Intermittent Fasting: Benefits Beyond Fat Loss

Call me crazy but I tend to trust things that have worked well for hundreds of thousands of years. Our early ancestors didn’t wake up and immediately scarf down breakfast then reach for a pre-lunch snack a few hours later. No, things were a little different back then. Different like, “Are we going to survive the day and have enough to feed our family” different.

Instead, our elders woke up, ate nothing and went about their day. This was the norm for early iterations of our species for hundreds of thousands of years. They had enough energy not only to survive, but to allow our species to thrive and evolve along the way.

Did you know it takes tens of thousands of years for our genetic makeup to change? With the agricultural revolution occurring about 10,000 years ago, is it any wonder why the round-the-clock, continuous eating strategy is failing us? We are not built for the modern way of eating.

I prelude the Benefits section with the evolutionary angle to provide strong evidence to show that your body was designed to go extended periods of time without incoming calories. This is not some new age, radical idea to starve the body into weight loss.

In fact, allowing the body to go periods of time without food not only drives fat loss but also contributes to far deeper, more important health benefits. Here are just a few of the scientifically-backed benefits.

  1. Increased insulin sensitivity – The more insulin sensitive you are, the easier it is for your body to regulate sugars in the bloodstream and the more conducive your system is to fat loss. IF boosts insulin sensitivity big time. IF also decreases insulin resistance which is huge for pre-diabetics, diabetics and those at risk for type 2 diabetes.
  2. Low insulin levels – Insulin is released when food is eaten. Higher levels of insulin in the blood inhibits fat loss. The nature of IF keeps insulin levels low for most of the day, nurturing a fat loss environment.
  3. Increased levels of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) and decreased levels of Insulin-like Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1) – Intermittent Fasting can increase the levels of HGH produced in the body by as much as 500% percent (no, that’s not a typo!) Higher levels of the hormone facilities fat burn and increases lean muscle tissue development along with a slew of additional benefits.
    Additionally, intermittent fasting has been shown to reduce levels of IGF-1. When you’re young, higher levels of IGF-1 are important for growth, but later in life higher levels are linked to various types of cancer as well as other health issues.
  4. Cellular repair, gene expression, hormone production and life extension – These benefits go far beyond the veil of vanity and truly increase the quality of life at the cellular level. IF has been shown to aid the waste removal process from cells and affect key hormone production allowing genes to experience advantageous changes, boosting key functions and offering life longevity boosts. To top it off, there are numerous studies that show IF can help in prevention of diseases from Alzheimer’s to cancer.
  5. Norepinephrine jumps – Also known as noradrenaline, the jump in its levels via IF grant a metabolic boost by as much as 14% while in a fasted state.

As time passes, science continues to show additional ways the body benefits from intermittent fasting. In keeping it simple, we’ve only touched on a few here but the list goes on. Sure, there are plenty of diets and eating structures that will help you lose weight but, in my opinion, there are none that are as convenient or that offer a fraction of the big picture benefits available to you through intermittent fasting.

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