In my years of functional medicine training and clinical research, I’ve found only 2 things that have been CLINICALLY proven to prolong life (i.e. make you live longer)!
- Resveratrol – Key ingredient found in red wine.
- Calorie Restriction (i.e. intermittent fasting)
We simply DO NOT need to eat so much! We are so mentally “programmed” to think its time to eat.
“It’s 7am it must be time for breakfast!”
“It’s noon…everybody else is eating…I should probably eat too!”
The truth is, we don’t need to eat so much and intermittent fasting provides numerous health benefits which we’ll discuss below! Consider this article a “Beginners Guide To Intermittent Fasting!”
Types Of Intermittent Fasting
Before we dig into the benefits of intermittent fasting, let’s breakdown the different options / varieties available. There are essentially shorter fasts & longer fasts.
16:8 – This involves daily fasting for 16 hours. Sometimes this is also referred to as an 8-hour eating “window”. You eat within an 8-hour time frame and fast for the remaining 16 hours. Generally, this is done daily or almost daily.
This is the most common form of intermittent fasting and probably the easiest. Most people simply skip breakfast. They eat their last meal / snack at 8pm and then don’t eat again until noon the next day. This form of intermittent fasting is also called a “16 hour detox”.
20:4 – This form is a little more challenging. It involves a 4-hour eating window and a 20-hour fast. You might eat between 2:00 pm and 6:00 pm every day and fast for the other 20 hours. Generally, this would involve eating either one meal or two smaller meals within this period.
24 Hour – The 24 hour fast involves fasting from dinner to dinner (or lunch to lunch). If you eat dinner on day 1, you would skip the next days breakfast and lunch and eat dinner again on day 2. This means that you are still eating daily, but only once during that day. This would generally be done a couple times a week.
5:2 – This involves 5 regular eating days and 2 fasting days. However, on these two fasting days, you can eat 500 calories on each day. These calories can be consumed at any time during the day – either spread throughout the day, or as a single meal.
36 Hour – This involves fasting for the entire day. For example, if you eat dinner on day 1, you would fast for all of day 2 and not eat again until breakfast on day 3. This is generally 36 hours of fasting. This provides a more powerful weight loss benefit.
Health Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
Here are 8 clinically proven benefits to intermittent fasting:
1. Weight Loss – Fasting can be a safe way to lose weight as many studies have shown that intermittent fasting (fasting that is controlled within a set number of hours) allows the body to burn through fat cells more effectively than just regular dieting.
It also allows the body to use fat as its primary source of energy instead of sugar. Many athletes are now using fasting as means to hit low body fat percentages for competitions.
2. Intermittent Fasting Speeds Up Metabolism – Intermittent fasting gives your digestive system a rest, and this can energize your metabolism to burn through calories more efficiently. If your digestion is poor, this can affect your ability to metabolize food and burn fat. Fasting can regulate your digestion and promote healthy bowel function, thus improving your metabolic function.
3. Fasting Improves Insulin Sensitivity – Fasting has shown to have a positive effect on insulin sensitivity, allowing you to tolerate carbohydrates (sugar) better than if you didn’t fast. A study showed that after periods of fasting, insulin becomes more effective in telling cells to take up glucose from blood.
4. Fasting Promotes Longevity – Believe it or not, the less you eat the longer you will live. Studies have shown how the lifespan of people in certain cultures increased due to their diets. One of the primary effects of aging is a slower metabolism, the younger your body is, the faster and more efficient your metabolism. The less you eat, the less toll it takes on your digestive system.
There have been 2 things that have been clinically proven to make you live longer. (1) Resveratrol – Key ingredient in red wine & (2) Calorie Restriction – i.e. Intermittent Fasting!
5. Fasting Improves Hunger – Just think about this, can you actually experience real hunger if you eat a meal every 3-4 hours? Of course you can’t. In fact, to experience the true nature of hunger, this would take anything from 12 to even 24 hours.
Fasting helps to regulate the hormones in your body so that you experience what true hunger is. We know that obese individuals do not receive the correct signals to let them know they are full due excessive eating patterns.
Think of fasting as a reset button: the longer you fast, the more your body can regulate itself to release the correct hormones, so that you can experience what real hunger is. Not to mention, when your hormones are working correctly, you get full quicker.
6. Fasting Reduces Inflammation – We know the Standard American Diet (SAD) is very inflammatory and toxic. By reducing the amount of foods and by reducing the demand on the digestives system, this in turn reduce overall chronic systemic inflammation.
7. Fasting Improves Your Immune System – Intermittent fasting improves the immune system because it reduces free radical damage, regulates inflammatory conditions in the body and starves off cancer cell formation.
In nature, when animals get sick they stop eating and instead focus on resting. This is a primal instinct to reduce stress on their internal system so their body can fight off infection. We humans are the only species who look for food when we are ill, even when we do not need it.
8. Fasting Helps Clear The Skin And Prevent Acne – Fasting can help clear the skin because when the body is temporarily freed from digestion, it’s able to focus its regenerative energies on other systems.
Not eating anything for just one day has shown to help the body clean up the toxins and regulate the functioning of other organs of the body like liver, kidneys and other parts.
But Wait…There’s More…
There is growing research on using intermittent fasting to reverse type 2 diabetes…to lower cholesterol…to prevent Alzheimer’s etc.
Here is another key point. Fasting offers many important advantages that are NOT available in typical diets. Where diets complicate life, fasting makes things EASIER. Where diets are expensive, fasting is FREE. Where diets can take time, fasting saves time. Where diets are limited, fasting is available anywhere. And the research is clear…there are numerous health benefits to intermittent fasting!
Now that you know the basic foundation of intermittent fasting and the different forms and varieties…here are your next steps:
- Choose the type of fast you want to do. We recommend starting with a 16:8 fast. Simply stop eating at 8pm and skip breakfast the next day. We find this is the easiest approach to start with.
- Decide on the length. Are you going to do this 5 days a week? 7 days? 3 days? Determine what would make the most sense with your current schedule AND health goals!
- Start! If you don’t feel well, don’t overdo it. Seek professional help. You may just need to ease into things a little slower, however, it is not uncommon to experience some basic detox symptoms (headaches, hunger, cravings etc.)
- Break the fast. We recommend a piece of fruit to be ideal. An apple works well.
We hope this article finds you doing well.
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The Team At Go Formulas Inc.