No matter what kind of health goals you have, intermittent fasting can be a great way to achieve them. For thousands of years, ancient Asian cultures have used fasting rituals as a way of becoming more spiritually aware, but many of them probably started for practical reasons.
The great thing about intermittent fasting is that it actually helps you to save money, it can help you become more efficient with your time, and calorie for calorie you will lose more weight. Muscular men looking to pack on some more weight can utilize intermittent fasting as a method to prevent fat accumulation while overweight individuals can utilize this to lose calories even faster than diet and exercise alone.
Fat Oxidation with Intermittent Fasting
The body typically runs on glucose as energy that fuels your muscles, organ, and brain. When there is an absence of glucose, there is a short window where your body utilizes fatty acid oxidation in order to function properly. A study on alternate day fasting showed that in non-obese individuals, fatty acid oxidation increased dramatically, which indicates significant fat loss.
Therefore, even though you may be eating 2000 calories in a day, if you eat them within a smaller window of time, there are more hours in the day that your body can oxidize fat. Typically males require 8-12 hours of fasting before fatty acid oxidation really starts to kick in. Once you have reached more than 48 hours without food, you will be taking things too far. There is a very delicate balance with intermittent fasting!
Increased Health Effects of Fasting
Not only can intermittent fasting improve your body composition, but it is responsible for a wide variety of other benefits as well. One of the primary benefits is increased BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor), which is like fertilizer for the brain. Both physical activity and intermittent fasting have the same effect on BDNF. Also, the practice of fasting can lead to the stimulation of new stem cells and enhanced synaptic plasticity.
Aside from the brain, there is plenty of evidence for disease prevention as well. As one guide points out, individuals suffering from diabetes, cardiovascular disease and even cancer can benefit from using intermittent fasting in the regimen.
Determining on what your goals are, intermittent fasting can be utilized as an effective tool for overall health. If you are trying to lose weight a “feeding window” (time you're allowed to eat) of around four to six hours can be optimal. For gaining muscle with minimal fat gain, a window of eight hours is often recommended. Whichever decision you choose, there are plenty of health and cognitive advantages coming your way!