Our bodies are designed to have periods of fasting, however, during this time in first-world nations where food is abundant, that fasting period has diminished, and we are eating at least 3 meals a day, and snacking in between. With this western dietary lifestyle, we have witnessed an uptick in the number of people suffering from obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Many studies have shown that the incorporation of fasting can reduce and even eliminate many of these chronic conditions. There has been quite a bit of buzz regarding Intermittent Fasting for weight loss, but the benefits don’t stop there. If done properly, intermittent fasting certainly is an effective method of keeping calorie restricted and utilizing fat for energy, leading to weight loss. Fortunately, there are significantly more profound benefits to the body that go beyond working toward a healthy weight.
Intermittent Fasting is considered the method for cellular regeneration, with the added benefit of weight loss, reduced risk for neurologic disease, and improvement of diabetes mellitus Type II. However, you should first consult your physician prior to integrating Intermittent Fasting, especially if you are an insulin-dependent diabetic, suffer from ulcers, or eating disorders. An Obesity Medicine certified physician can often guide you on appropriate fasting schedules, foods to incorporate, and healthy methods to reincorporate nutrition after longer periods of fasting.
1. Linked to lowering the risk for disease: Intermittent fasting can boost brain health and lower your risk for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The risk of developing Alzheimer’s is reduced as Intermittent Fasting reduces obesity and helps protect against diabetes, both of which contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s.
2. Protects neurons and promotes autophagy: Intermittent fasting also helps the brain by protecting nerve cells from degeneration. Prolonged fasting has the added benefit of autophagy – the process of cellular part turnover. This process improves neuroelasticity and cognitive function.
3. Linked to improving memory and easing depression: Intermittent fasting improves learning and memory, another protective measure against serious neurodegenerative diseases. A 2013 study also reported that patients suffering from depression had improved mood, mental alertness and sense of peace when fasting
4. Linked to lowering cholesterol and improving insulin resistance: Intermittent Fasting has been shown to lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and reduce insulin resistance.
5. Linked to reducing inflammation: While acute inflammation is a normal part of the immune response to fight off infection, chronic inflammation can be detrimental to health, leading to diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disorder, cancer and heart disease. Intermittent fasting has been associated with a reduction in inflammatory markers, and overall inflammation, which has been shown to reduce risk for these chronic conditions.
Ultimately, Intermittent Fasting has been shown to be very effective in promoting better health and leading to weight loss, but it should not be initiated without physician supervision, especially during longer fasting periods. An additional benefit is with nutritional modification during feeding periods, such as low-carb or keto diet plans, the weight benefit can be further increased, however, this process should be intitiated and supervised by a trained weight management physician who can support and guide this process.
If you are interested in learning more about Intermittent Fasting, Keto Diet, Low-Carbohydrate plans, and weight management, please reach out to Dr. Lala at Kinetix Medical Weight Loss and Wellness in Chicago at 773-270-8223.