Millions of people around the world are vouching for the merits of intermittent fasting, one of the most common natural weight loss diets that have gained incredible popularity in recent year. While most of the time it is recommended for shedding any extra pounds, this regimen actually has a number of associated health benefits.
What started more as a social trend a few years ago, quickly become a phenomenon and is now among the methods endorsed by many proponents of healthy living. Intermittent fasting is basically an eating cycle where you give yourself a window of time when you can eat and you fast the rest of the day. One typical program is 16:8, so for example, you would eat between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. and then fast until the next morning.
While eating, insulin level rises and helps break down nutrients into energy. In the fasting state, insulin drops, signaling the body to burn the stored energy, also prompting cellular repair and human growth hormone release.
Many incredible stories have surfaced from people that have followed this sort of plan, with Canadian single mom Janielle Wright, one of them. She managed to lose 86 pound in eight months, without the help of gastric bypass, pills or rigorous exercise. In her own words, she went from “couch potato” to an active and healthy lifestyle just by changing her meal patterns.
Mark Mattson, a neuroscience professor at Johns Hopkins University and supporter of intermittent fasting, suggests that the diet promotes mental health by reducing stress and might even help postpone neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s.
Other studies claim it can have positive effects on diabetes or cardiovascular diseases, and even cancer. While most of the clinical trials have a small base of participants, overall results seem very promising and point towards genuine health improvements.
If you decide to try it out, reach out to your doctor or nutrition specialist to create the best plan designed for your needs.