Intermittent fasting has become a popular choice in the last few years.
If you’re trying to lose weight, you’ll probably wonder why this weight loss technique is any different from others.
Intermittent fasting isn’t so much a diet as it is an eating pattern. It focuses on when you can eat rather than what you can eat.
The most popular ways of intermittent fasting are:
- The 16/8 method – Where you only eat during the same 8 hours of a day and fast for the remaining 16. Some people choose to miss out on breakfast and only eat between 12 pm and 8 pm.
- The 5:2 method – Where you eat a balanced diet as usual for 5 days of the week but cut down your calorie intake to about 500 kcals on 2 separate fasting days (for instance Monday and Thursday).
As well as helping with weight loss, intermittent fasting offers a huge range of less well-known benefits, such as helping to keep your heart healthy and lower your insulin resistance.
Take a look and see how intermittent fasting can help you not only lose weight but live a healthier life.
Intermittent fasting helps with weight loss
The biggest benefit of intermittent fasting has to do with weight loss, which is great news if you want to include it as part of your eating routine.
Intermittent fasting consists of only eating during a specific time period and fasting for the rest. This encourages your body to use fats instead of carbohydrates for energy.
This means that you’ll be burning more body fat than with other diets because intermittent fasting changes the way your body metabolizes the food you eat.
As long as you eat a balanced diet when you are allowed to eat, you’ll end up cutting down your overall calorie intake, shedding any extra pounds quickly and sustainably.
If you decide to try intermittent fasting, it’s important that you don’t overeat to make up for missing meals.
This might be hard at first, but once you get used to it, intermittent fasting can actually make you feel less hungry and keep you fuller for longer.
Intermittent fasting is simple and effective
Another great thing about intermittent fasting is how simple it is.
With traditional diets, you have to watch how many calories you’re eating.
It can be exhausting planning your meals or avoiding certain foods if you don’t know exactly how many calories they have.
With intermittent fasting, the only thing you have to do is keep track of time.
Knowing that you can only eat at certain times or on certain days can make your life so much easier.
All you have to do is make sure you’re eating healthy meals during your eating window.
We recommend plenty of fruit and veg, whole grains, and lean protein.
And unless you go overboard when you’re allowed to eat, it’s very likely that you’ll be cutting out enough calories to lose some weight.
Intermittent fasting reduces insulin resistance
Note: if you do have diabetes or any other underlying health conditions, it’s really important that you talk to your doctor before starting any new diet, especially fasting.
High insulin levels and insulin resistance are two of the main features of type 2 diabetes, and a warning sign for people without diabetes.
Turns out, intermittent fasting can be a powerful tool for keeping your insulin resistance and levels in check.
After starting intermittent fasting, the levels of insulin in your blood drop, and your sensitivity to insulin increases.
This is beneficial because the more sensitive your body is to insulin, the better you can control your blood sugar levels, one of the key risks in developing type 2 diabetes.
Not only that but lowering your insulin levels can make it easier for you to lose weight.
Insulin encourages your body to make new fat cells, and too much insulin can even tell your body to stop breaking down fat.
By lowering your insulin levels you can stop energy from getting stored as excess fat and stop unwanted weight gain.
High insulin levels don’t just increase your risk of diabetes and weight gain, but can also contribute to other health conditions such as heart disease and inflammation.
Keep your heart healthy with intermittent fasting
Lowering your insulin levels isn’t just good for your weight and blood sugar, it can help protect your heart as well.
Insulin can cause your body to leave fatty deposits in your arteries, which can lead to strokes and heart failure.
Intermittent fasting helps your heart in other ways too, it can lower your blood pressure, bring cholesterol levels down, as well as reduce inflammation.
All of these things put you at risk of heart disease, intermittent fasting can help get these risk factors under control and keep your heart healthy while shedding some pounds too.
Boost your brain with intermittent fasting
What’s good for the body is usually good for the brain, and that’s no different when it comes to intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting reduces your insulin resistance, blood sugar, and inflammation, all of which are pretty damaging to your brain.
So as well as helping you slim down, intermittent fasting can help your brain stay healthy.
One study showed that after dieting for a few months older adults had improved their verbal memory by 20%.
There’s also strong evidence that sticking to intermittent fasting, especially in middle age, could help to prevent or delay brain disorders, like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Intermittent fasting helps keep your cells healthy
Intermittent fasting can kickstart a detox process in your cells.
The scientific term is ‘autophagy’, it’s a sort of protective housekeeping that your body does to clean your cells out.
Autophagy gets rid of damaged cell parts and broken protein (as well as bacteria and viruses) which your body then recycles into “building blocks” and uses to repair itself.
Controlling and encouraging autophagy helps protect our bodies against a wide range of diseases, from infections to brain disorders and even cancer.
Regular autophagy is also linked to living a longer life.
Intermittent fasting is one of the most powerful ways to get your body to practice autophagy, which encourages a cellular spring clean to fight disease and keep you healthier and stronger.
Gut health improves with fasting
Intermittent fasting helps with gut health.
There are trillions of different bacteria in your intestines which make up your “gut microbiome”.
Our good bacteria affect lots of important things in our bodies, from digestion to boosting our immune system, and when it comes to good bacteria, more is better.
Studies agree that people who follow intermittent fasting had higher levels of a type of bacteria linked to lower cancer risk and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Another study even found that intermittent fasting encouraged more types of bacteria that help with metabolic health and obesity to grow.
Intermittent fasting also helps improve how well our gut barrier works, which keeps toxins and diseases out, while letting in the nutrients from our food, and fasting can also help people who suffer from IBS, by reducing how inflamed our gut cells get.
Intermittent fasting – more than just weight loss?
There are more benefits to intermittent fasting than just weight loss.
It can be a simple and effective eating pattern that also helps to protect your heart and brain, and can even boost your memory.
All the evidence so far points to intermittent fasting as one way to lose weight and boost your metabolic health.
To really see some progress with your weight loss and improve your metabolic health you also have to build healthy lifestyle habits.
If you need a hand to stay motivated, we have the perfect tool for you.
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