In the 3 years I’ve been Intermittent Fasting, I’ve experienced a myriad of physiological benefits! Here are 10 to get you started!
1. No More Constant Hunger
Back in my eat-3-meals-plus-snacks-in-between-days, I was kind of always hungry. I often suspected (tirade of constant pro-breakfast studies aside) that eating immediately upon waking wasn’t all that necessary. It seemed that once I began eating on any given day, I just wanted to keep eating all day. With IF, I’m literally not hungry till dinner. This is partly due to a hormone called ghrelin, which regulates hunger based on patterns of meal timing. As this article says, “The cells that produce ghrelin have circadian clocks that presumably synchronize the anticipation of food with metabolic cycles.”
2. No Portion Control/ Calorie Counting
Also back in my eating throughout the day days, I fretted nonstop about portions. It was always questions of servings, and worse, calories. Now, I eat all I want at night, feel satiated, and don’t gain an ounce! My food scale has lost its purpose in life – no more weighing and measuring food!
3. More TIME during the day!
You’d be surprised how much time you “get back” when you don’t have to interrupt your work routine for breakfast, lunch, and even snacks. Less dishes to wash as well!
4. Increased Alertness/ Energy
The fasted state yields a highly alert and “active” feeling when your body isn’t burdened with digestion and nutrient processing. As explained in this study, “in terms of evolutionary development, an improved daytime performance during periods of food deprivation could have been beneficial for the success in search for food.”
5. Immune Support/ Disease Resistance
Fasting ramps up the immune system. Ever since cutting out day-eating, I rarely catch colds. As this study says, “…intermittent fasting [has] beneficial effects on immune function in adults. Data suggest that both reduced-energy and reduced-meal-frequency diets can reduce inflammatory responses.”
6. Increased Lifespan
7. Increased Insulin Sensitivity
8. Enhanced Learning/Memory Function
Fasting encourages the use of ketones, which are actually the preferred source of fuel for the brain! Ketones are more efficient for ATP generation, creating more energy with less toxic byproducts than glucose.
9. Coping with Stress
Fasting, like exercise, helps us cope with stress by being a mild stressor itself. Mark Mattson, senior investigator for the National Institute on Aging, explains, “There are several theories about why fasting provides physiological benefits…The one that we’ve studied a lot, and designed experiments to test, is the hypothesis that during the fasting period, cells are under a mild stress…And they respond to the stress adaptively by enhancing their ability to cope with stress and, maybe, to resist disease.”
10. Better Sleep
Fasting has been correlated to more restful sleep.