Intermittent Fasting - find out why it may be better for you than conventional dieting, and learn how to reduce your calorie intake in your everyday diet without changing what you eat.
It goes without saying that what we eat affects our quality of life and the years we can expect to live in good health. But the link between food and health goes a bit deeper than this – about as deep as your diet plan.
Studies dating back to as early as 1935 have shown that dietary restrictions extend lifespan and delay disease. Granted, they were carried out on lab animals, but that's as close as we may currently get to understanding the link between calories and healthspan because of drop-out levels, ulterior motive, and limited follow-up in humans.
More recent studies performed on Rhesus monkeys show that individuals given stricter low-calorie diets live longer. What's interesting is that these primates share 93% of their DNA with us, they age the same way that humans do, and they experience cancer, diabetes, and various other diseases like we do.
Also, a study performed on humans and published in the Oxford Academic showed that fasting regularly for an entire day leads to lower body fat, as well as cholesterol and triglyceride levels in people with weights ranging from normal to obese.
A year later, another study published in science journal Nature found that intermittent calorie restriction, or intermittent fasting, is better for maintaining weight loss in the long run than conventional calorie restriction.
Intermittent fasting is a catch-all phrase for when you alternate between eating and fasting for a specific amount of time. It's safe for people of normal and high body weight who fast responsibly, but it's not suitable for underweight people.
There are various ways to go about it. Whole-day fasting is a diet that involves occasionally fasting for 24 hours, while alternate day fasting works on a one-on/one-off basis. With time-restricted feeding diets, people usually only have certain meals at certain times in the day.
To understand the benefits of intermittent fasting, let's first look at what happens to the body when we eat. While it's digesting and absorbing food and for the next four to five hours, insulin levels rise in the body. At this point, the body doesn't burn any stored fat.
Some eight hours later, when insulin levels plummet, the body starts to burn as much stored fat as it can to use as energy. For most people who have three meals a day, the body doesn't enter this fasting state often.
There are several ways to do intermittent fasting, each one with its own merits. We've already established that longevity is the main benefit to intermittent fasting, but there are others:
While intermittent fasting and dieting have similar results, there are a few reasons to opt for IF. Here are some examples:
It frees up time. Even if it's a matter of skipping or delaying a single meal per day for the next few months or years, that saves you hours every week and weeks every year.
Let's put things into perspective: if you spend just one hour a day cooking and eating a meal, that adds up to a whopping 15 days per year. Replace said meal with a smart.food shake, and it would only take you 6 hours per year to stir up a smoothie every day.
It's better than starving. What's the point of living longer and healthier if you have to starve yourself to get there? Go with intermittent fasting instead, and you can enjoy losing weight without giving up on food.
If you're planning on skipping specific meals on specific days, simply have some smart.food pouches ready to make sure you give your body all the nutrients it needs.
It's easier than counting calories. Calorie restriction is clearly good for you when you have a few pounds to shed, but why bother reading so many labels? Rather than compulsively counting your calories every time, rethink your meal times.
If you'd like to postpone lunch, but can't bear the thought of going hungry for a few hours, then shake up an enlite.me soup and carry on working on a full stomach.
It's more convenient than dieting. Most diets don't work because they need you to commit. It's much easier to adapt to delaying or skipping a meal altogether every day than it is to shun certain foods every time you come across them.
It's inherent. Fasting is second-nature to us because we've been doing it since time immemorial. In some cultures it's a rite of passage, a coming-of-age ritual, a sign of chastity, or a cleansing ritual before going to war, as this Telegraph article shows.
It's common practice. We all do it, whether we're aware of it or not. We choose to work late and have brunch the next day, we don't get home on time for dinner on Friday because work gets in the way, we put off having breakfast until after the morning meeting, etc.
If you voluntarily let 12 hours go by before you have your next meal, you're literally fasting. Why not do it properly, with a nutritious smart.food shake from enlite.me? Boost your energy levels and keep running on all cylinders until supper thanks to smart.food.
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