Is intermittent fasting good for your health?
Intermittent fasting is one of the most popular practices of the moment. This approach, which does not consist of depriving yourself of food but of limiting food intake to a certain time slot, can have impressive benefits. Here are the main ones:
It improves body composition
Firstly, setting a framework for food intake within a strict time frame can naturally reduce our caloric intake, which can promote weight loss (a few kilos less to stay in shape!) and therefore limit the feeling of hunger. . Additionally, intermittent fasting helps increase levels of norepinephrine, a hormone that boosts our metabolism and helps us burn calories throughout the day.
It promotes autophagy
Autophagy is a recycling system in which cells eat themselves. Let's say the cells self-repair and remove anything damaged or unnecessary. This "cellular cleansing" is associated with anti-aging, longevity, and improved metabolic health , but it only occurs during fasting periods.
It increases our attention span
Although it may seem contradictory, our energy levels are higher when fasting than after ingesting a meal (the difference with a diet which can cause spikes in fatigue). And this is common to all mammals because we have to be alert to be able to find food and eat. It's a reality, digestion on the other hand mobilizes a lot of energy , to the detriment of our cognitive functions such as memory or concentration .
It helps regulate natural hunger mechanisms
In the medium and long term, intermittent fasting not only does not cause hunger but is a method that helps control it and free us from dependence on food. Fasting has been shown to help regulate ghrelin, known as the hunger hormone, and stimulate leptin, the hormone responsible for signaling satiety, allowing us to balance our appetite and the risk of cravings.
It has an anti-aging effect, slows down the aging of cells
Intermittent fasting limits calorie restriction, which is the most effective way we know to increase lifespan. When we fast, it gives our cells the ability to detoxify and recycle, leading to slower cellular aging and better prevention of age-related diseases.
How to do intermittent fasting?
To be effective, intermittent fasting should last between 12 and 16 hours, the longer it is, the more we stimulate the autophagy process. This is basically done by skipping dinner or breakfast, or by eating dinner early and postponing breakfast as much as possible. It is very simple to implement because it does not require you to reduce your calories or follow a strict diet but simply to stop eating for a certain period. The most widely used method follows the following rhythm: 16/8: 16 hours of fasting and 8 hours of eating. So, to do a 16-hour fast we would have dinner, for example at 7 p.m. and breakfast at 11 a.m. During fasting hours, only liquids such as water, infusions, tea, coffee or filtered broth can be consumed without interrupting the fast. We forget the snack and the bad habit of snacking between meals.
Please note, this practice is not recommended for children, pregnant or breastfeeding women, and seriously ill people. Furthermore, before putting it into practice, it is advisable to have a healthy and balanced diet .