Hello and Welcome! This week, I’m talking about Intermittent Fasting – benefits and how you can optimize results.
I was talking to a friend over the weekend and he claimed that he had tried Intermittent Fasting and it didn’t work for him. What I learned through the conversation was that his schedule was much different from the Social Media influencers he was following and the friends from whom he had heard amazing results. Diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and on medication, he needed one on one help to determine a strategy that he could easily adopt.
Intermittent Fasting is style of eating based on setting and adhering to eating and fasting windows over the course of days and weeks. For example, there is what’s called an “18:6” where you fast for 18 hours and have an eating period of 6 hours. Another style is alternate day fasting – or “ADF” – where you eat ad libitum one day and fast the next, repeatedly.
PLEASE understand that this is not a plea for everyone to adopt this way of living. I am just outlining some of the benefits and how you might begin IF you are interested. I get that each person has unique needs and goals. There clearly is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to living long and well.
Below are some of the studied benefits of Intermittent Fasting.
1. Changes the function of hormones, cells, and genes
When you don’t eat for a while, several things happen in your body.
- Insulin levels Drop. Blood levels of insulin drop significantly, which facilitates fat burning (Source).
- Human growth hormone (HGH) levels Rise. The blood levels of human growth hormone (HGH) may increase dramatically. Higher levels of this hormone facilitate fat burning and muscle gain, and have numerous other benefits (Source).
- Cellular repair Accelerates. The body starts cellular repair processes known as autophagy.
- Gene expression. There are beneficial changes in several genes and molecules related to longevity and protection against disease.
2. Can help you lose weight and visceral fat
Many of those who try intermittent fasting are doing it to lose weight. Unless you compensate by eating much more during the other meals, you’ll end up taking in fewer calories. Additionally, intermittent fasting enhances hormone function which helps with weight loss.
Intermittent fasting boosts your metabolic rate (increases calories out) and reduces the amount of food you eat (reduces calories in). According to a 2014 review of the scientific literature, intermittent fasting can cause weight loss of 3–8% over 3–24 weeks. This is a huge amount (Source).
3. Can reduce insulin resistance, lowering your risk for type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a very common diagnosis recently. Anything that reduces insulin resistance should help lower blood sugar levels and protect against type 2 diabetes. In human studies on intermittent fasting, fasting blood sugar has been reduced by 3–6% over the course of 8–12 weeks in people with pre-diabetes. Fasting insulin has been reduced by 20–31% (Source).
4. Can reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the body
Oxidative stress is one of the steps toward many chronic diseases. It involves unstable molecules called free radicals, which damage other important molecules, such as protein and DNA. Several studies show that intermittent fasting may enhance the body’s resistance to oxidative stress. Additionally, studies show that intermittent fasting can help fight inflammation, another key driver of many common diseases.
5. May be beneficial for heart health
Heart disease is currently the world’s biggest cause of death. Various health markers (so-called “risk factors”) are associated with either an increased or decreased risk of heart disease. Intermittent fasting has been shown to improve numerous different risk factors, including:
- blood sugar levels
- blood pressure
- blood triglycerides
- total and LDL (bad) cholesterol
- inflammatory markers
6. Induces various cellular repair processes
When we fast, the cells in the body initiate a cellular “waste removal” process called autophagy. This involves the cells breaking down and metabolizing broken and dysfunctional proteins that build up inside cells over time. Increased autophagy may provide protection against several diseases, including cancer and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.
7. May help prevent cancer
Cancer is characterized by uncontrolled growth of cells. Fasting has been shown to have beneficial effects on metabolism that may lead to a reduced risk of cancer.
8. Has benefits for your brain
What’s good for the body is often good for the brain as well. Intermittent fasting improves various metabolic features known to be important for brain health.
Intermittent fasting helps reduce:
- oxidative stress
- blood sugar levels
- insulin resistance
Fasting also increases levels of a brain hormone called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). A BDNF deficiency has been implicated in depression and various other brain problems.
9. May help prevent Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s disease is now the most common neurodegenerative disease. There’s no cure for Alzheimer’s, so preventing it in the first place is critical.
In a series of case reports, a lifestyle intervention that included daily short-term fasts was able to significantly improve Alzheimer’s symptoms in 9 out of 10 people (Source).
10. May extend your lifespan, helping you live longer
One of the most exciting applications of intermittent fasting may be its ability to extend lifespan.
Although this is far from being determined in humans, intermittent fasting is very popular among the anti-aging crowd. Given the known benefits for all sorts of health markers, it makes sense that intermittent fasting could help you live a longer and healthier life.
As it is with anything, you can only learn so much through Social Media and Web-based resources. Knowing that you are unique in your schedule, preferences, needs, social engagements, metabolism, age, … you simply cannot rely on information you see on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok.
Now that you know the benefits and are curious, here’s how I can help…
I am now offering 2 options for coaching on Intermittent Fasting:
- Fasting Accelerator – a 4-week group coaching program kicks off October 22. Cost is $117 and included weekly live calls, accountability, resources and group coaching. Sign up here – https://go.juliebergfeld.com
- Private Fasting Coaching – reply to this message if you are interested in a customized approach to the intermittent Fasting Lifestyle.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about Intermittent Fasting (or anything else). Hit reply and let me know what you think, ok?