The act of fasting is typically perceived as a spiritual action, practiced in diverse religions, from all over the world as a way for each religion’s followers to show their devotion to their beliefs through intentionally depriving themselves of food and drinks. This action is thought to show their follower’s immense love and devotion for their God.
For me, as Christian, when I fast, my action of fasting is less about giving up something and much more making room for someone—more of God.
In recent years, there have been countless studies into the profound health benefits associated with the act of fasting. From weightloss to managing/curing type-two diabetes to anti-aging benefits, fasting is now widely accepted and encouraged in both the fitness/nutrition world and medical industry. What is Intermittent Fasting? Intermittent Fasting is an eating pattern where a person cycles between periods of fasting and eating. There are many different types of fasting, such as the 20-hour fast, 16-hour fast, or 8-hour fast. The general thought here, is that while fasting, our bodies rest, heal, stabilize, and our glucose level balances.
Here’s an example of the fasting lifestyle, my wife and I practice. On a standard day, we typically fast between 16-20 hours. This means, that we are not consuming anything but water and a cup of coffee for 16-20 hours per day, with our typical first meal being either a late lunch (1-2pm) or an early dinner (5-6pm). This type of intermittent fasting means that we allow a 4 or 8 hour window to eat our meal(s). An 16 hour fast with a 8 hour window to eat is called a 16/8, while a 20/4 means you have only a 4 hour window to eat. It is often recommended by experts to vary your fasting/eating window length, start time, etc. Also, it is important to remember to intake electrolytes during your fasting window, which we do by drinking ketorade, see our recipe here.
Here are some benefits a person may experience through fasting:
1. Lowers Insulin and Changes Hormones
- Insulin levels drop
- Human growth hormone increases
2. Assist in Weight Loss
With the lower insulin, increased growth hormones, improved cellular functions, fewer calories ingested, and greater access to stored fat reserves, your body suddenly becomes functioning more efficiently.
3. Reduce Insulin Resistance
Insulin resistance is considered one of the leading causes of type 2 diabetes. Studies have shown that intermittent fasting has been shown to greatly reduce blood sugar levels, which also protects against kidney damage.
4. Reduce Inflammation
Recent studies show that intermittent fasting can help fight inflammation, another key driver of all sorts of common diseases including some cancers, asthma, chronic peptic ulcer, tuberculosis, rheumatoid arthritis, periodontitis, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, sinusitis, and active hepatitis.
5. Increase Heart Health
Heart disease is one of the world’s biggest killers. There are various health markers physicians look for as warning signs for heart disease. Intermittent fasting has shown, in some studies, to improve numerous risk factors, including blood pressure, total and LDL cholesterol, blood triglycerides, inflammatory markers and blood sugar levels.
6. Increased Brain Function and Heath
Recent studies have shown ketones to be the fuel of choice for the brain. Ketones fuel provides a steady flow of energy with none of the spikes and dips people experience from glucose. Also, unlike glucose, ketones are not addictive.
Autophagy simply put is the body’s system of cleansing our bodies at a cellular level. Your cells create membranes that search and destroy dead, diseased, or damaged cells; break them down; stripping out the useful parts; and then incorporate the usable parts for energy or to make new parts for the healthy cells. Many experts agree that the autophagy process begins in humans after about 18-20 hours of fasting, with peak benefits occuring after about a 48-72 hour fasting period. We will cover a more in depth look at all of the healing and anti-aging benefits of autophagy in a separate blog soon.