Intermittent and Long Term Fasting: Not Just Another Diet Fad

Written By Brady Wirick

Given my profession, I’m always on the hunt for the latest and most effective health trends. And right now, one trend that seems to be making waves in the wellness community is the practice of intermittent and long term fasting.

Now, before you roll your eyes and dismiss fasting as just another fad diet, hear me out. There is actually a growing body of research that suggests that intermittent and long term fasting can have a myriad of health benefits, beyond just weight loss.

First off, let’s clarify what intermittent and long term fasting actually entail. Intermittent fasting involves cycling between periods of eating and fasting, with some popular methods including the 16/8 method (fasting for 16 hours and eating within an 8-hour window, which is exactly what we do in our office) and the 5:2 diet (eating regularly for 5 days and drastically cutting calories for 2 days). On the other hand, long term fasting involves abstaining from food for extended periods of time, ranging from 24 hours to several days.

So, what are the potential benefits of these fasting practices? Well, one of the most well-known benefits of intermittent fasting is its ability to promote weight loss and improve metabolic health. By limiting the window of time in which you eat, you naturally consume fewer calories, leading to weight loss. Additionally, intermittent fasting has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, lower blood sugar levels, and reduce inflammation, all of which can contribute to a healthier metabolism.

But weight loss isn’t the only perk of intermittent and long term fasting. Studies have also suggested that these practices may have a positive impact on brain health, potentially reducing the risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Fasting has been shown to stimulate the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that plays a key role in promoting the growth and repair of neurons.

Furthermore, intermittent fasting has been found to have beneficial effects on heart health, potentially lowering the risk of heart disease by reducing risk factors such as high blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and triglycerides.

But perhaps the most intriguing benefit of intermittent and long term fasting is its potential to extend lifespan. Studies in animals have shown that caloric restriction, which is essentially what fasting mimics, can extend lifespan by triggering cellular repair processes and reducing oxidative stress.

Now, it’s important to note that while the research on fasting is promising, it’s still in its early stages, and more long-term studies in humans are needed to fully understand the potential health benefits and risks associated with these practices.

In conclusion, while the idea of fasting may seem daunting and extreme, the potential health benefits are certainly worth exploring. With more research being conducted on the topic, we may soon have a better understanding of how intermittent and long term fasting can contribute to overall health and longevity. And who knows, perhaps fasting may become a mainstream health practice in the near future.

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