Tired of feeling bloated and heavy? Looking for a way to manage your diet and keep the weight off? If so, intermittent fasting could be the solution you’ve been looking for. It might sound absurd to not eat for a day or to restrict your eating window to just a short period of time, but there is actually a lot of method behind the madness.
In fact, intermittent fasting has so many benefits and is widely regarded by professionals around the world as superbly healthy and viable, and here’s why.
The way of our ancestors
Way back in the times of the cavemen, food was anything but plentiful. It’s hard to image a world without fully stocked supermarkets and food delivery on speed dial, but believe it or not, once upon a time, humans had to travel and hunt their food. If you’ve ever watched a nature documentary following predators, you’ll know they can often go days or even weeks without a meal, and early humans were exactly the same.
They might not catch any substantial prey (meat) for weeks, meaning our ancestors would routinely fast due to lack of easy availability. The early human race were experts at foraging, but that doesn’t detract from the fact they were opportunistic predators and would eat whatever they could, whenever they could. They might get lucky and find a bountiful stream or forest that was buzzing with potential prey, but it would all depend on the season and the location. Whilst some got lucky, others had to work a little harder and wait a little longer for their food.
It might not have always been so healthy to go long periods of time without food and it’s not something any medical professional would recommend, but if you feel like you might die if you don’t eat for 12 hours, rest assured that you won’t thanks to the evolutionary work of those who came 12,000 years before you.
In fact, as a result of our hunter-gatherer predecessors, humans are still not built for eating three round meals plus snacks every day. Up until relatively recently, two meals a day was the standard and this fits neatly into intermittent fasting which commonly allows for lunch and dinner or breakfast and lunch. So, intermittent fasting actually suits the human body more than eating three meals a day.
Sugar, we’re going down
In an ode to that famed song, intermittent fasting reduces blood sugar levels which, in turn, reduces insulin resistance. What does that mean, you ask? Well, it means your risk of developing type 2 diabetes is significantly lowered, and that means you’re far less likely to suffer from all the unpleasant things that diagnosis brings, such as frequent infections, blurry vision, longer healing times for cuts and wounds, as well as frequent bouts of thrush.
It sounds too good to be true, but it’s not. Intermittent fasting means you’re not eating quite as much and you’re giving your body more time to process and use up its resources, including fat and sugar. Since the body isn’t getting those things from recently ingested food, it has to use up its natural stores which lowers your overall blood sugar levels, thus reducing your risk of diabetes.
Bye belly fat
The main reason people undertake fasting is to lose weight, the other benefits such as reduced inflammation, longer life expectancy, increased energy levels and better brain function are simply very pleasant side effects. You might be wondering how intermittent fasting helps to reduce belly fat and overall body weight since two full meals a day are still consumed, but it’s actually very simple. In the same way a prolonged period of not eating forces your body to use its natural reserves, it also burns more fat as your body has to use up what it has, and that’s hard work which means you burn more fat.
Losing weight isn’t just for aesthetic reasons, it means you’re far less likely to develop heart disease, have a stroke, suffer with kidney disease, develop certain cancers and have high blood pressure. A win for sure, but sticking to restrictive diets is hard. If you struggle with calorie counting or food exclusion diets, try fasting. Having two meals a day will greatly reduce your calorie intake, and the symptoms such as hunger will ease off after a few weeks as you settle in to your new routine.
Self-discipline? Yes, please
As we edge closer to Ramadan 2021, many Muslims will be preparing to fast as part of their religious duties. Whilst this is done for spiritual reasons, it’s also done to increase self-discipline, and this is something everyone can benefit from. Being able to control your urges will inevitably lead to a more controlled life in all aspects, especially food, and it will make you realize what you really can live without.
After all, that, what’s not to be gained from intermittent fasting? As long as you do it safely (do not go entire days without food) and eat a balanced diet, intermittent fasting is a goer!