Contrary to popular belief, intermittent fasting is not an extreme or dangerous form of “dieting.” It’s actually a very healthy practice that presents a number health benefits. What kind of health benefits? Everything from reducing the health issues caused by obesity and reversing diabetes to killing cancer cells and more.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is about timing your meals to allow for regular periods of fasting. Recommendations for hours without food each day range from 12 to 16 hours. This would mean, for example, only eating between the hours of 11 am and 7 pm, and doing so every day. There are other ways to do it and we will get to that later in the article.
This does not mean binge eating, and taking in vast amounts of junk food into your system during the times you’ve allocated for eating. Doing so would be both counterproductive and unhealthy. In fact, the benefits of fasting can be lost if you don’t break your fast properly. What you eat in between fasts is just as important as the fast itself.
For example, research published in 2010 indicated that intermittent fasting with compensatory overeating did not improve survival rates nor delay prostate tumour growth. Essentially, by “pigging out” on non-fasting days, the health benefits of fasting are lost.
New Research on Intermittent Fasting and How to Do It
Some of the most recent research on intermittent fasting was conducted by Dr Mark P. Mattson, Chief of the Laboratory of Neurosciences at the National Institute on Aging. He is also a professor of neuroscience at John Hopkins University. The researchers, who also included the BBC’s Michael Mosley, reviewed previous studies on intermittent fasting and concluded that this type of eating could be healthier than eating three meals or more per day.
One recommended way of doing it, which the BBC’s Michael Mosley tried in order to reverse his diabetes, high cholesterol, and other health problems caused by his obesity, is what is known as the “5:2 Diet.” On the 5:2 plan, you cut your food down to one-fourth of your normal daily calories on fasting days (about 600 calories for men and about 500 for women), along with plenty of water and tea. On the other five days of the week, you can eat normally.
Another way to do it, as mentioned above, is to restrict your food intake to between the hours of 11 am and 7 pm daily.
Below is a video of Dr. Joseph Mercola explaining the benefits of intermittent fasting. Here is a great article by him explaining why he believes intermittent fasting can help you live a healthier life.
For further research on fasting:
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