Intermittent Fasting – What It Is, and What The Benefits Are

Feb 23, 2018

Dr. Ben Connolly

Dr. Ben Connolly

NATUROPATHIC DOCTOR

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Intermittent fasting is much more than ‘just another diet’. It’s a lifestyle, and more simply put, it’s a schedule-change to your daily eating habits. To understand it completely, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with these three terms: Insulin Levels, Fed State and Fasted State.

INSULIN LEVELS:

Insulin is a hormone generated by your pancreas, which allows your body to use sugar (when levels are high) from carbohydrates for energy. When insulin levels are low, our bodies turn to burning fat instead of glucose. This is where we want to be during intermittent fasting.

FED STATE:

The fed state starts when you begin eating, and typically ends around 3-5 hours later. During the fed state, your insulin is usually too high for your body to be burning fat, and your body is in the process of absorbing and digesting the food you just ate. In order for your body to burn fat, it needs to be in the fasted state.

FASTED STATE:

The fasted state is when your body begins to burn fat, and it typically occurs around 12 hours after our last meal. Therefore, it is quite uncommon that many of us reach that state very often. During this state, your insulin levels are low.

 

Now that we’re all familiar with what the different states are, let’s talk about the basics. The first topic of conversation likely to come up is weight loss. Intermittent fasting is among the easier ways to losing weight. What’s preferable to some is that many diets propose a dramatic change in what’s consumed – fasting simply asks of you a change in consumption timing.

Second to weight loss is how intermittent fasting differentiates itself from other forms of fasting. During intermittent fasting, you’re consuming your meals during a smaller window, allowing your body to enter the fasted state for greater lengths of time. A common schedule is an eight hour window – think 12PM-8PM, 1PM-9PM, 10AM-6PM. Naturally the most important factor is empowering your body with a 16-hour window to remain in its fasted state.

It sounds like a lot when you hear terminology like states of being, schedule change, dieting – but the benefits span far beyond weight loss. There are actually quite a few, and they may surprise you! Intermittent fasting:

  • has been proven to help you live longer, as seen and proven in this study done on mice in 1945, here, where intermittent fasting extended their lifespans.
  • might reduce your risk of cancer. We use ‘might’ there because it hasn’t been scientifically proven, as of yet. However, studies on patients who have fasted before and during chemotherapy have resulted in better cure rates and fewer deaths.
  • can help you achieve your diet and lifestyle goals, with a slightly less restrictive meal plan. You can still eat what you like – all you need to change is your meal schedule.

Like any diet, consulting your doctor is always an ideal first step. Find out what’s best for you, try it out, and don’t forget to let us know how it’s going! Contact us here if you want to get the conversation started, today!

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