We have been hearing a lot of talk about intermittent fasting, or IF, or the fast diet, or the 5:2, or the 16:8 diet. As it turns out those are all the same thing, and IT just happens to be one of the most popular health and fitness trends around.
Being the curious bunch that we are, we decided to do some digging around about this mysterious intermittent fasting is all about. What and how do you do it? What are the benefits to starving yourself? Are there any? What are the drawbacks? Here are some surprising things we have discovered:
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is the most popular and most descriptive term used to refer to an eating pattern wherein one eats normally for a certain period of time and then severely limits food consumption for another period of time. Another thing to note about this method is that it is not concerned with what foods are eaten, but rather when they are eaten. In basic terms it is a cycle of eating normally and then fasting, and then eating normally and then fasting, and then… you get the idea. One of the most popular forms of this cycle is the 5:2 (the weekly cycle), eat normally for 5 days and then severely limit calorie intake to 500 calories per day for women and 600 calories for men, for 2 days. Just to be clear eating normally refers to 2000 calories for women and 2500 for men per day.
What are the intermittent fasting benefits?
The stated benefits seem to be many. First and most obvious is weight loss, then there is also improved health, longer lifespan, simplifying a healthy lifestyle (for many it’s easier than the typical daily diet), and anti-aging effects. Lastly, there is also the argument that it’s simply more “natural” for the human body then the current day, seemingly unrestricted, food consumption. And there is something to this, humans have been around for a while and it’s only recently, historically speaking, that access to food for most in the western world has become constant and continuous. Throughout history, people have had to work much harder to put food on the table and it certainly was not always a sure thing. Think of a world without supermarkets or refrigerators and literally having to go out to hunt and gather your food. So human bodies evolved to function without food for extended periods of time.
Lastly and most importantly for this beauty blog, are the visible anti-aging and tightening effects on the skin from intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting results?
Here are some bullet points that show what it does inside your system to cause all those benefits described above:
- The levels of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) go up drastically, which trigger the body to lose weight and gain muscle among many other beneficial outcomes.
- Insulin levels drop which means the body can access that stubborn stored body fat and shed it more easily.
- Cells go into repair mode when the body is not getting the daily calories that it’s used to. This means that old and bad proteins are removed and new ones are developed.
- This last one is related to longer the life-span and overall improved health claims. Changes in the function of genes directly influence improvements in longevity and protection against disease.
- LDL cholesterol levels, blood triglycerides, inflammatory markers, blood sugar and insulin resistance are reduced.
- Brain hormone BDNF is increased, which, it is claimed, helps improve brain function.
How does intermittent fasting help with anti-aging?
Fasting induces DNA repair genes to regenerate and work overtime thus reducing inflammation. As we know inflammation is one of the biggest problems with aging (which is why antioxidants are so important), but intermittent fasting causes skin cells to heal or renew more rapidly. Also the body starts producing more somatropin, a hormone that minimizes the look of wrinkles and fine lines.
Weight loss and anti-aging benefits seem to be the most direct and visible results of intermittent fasting which is great for us since these are the results we often strive for. But everyone can use some help in the body tightening and anti-aging pursuits, which is why we offer Silk’n Facetite a wrinkle reducing and skin smoothing device and Silk’n Lipo a body tightening and shaping device. These devices can provide the exact assistance needed to make your efforts fully worthwhile.