer meals if you are eating only when you are hungry during that window. By reducing the number of calories you consume, intermittent fasting offers a very effective strategy to drop body fat.
A review conducted in 2014 found IF to result in 3-8% weight loss over 3-24 weeks. It was found that subjects lost 4-7% of their waist circumference. This indicated an overall improvement in health due to the health risks associated with high levels of abdominal fat.
One of the downsides of fat loss is the associated drop in muscle mass due to the restriction of calories. It has been found that intermittent fasting for weight loss, actually maintains more muscle mass than the traditional calorie-restricted weight loss diets that most bodybuilders use (4).
All things considered, intermittent fasting can be an incredibly powerful weight loss tool.
2. Intermittent Fasting Changes Your Hormones, Cells and Genes
When you go without food for periods of time the following physiological processes and changes occur.
Insulin:Insulin levels significantly decrease, allowing your body to burn fat much easier.
Genetics:Studies are now showing fasting to have incredible anti-aging and anti-cancer benefits through its ability to manipulate gene expression.
Cellular repair:When you fast, your body undergoes a type of cellular cleaning in the brain. New cells are formed to replace older cells.
3. Intermittent Fasting May Help Prevent Cancer
Although the research is in its infancy and human studies are still required, there are a large number of significant findings to show that fasting may prevent cancer in animals. Despite being limited research into the implications of fasting within human populations, there are some exciting studies showing a significant reduction in side effects of chemotherapy within human cancer patients.
4. Intermittent Fasting reduces inflammation.
Inflammation, in the form of oxidative stress, is one of the leading causes of DNA damage. This can lead to chronic disease and rapid aging. Research shows us that IF strengthens the body’s resistance to inflammation and oxidative stress, in addition to fighting oxidative stress in chronic pre-existing conditions.
5. Intermittent fasting may help you live longer.
IF can expand the lifespan of animals. One study showed that the rats who fasted every second day lived 83% longer than the rats who didn’t (3). Although these studies have not been replicated in human populations, Intermittent Fasting has countless other positive health benefits. This suggests that increased lifespan correlated to Intermittent Fasting could be expected in humans also.
How does intermittent fasting work?
There are two common methods of Intermittent fasting:
16 & 8 method: During your 24 hour day you fast for 16 hours, and only eat during an 8-hour window. The most common eating window is 12pm-8pm (skip breakfast).
Eat stop eat method: This is simply a full day (24 hours) fast each week.
Our intermittent fasting formula
When first starting we suggest drinking black coffee until your body gets used to the new fasting regime. This will help you feel energised, while also suppressing your hunger.
During your 8-hour window of eating we suggest keeping your meals to 2-3, don’t just eat because you are allowed to, try to listen to your body and eat when you are hungry. Calories still count!!
Ensure you are getting highly nutritious food when you break your fast. If you break your fast with unhealthy food, your body will not respond very well and you will find yourself feeling sluggish and tired for a few hours. We suggest health fats and proteins, this will energise you for the rest of the day while keeping your blood sugar level stable.
If you are doing weight training in the morning and not breaking your fast until after lunchtime, you can sip on our BCAAs to feed your muscles and start the recovery process without affecting the fasting process too much.
Intermittent fasting is nothing new, but it has gained popularity in recent years along with the ketogenic diet. Benefits of intermittent fasting include higher cognitive function and memory improvement, muscle growth, and reduced risk of chronic diseases.
Anna Timms (BSc) is a university qualified scientist and VPA staff member. Her favourite VPA product is Sour Worms Protein Water.
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