You may have heard of it before. If not, allow me to enlighten you. Intermittent fasting (IF) is going an extended period of time ingesting zero calories, followed by eating all of your required calories in a short “feeding window.” There are many variations and time frames for each phase. A common variation, and the one I’m using, is a 16/8 fast. This is where you are in a fasted state for 16 hours and eat all your food in a glorious 8 hour window. Sounds crazy? There are actually a great amount of benefits to IF, as far as health, longevity, fat loss, muscle building, and more.
Fat Loss and Muscle Mass
IF has been shown, in multiple studies to lead to healthy and sustainable fat loss, and increased BMR (basal metabolic rate). There have also been multiple studies showing that paired with a resistance training (lifting weights) program, muscle mass has not only not decreased but has increased, albeit in small percentages. Though, for an average male, a gain of 1-2 lbs. of muscle in 2 months is nothing to scoff at.
Health and Longevity
Here are where the benefits of IF really outweigh the discomfort of the first day or two of being hungry. In study after study, IF has been shown to decrease and prevent brain cell senescence, which is basically the process in which your cells age and become less functional. IF has also been shown to promote autophagy, which is where the body destroys dead or malfunctioning cells. This is a vital process to health and living a long healthy life, as it has been linked to the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases (Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, etc.), malignancy, and infection (various types of cancer). IF also triggers stem cell regeneration in the immune system, basically renewing your immune system, which has obvious benefits.
So, IF will help you to burn more fat, maintain or build muscle. IF will also boost multiple functions that will lead to a longer and healthier life. And it is surprisingly easy to do.