Monday, December 30, 2013

Intermittent Fasting Beats Traditional Diets

  • Intermittent fasting or “scheduled eating” is a powerful strategy for shedding excess weight and reducing your risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer
  • Three major mechanisms by which fasting benefits your body include increased insulin sensitivity and mitochondrial energy efficiency; reduced oxidative stress; and increased capacity to resist stress, disease, and aging
  • A recent human study confirmed that intermittent fasting was actually more effective for weight loss and improving insulin resistance than daily calorie restriction
  • Intermittent fasting can also dramatically boost human growth hormone production, reduce inflammation, and lessen free radical damage—all of which have beneficial effects on your health
  • To get started, consider skipping breakfast, and avoid eating at least three hours before you go to sleep. This should effectively restrict your eating to an 8-hour window or less each day

I have been doing IF to some degree or another for 3 years, and have found it is powerful for many reasons.  One is it just breaks the habit of eating all the time.  Two, it proved I don't have to eat all the time to "get enough food" to perform well in workouts.  There's no downside, no risk, and no cost - for most folks.  Start easy - push the breakfast back by hourly increments, and have good food on hand in case you "crash".

Good advice:
In order to understand how you can fast daily while still eating every day, you need to understand some basic facts about metabolism. It takes most people eight to 12 hours for their body to burn the sugar stored in your body as glycogen. Now, most people never deplete their glycogen stores because they eat three or more meals a day. This teaches your body to burn sugar as your primary fuel and effectively shuts off your ability to use fat as a fuel.
Therefore, in order to work, the length of your fast must be at least eight hours. Still, this is a far cry from a 24-hour or longer fast, which can be quite challenging. I believe that, for most people, simply restricting the window of time during which you eat your food each day is far easier.
For example, you could restrict your eating to the hours of 11am and 7pm. Essentially, you’re just skipping breakfast and making lunch your first meal of the day instead. This equates to a daily fasting of 16 hours—twice the minimum required to deplete your glycogen stores and start shifting into fat burning mode.

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