New fad diets come and go all the time, many leaving people in their wake who have suffered harm due to the effects. So what about intermittent fasting? Is this just the next fad diet, or could it have some real benefits? We’re going to take a closer look at what intermittent fasting is and what the evidence from researchers has to say. This will help you to make an informed decision (along with consulting a physician before making a dietary change).
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting refers to eating food in a cycle. In one method, rather than having three meals per day at regular intervals, a person takes 12 to 36-hour breaks from eating at set periods of time in order to maximize weight loss and other potential health benefits. But for the sake of our discussion today, we will consider the method that has been tested in more studies and trials.
The most popular form of intermittent fasting and the one that has the most scientific data to back up the benefits is the 5:2 method. Basically, 5 days per week, you eat a normal diet. You should eat healthy foods, but you don’t have to worry about counting your calories or cutting out carbohydrates. The other two days per week, you stick to a 500-calorie diet, and you only consume fats and proteins – no carbs. So it’s not a complete fast, but you cut back what you eat significantly on those two days per week.
What Are the Primary Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting?
What health benefits may you be able to gain from this type of diet? Here are a few things that researchers have discovered.
- Weight Loss – This is the reason the diet started and has become popular. So does it work? In a 2015 study, researchers found reason to believe that intermittent fasting can reduce body weight. And in 2017, a trial revealed that intermittent fasting is on par with a typical diet to reduce calories. You just get the added benefit of only counting your calories 2 days a week instead of all 7. How does it work? During fasting periods, your body has to reduce its glucose stores as energy. Repeating the process seems to lead to weight loss.
- Cardiovascular health – A 2016 study revealed that intermittent fasting might have benefits for heart rate, cholesterol, blood pressure, and triglycerides. Therefore, there may be heart benefits to trying intermittent fasting.
- Reduced cancer risk – Studies regarding animals reveal that intermittent fasting could delay the formation of tumors in the body, but no human studies have been conducted yet. Keep in mind, however, that obesity and cancer risk have been linked, so a diet that reduces weight should also help to fight cancer risk.
- Reduced type II diabetes risk – The jury is still out on this. In a 2014 report, authors promoted intermittent fasting to reduce the risk of diabetes. However, a 2018 study performed on rats seems to suggest that diabetes risk could increase. For now, an important thing to keep in mind is that obesity and diabetes go hand in hand. So once again, if intermittent fasting helps you to lose weight, it may also help you to avoid diabetes.
- Improved neurological function – A study on rats has shown that intermittent fasting may improve memory and learning. Researchers believe that this is because the diet can help to reduced inflammation in the brain. Since inflammation can lead to various neurological problems, reducing the amount of inflammation should be beneficial. Other studies performed on animals hint that intermittent fasting may help neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, and may even reduce the risk of stroke. Whether this will translate into benefits for humans is still under review.
Clearly, there is some research to support the fact that intermittent fasting could be beneficial for humans. Remember to always consult a physician before starting a new diet to ensure that it won’t interfere with your current health care regimen or have other unwanted effects.
Warrior Strong Wellness – For Your Dietary Support
Regardless of your current diet or the reason for it, Warrior Strong Wellness provides supplements that can help support your health. For example, if you are trying to fast intermittently, you may be able to use our Multi-Collagen Protein Powder to provide a protein boost on the days when you are counting your calories or to supplement your meals on the days when you aren’t counting.
Our Ashwagandha Root Extract is also beneficial for neurological support as it helps the body to cope with stress.
Remember too that Warrior Strong Wellness is focused on giving back to the community. That’s why we donate a portion of our proceeds to childhood cancer research. If intermittent fasting can help reduce the risk of cancer, that is a good thing. But for children who are already battling cancer, research into better treatments is vital.
Keep checking our blog weekly for more education on how to stay well and enjoy your maximum health potential. We are looking forward to continuing to provide Warrior Wisdom to go along with our Warrior Wellness supplements.