Intermittent fasting (also known as intermittent energy restriction) is a term for meal timing schedules that cycle between voluntary fasting and non-fasting.
It started with people just skipping breakfast, but many studies show that it can have powerful effects on your body and brain and may even help you live longer.
But isn’t unhealthy to skip breakfast ?
A resent review published in The BMJ suggests that all meals are created equal and you don’t have to eat a good breakfast in order to set you up for the day or to stop you from getting hangry later. In addition, another study conducted by Monash University researchers, indicates that there was no significant difference in metabolic rates between breakfast eaters and skippers.
So NO… skipping breakfast ISN’T unhealthy.
And breakfast ISN’T the most important meal of the day, as many cereal companies want you to believe.
The problem is that most stereotypical breakfast skippers have unhealthy lifestyles and bad food choices.
If you make sure to eat healthy food for the rest of the day, then skipping breakfast, or any other meal, is perfectly healthy.
It’s a way of life rather than a diet
It is easier to manage your calorie intake if you eat fewer meals through the day.
So, initially, people intermittently fasted for weight loss.
But Intermittent Fasting is not a diet but rather an eating pattern that is committed to the long term, in order to reap the potential weight and health benefits.
Of course you can use Intermittent Fasting to lose weigh as long as a calorie deficit is attained.
FASTED TRAINING AND FAT BURNING
Preliminary evidence indicates that Intermittent Fasting helps the body produce more growth hormone and decrease insulin resistance, resulting in boost metabolism.
Fasting puts your body in a fat burning state that you rarely make it to during a normal eating schedule, as it occurs at least 12 hours after your last meal.
During fasted state your body can, much easier, burn fat that has been inaccessible during the eating phase, when, for three to five hours, you digest and absorb the food you just ate.
This is one of the reasons why many people who start Intermittent Fasting will lose fat without changing what they eat, how much they eat, or how often they exercise.
So, a fasted Calisthenics training, followed by a hight protein meal, is a truly effective way to make lean body gains, as it causes less muscle loss than regular calorie restriction diets.
Make sure, of-course, to combine it with a healthy and protein rich diet.
The 16:8 method – ketosis
There are 3 main methods of Intermittent Fasting.
But most people find the “Daily time-restricted feeding method” (16:8) to be the simplest, most sustainable and the one that offers the most benefits.
This method involves eating only during a 8-hour period in your day, while you fast the remaining 16 hours.
During your fast period you can, and should, drink a lot of water. You can also consume black coffee and tea, but nothing else.
The 16:8 method it is thought by a review published in the The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition to leverage the circadian rhythm and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Hunger is the main side effect of intermittent fasting.
For the first few days, until you body adapts to the new meal schedule, you may feel weak and your brain may not perform as well as you’re used to.
But studies have shown that when a person’s body begins to enter a state of ketosis and burn fat, they may experience high awareness and comprehension. The result is an increased sensation of focus and increased productivity.
Ketosis is a metabolic state characterized by elevated levels of ketone bodies in the blood or urine.
Physiologic ketosis is a normal response to low glucose availability, such as low-carbohydrate diets or fasting, that provides an additional energy source for the brain in the form of ketones.
Ketones, as naturally-occurring part of the stress reflex, ensure that our bodies continue to function effectively even when our stomach is empty.
They also allow us to remain calm and sharpens our mind utilising fully our improved mental clarity.
Intermittent Fasting can provide significant health benefits.
A 2019 review in New England Journal of Medicine concluded that eating in a 6-hour period and fasting for 18 hours can trigger a metabolic switch from glucose-based to ketone-based energy with increased stress resistance, increased longevity, and a decreased incidence of diseases including cancer and obesity.
The researchers combed through dozens of animal and human studies to explain how fasting improves metabolism, lowering blood sugar; lessens inflammation, which improves a range of health issues from arthritic pain to asthma; and even helps clear out toxins and damaged cells, which lowers risk for cancer and enhances brain function.
Although there hasn’t been a lot of research and experimentation done on the relationship between cancer and intermittent fasting, this study of 10 cancer patients suggests that the side effects of chemotherapy may be diminished by fasting before treatment.
This finding is also supported by another study which used alternate day fasting with cancer patients and concluded that fasting before chemotherapy would result in better cure rates and fewer deaths.
HOW IT AFFECTS YOUR CELLS
Scientists have long known that restricting calories is a way of lengthening life.
From a logical standpoint, this makes sense…When you’re starving, your body finds ways to extend your life.
Although chronic stress can shorten telomere length (causing cells to age and die prematurely), when cells are exposed to sort stress different repair and detoxification mechanisms are triggered to protect the cells from being damaged. (Like autophagy where cells digest and remove old and dysfunctional proteins that build up inside cells.)
These changes in the cell function and gene expression are responsible for the health benefits of Intermittent Fasting.
In fact, fasting from time to time is more natural than always eating 3–4 (or more) meals per day.
Fasting has been a practice throughout human evolution.
Ancient hunter-gatherers didn’t have supermarkets, refrigerators or food available year-round… Sometimes they couldn’t find anything to eat.
As a result, humans evolved to be able to function without food for extended periods of time.
Also, Intermittent Fasting is often done for religious or spiritual reasons in Islam, Christianity, Judaism and Buddhism.
Makes Your Lifestyle Simpler
Intermittent Fasting improves your health while providing additional simplicity to life.
Eating healthy is simple, but it can be incredibly hard to maintain.
When you fast you don’t need to plan for as many meals and it is easier to control your calorie intake.
Apart from that, when you wake up you don’t worry about breakfast…You just grab a glass of water, or coffee and start your day.
Also, you don’t need to carry food to work, or worrying about find something healthy to order…You just concentrate on dealing with the other stressful matters of everyday life.
Women must be careful and children should avoid it
Fasting isn’t appropriate for everyone, so always check with your doctor before making any significant changes to your eating pattern.
If you’re underweight or have a history of eating disorders, you should not fast without consulting with a health professional first.
It is not recommended for those in periods of rapid growth, such as children and adolescents.
There is also some evidence that Intermittent Fasting may not be as beneficial for women as it is for men. There are a number of anecdotal reports of women whose menstrual period stopped when they started it.
It is also not suitable for you if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
Intermittent Fasting is more than just skipping breakfast.
It is a life style which can provide significant health, mood and weight benefits.
By adopting it, and combining it with a healthy diet and an activity like Calisthenics, you will see not only your body composition changing but your whole life too!
Any questions regarding Intermittent Fasting, it’s benefits or how to implement it in your life, will be answered in the comments bellow.