In general intermittent fasting refers to an eating cycle that includes periods of fasting for a minimal of 12-36 hours (although there’s significant variation). Many intermittent fasting advocates suggest that intermittent fasting report improved weight management.
Scientist can’t easily conduct human-research therefore, most of the research were done in animals, and some of the benefits could also be applicable to us, human.
Research links intermittent fasting benefits include
- Weight loss
- Lower the risk of type 2 diabetes
- Improved heart health
- Improved brain health
- Reduced cancer risk
1. Weight Loss
Might be due to the lowering of insulin levels.
Our body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, which our cells use for energy or convert into fats and store for later use. And insulin is a hormone that allows cells to take in glucose.
During a fasting period, our insulin levels drop which causes cells to release their glucose stores as energy.
And if repeated regularly (fasting), this may lead to weight loss.
On the other hand, if you’re fasting, you’re reducing your calorie intake and hence, will also lead to weight loss.
2. Lower The Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Intermittent fasting may also helps in reducing or preventing diabetes, as it can help weight loss and positively influence other factors linked with risk of Type 2 diabetes.
Well, generally speaking, being overweight or obese is one of the main risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes.
3. Improved Heart Health
Scientist have also found that intermittent fasting could improve aspects of cardiovascular health.
And, there are reports which suggest that intermittent fasting could lead to a reduction in blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides.
Triglycerides are a type of fat present in the blood that has links to heart disease.
4. Improved Brain Health
Most of the study related to fasting effects on brain are done on mice.
One study found that mice on brief intermittent fasting diet has better learning and memory compared to free eating mice.
Another research even suggest that intermittent fasting could suppress inflammation in the brain, which linked to neurological conditions.
However, more studies is necessary to investigate if these finding is applicable to human.
Or maybe, human just need to start fasting and see the effect.
5. Reduce Risk of Cancer
A series of studies in animals indicate that restrictive diets could delay the onset of tumors.
Since, obesity is a risk factor for many different cancers, therefore, the weight loss aspect of intermittent fasting could be responsible for the reduced cancer risk that some studies hint at.
Another theory is that intermittent fasting could decrease several biological factors with links to cancer such as insulin levels and inflammation.