Is Fasting is Good For You?
1. Promotes Blood Sugar Control by Reducing Insulin Resistance
Intermittent fasting is great for restricting the rise in blood sugar levels and reduces in insulin resistance. It has a different impact on men and women. A study revealed 3-week alternative day fasting impaired blood sugar levels in women with no changes in men.
People with a risk of diabetes can get the most benefit out of this approach.
Research conducted on 10 people with type 2 diabetes concluded significant low blood sugar levels with the help of intermittent fasting.
According to research, intermittent fasting and alternate-day fasting is equally effective like restricting calorie intake at lowering insulin resistance. When insulin resistance decreases your body gets more sensitive to insulin and thus transports glucose from your bloodstream to your cells more competently.
If we group, the potential blood sugar-lowering effects of fasting then we can get successful at preventing spikes and crashes in our blood sugar levels.
2. Promotes Better Health by Fighting Inflammation
Fasting can cut down several markers of inflammation, promoting better health and being effective in the treatment of inflammatory conditions like multiple sclerosis.
According to studies, inflammation takes place in the lieu of chronic conditions, like heart disease, cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Acute inflammation is generalized as a normal immune process that fights against infections; chronic inflammation can have some major complications to your health.
50 healthy individuals had a positive interaction with the intermittent fasting approach. It significantly changed their health by lowering the levels of inflammatory markers.
Another discovery had the same effect on people fasting for 12 hours a day for a month.
A study found out a low-calorie diet conducted on animals mimics the same effect of fasting reduced levels of inflammation, beneficial in treating multiple sclerosis.
3. May Enhance Heart Health by Improving Blood Pressure, Triglycerides, and Cholesterol Levels
The frequency of death worldwide is higher due to heart disease estimated at around 31.5% of the death rate globally. Fasting comes in handy in controlling such a crisis as it has the capability to induce the risk of coronary heart disease.
We have always been advised to take care of our health and adopt a healthy lifestyle. Our diet and healthy lifestyle have the power to reduce the risk of heart disease. It also shows a significant reduction in blood pressure, triglycerides, and cholesterol levels.
Research conducted on 110 obese impacted a severe decrease in blood pressure as well as levels of blood triglycerides, total cholesterol, and “bad” LDL cholesterol.
A study based on 8 weeks of alternate-day fasting resulted in reduced levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and blood triglycerides by 25% and 32% respectively.
Adapting the fasting approach to your schedule can make your lifestyle healthy and benefits your heart health. A study revealed 4,629 people moved to healthy living by incorporating fasting resulting in lower risk of coronary artery and reducing the risk of diabetes, a severe risk factor for heart-related issues.
4. May Boost Brain Function and Prevent Neurodegenerative Disorders
Fasting research on human beings lacks evidence as mostly all the research is done on animals revealing the benefits of fasting having an impactful effect on brain health.
According to a study conducted for 11 months, it revealed both brain functions and brain structure improved when mice practiced intermittent fasting.
Several animal studies show how fasting helps in protecting brain health, increasing the generations of nerve cells enhancing cognitive functions. As fasting is considered to relieve inflammation, it can also prevent neurodegenerative disorders.
Some animal studies tell how fasting can benefit and protect against neurodegenerative conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s.
Although fasting has several benefits still more research is required to be conducted on humans.
5. Aids Weight Loss by Limiting Calorie Intake and Boosting Metabolism
When it comes to reducing weight, people are always fascinated by a fast approach that can help them lose weight instantly. Therefore, these dieters highly recommend fasting to hastily make their way towards the Zen of their weight loss journey.
Fasting can speed up your metabolism rate if done for a short period. It shoots up the neurotransmitter norepinephrine levels known to promote weight loss.
If you refrain from certain foods and beverages, it can cut down your calorie intake resulting in increased weight loss.
Fasting preserves muscle tissue while cutting down excess weight and body fat which is much more efficient than calorie restrictions.
As per a study, if you go for a whole day fasting then you might end up reducing up to 9% weight with a reduction in body fat over 12-24 weeks.
Research revealed 3-12 weeks of intermittent fasting helps in weight loss more effectively than calorie restrictions with up to 8% and 16% fat mass respectively.
6. Increases Growth Hormone Secretion, Which Is Vital for Growth, Metabolism, Weight Loss and Muscle Strength
Human growth hormone (HGH) is a type of protein hormone human growth hormone (HGH), an important protein hormone that plays a role in growth, metabolism, weight loss, and muscle strength.
Fasting is known to naturally boost up your HGH levels. According to some research conducted on 11 healthy adults revealed increased levels of HGH when they fasted for 24 hours. (1).
As per one study, two days of fasting on nine men increased the level of HGH 5-fold. (2).
Fasting is considered to aid in maintaining steady blood sugar and insulin levels which may optimize the HGH level that gets reduced if your insulin level gets high.
7. Could Delay Aging and Extend Longevity
Fasting research is mostly conducted on animals and it has reflected promising results on the potential lifespan-extending effects of fasting.
As per a study, a delayed rate of aging was seen among rats who fasted every alternative day and lived for nearly 83% longer than those rats who didn’t fast. (3).
Fasting is effective in increasing longevity and survival rates.
More research is required on a human to understand how fasting may impact longevity and aging in humans.
8. May Aid in Cancer Prevention and Increase the Effectiveness of Chemotherapy
As per some animal test-tube studies, it is revealed that fasting may be effective in the treatment and prevention of cancer.
Alternate-day fasting is known to help to block tumor formation as per a rat study.
Another test-tube study shows how exposing cancer cells to several cycles of fasting was as beneficial as chemotherapy in delaying tumor growth and increased the effectiveness of chemotherapy drugs on cancer formation.
Although, these studies are conducted on animal studies and have a limitation as no studies are conducted on humans yet.
Additional research is required to look at how fasting may influence cancer development and treatment in humans.
How to Start Fasting
There are many different types of fasts, making it easy to find a method that fits your lifestyle.
Here are a few of the most common types of fasting:
- Water fasting: This fasting approach is solely based on water consumption for a period that benefits you by curbing your diet and making you consume fewer calories.
- Juice fasting: Entails only drinking vegetable or fruit juice for a certain period.
- Intermittent fasting: Intake is partially or completely restricted for a few
- hours up to a few days at a time and a normal diet is resumed on other days.
- Partial fasting: Certain foods or drinks such as processed foods,
- animal products or caffeine are eliminated from the diet for a set period.
- Calorie restriction: Calories are restricted for a few days every week.
Within these categories are also more specific types of fasts.
For example, intermittent fasting can be broken down into subcategories, such as alternate-day fasting, which involves eating every other day, or time-restricted feeding, which entails limiting intake to just a few hours each day.
To get started, try experimenting with different types of fasting to find what works best for you.
Safety and Side Effects
Fasting has its health benefits but can have some side effects as well. Despite the long list of possible health benefits associated with fasting, it may not be right for everyone as everybody functions differently.
For people diagnosed with diabetes or low blood sugar levels, fasting can be treacherous as it can spike or crash your blood sugar levels.
Fasting can impact your health negatively if you don’t follow it properly. So, if you find some issues while fasting seeking a medical professional is crucial for the betterment of your health. Also, talk to your doctor if you have any underlying health conditions or are planning to fast for more than 24 hours.
Older adults, adolescents, or underweight people should completely avoid fasting.
Hydration is a must, so make sure to hydrate yourself while fasting have a nutrient-dense meal during your eating period to increase the potential health benefits.
Avoid or minimize intense physical activity and try to get lots of rest if you are fasting for longer periods.
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