Humans aren’t engineered to be constantly filled with food. This is the biological fact that the intermittent fasting trend is beginning to push. And it’s catching on, with incredible intermittent fasting results plastered all over the internet and scientific research on fasting proven.
The benefits of positive intermittent fasting results include:
- Clarity of thought (no brain fog).
- Rapid weight loss.
- Increased energy and vitality.
- Increased growth hormones and muscle repair.
- Inflammation reduction.
I first came across intermittent fasting via the advice of YouTube fitness sensation, KinoBody (real name Greg O’Gallagher), who advocated for a balanced lifestyle of the finer things in life as well as feeling and looking strong. Greg was a pioneer in the field and experienced considerable success with fasting as his foundation.
More recently, Terry Crews discussed the concept with Business Insider and everyone’s favourite podcast dad, Joe Rogan, has had a myriad of guests advocating for the intermittent fasting results. These guests include UFC champ Georges St-Pierre and Dr. Rhonda Patrick.
But it’s more than just anecdotal evidence. A pair of peer-reviewed scientific articles is supporting what many have called ‘just another fitness fad.’ The first journal entry, published by Translational Research states:
‘Results reveal superior decreases in body weight by CR (calorie restrictions) vs IF (intermittent fasting)/ADF (alternate day fasting) regimens, yet comparable reductions in visceral fat mass, fasting insulin, and insulin resistance.’
Restricting calories the traditional way may reduce weight overall, but intermittent fasting results have also been known to increase muscle density. In a study on rats, the combination of intermittent fasting and exercise proved a vital combination to ensure muscle protection and growth:
‘In rats, the combination of alternate day fasting and treadmill exercise resulted in greater maintenance of muscle mass than did IF or exercise alone.’
Both articles concluded that although the anecdotal evidence in support of intermittent fasting results was rich, the world of science has a long way to go in order to reach any concrete conclusions.
Why it Works
Caveman laws apply with most things in life and intermittent fasting is no different. Our ancestors never had a free supply of food available at all times and therefore would be constantly chasing the next meal. When hunger would strike, so too would a healthy boost in energy and desperation.
Intermittent fasting is balancing feeding and starving, in a healthy way. Insulin rises everytime we eat and when that energy isn’t utilised for activity, the excess glucose is transformed into what expresses itself as body fat. This process is reversed once we reach a certain level of fasting. Those reserves that are usually pulled from recently indulged foods are instead pulled from the fat deposits of yesterday.
When fasting, the body is engaging in the natural balance that our ancestors lived in for countless generations. Sometimes, we feed and we are full. And sometimes we are hungry. And unlike not drinking when we’re thirsty, not eating when we’re hungry is A-OK. So no, Mum, breakfast is not the most important meal of the day.
So where do you start? There are a couple options that have gained the most traction.
16/8: 16 hours of no eating and an 8 hour intake period. For example, you might have your last meal at 8:00 PM, skip breakfast and eat at 12:00 PM the next day. 16 hour fast benefits vary from person to person but it’s the most popular and easiest method for seeing results.
24 hour fast: Once again the methods in the name. This involves a once or twice a week fast that fully resets your body functions.
5/2: Fortunately, this doesn’t mean eating nothing for 5 hours and eating everything for 2 hours. This method includes eating normally for 5 days of the week and then keeping calorie intake to less than 500 on 2 non-consecutive days of the week.
Rules of the Fast
None of the above options is as aggressive as they sound, because there’s still a few non-water allowances. Depending on your dedication to the trend, you can consume the following beverages freely:
- Black coffee.
- Tea (no milk).
- Sparkling water.
If you go without taste for 16 or 24 hours, you’d, understandably, go a little insane. And of course, with the 5/2 method, you’re free to eat anything under 500 calories within that 24-hour mark.
In the western world where we basically eat until we’re sick every meal, intermittent fasting is a lesson in self-control as much as it is in weight loss. With 2019 still in its teething stage, now is the perfect time to get started and begin seeing positive intermittent fasting results.