Intermittent fasting or IF refers to an eating schedule which requires you to fast and eat with a gap in-between. You need to have a specific time to eat after which you have to fast for a specific period.\nFor instance, you can eat between 10 am and 6 pm only. \nIntermittent fasting is a kind of a pattern of eating, not a diet. Some types of Intermittent fasting can consist of a one-day schedule, while others require a 3 to a 5-day schedule. Every schedule has its own pros and cons for metabolism, mental health, cell repair, and disease prevention. \nIn this guide, we are going to talk a look at the Intermittent fasting and its various benefits Let's get started.\n \nWhat is Intermittent Fasting?\nIntermittent fasting is gaining popularity among those who are on the keto diet or who are struggling to lose weight and build muscle mass. However, intermittent fasting is not something new. In fact, it dates back to 1900s when people used to follow this approach to treat diabetes, epilepsy, and obesity. \nIntermittent fasting has been adopted by humans since decades as it allows you to tap into the ancient knowledge. Today, both scientists and celebrities are in support of this idea. \nIntermittent fasting is one of the healthiest ways of eating and offers a host of benefits, such as weight loss, better brain function, and cancer prevention, to name a few. The beauty of IF is that it's is quite easy.\n \n\nThe History of Intermittent Fasting\nUnlike the classic "dieting, It's easy to fast. That's why people have been doing it for hundreds of years. In fact, we all do it without knowing when we skip our dinner or breakfast. \nThousands of years back, our ancestors had to fast when they had to look for food in the forests. \nAfter a few hundred years later, people learned to do farming. Still, there was not a lot of food. So, they still had to fast. \nThey used to store grain and cure meat for the cold season. Since there was no system of irrigation, people had to face famine. To deal with the situation, they used to fast regularly so that their stored food last longer. \nOver time, religions spread beliefs and traditions. Aside from many other teachings, religion also taught people to fast. \nIn Hinduism, fasting is known as "Vaasa". The followers of this religion fast during festivals or special days. \n \n\nThe Science Behind Intermittent Fasting\nThis is the era of agriculture and we don't consume food the way our ancestors used to do. As a result, we have a lot of health problems to deal with.\nAlthough Intermittent Fasting is thousands of years old, we have come to know about its benefits a few decades ago. When you observe fasting, what happens is that your body repairs cleanse and regenerates its cells for proper functioning. \nFasting promotes three of the major mechanisms in your body namely the regulation of your circadian biology, lifestyle behaviors, and gut microbiome.\n \nCircadian Biology\nWe have a circadian clock inside of us that makes sure our internal physiological processes work well throughout the day. These rhythms have an impact on your biology and behavior. \nIf this circadian rhythm gets interrupted, it may have a negative impact on your metabolism, which may result in many health problems, such as weight gain, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.\nThis is where intermittent fasting comes in. Based on your feeding signals, your circadian rhythms work and control many behavioral, physiological, and metabolic pathways. They may help you improve your health and enjoy a long, healthy life. Many behavioral interventions like intermittent fasting may help you fix your circadian rhythms. When you are doing IF you will experience a reduction in your weight and better hormonal regulation. These factors can play a great role when it comes to optimizing your health. \n \nThe Gut Microbiome\nThe GI tract, aka the gut, regulates a lot of processes in your body. For instance, your circadian rhythm has an impact on the functions of your gut. For instance, when the glucose levels in your body change, it affects your blood flow, metabolisms, and gastric emptying. This effect is higher during the day. \nTherefore, if your circadian rhythm is chronically disturbed, you will be more likely to suffer from gut problems, impaired metabolism, and chronic diseases. \nThe gut microbiome, aka your "second brain", is the center of attention of many researchers in the here and now. According to experts, it has an effect on your immune function, nutrition, physiology, and metabolism. \nIF can have a positive impact on your gut microbiome. Intermittent fasting can:\n\nReduce gut permeability \nReduce systemic inflammation \nEnhances gut integrity to promote energy\n\n \n\nLifestyle Behaviors\nWith Intermittent fasting, you can change your health behaviors like sleep, energy expenditure, and caloric intake. \nWe know that our calorie intake, activities, and sleep can have an impact on our weight. We may either lose weight or gain it if we change our diet and activity level. \nAccording to a recent study, researchers found that if you increase your nightly fast to 14 hours or more, you may experience a significant reduction in weight and caloric intake. Also, you may have higher energy levels and sound sleep.\nIf you adopt Intermittent fasting, you may also eat less at night. Eating a heavy dinner at night can result in poor quality of sleep. If you don't get sleep for a longer period of time, your body may develop insulin resistance. Aside from this, you may be at a higher risk of cancer, cardiac disease, diabetes, and obesity. \nWhen you intermittent fast, your body becomes strong enough to fight severe stressors. In other words, your immune system gets stronger. And this result or concept is called hormesis. Actually, when you face mild stress, your body cells tend to resist other severe stressors. So, we can say that if something doesn't kill you, it ends up making you stronger.\n \n\nBenefits of Intermittent Fasting\nFad diets cost a lot of money. In contrast, fasting is cheap, convenient, complex and easy to adopt. Plus, everyone can observe intermittent fasting, anytime, anywhere. \nOn the other hand, it's not easy to go on a diet. According to the Health Poll of NPR, around 25% of people who make diet resolutions broke them within 15 days, and half of the rest break their resolutions by the end of January. \nUsually, most diets require you to count and reduce calories and change your eating patterns, meal preparation, and grocery shopping. \nAccording to an estimate, around 45 million US citizens go on a diet on an annual basis. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention presented a report revealing that 70.7% of the grown-ups over the age of 20 are obese or overweight. So, there is something that needs to be changed. \nThe good news is Intermittent Fasting is not a type of diet. \nIntermittent Fasting won't require you to cut down on your caloric consumption. Actually, your caloric intake comes down naturally as you won't eat or drink anything during a specific period during the day. However, it's still a good idea to eat enough calories. \nAlthough a diet that consists of whole foods is healthy, you don't have to make changes to your diet. This is what makes IF a great approach to shed the extra pounds of fat without giving a shock to your body. \nActually, this approach allows you to eat in a way that boosts weight loss and exerts no pressure on lean tissue. This is the reason many bodybuilders tend to opt for intermittent fasting as they can get leaner with no loss of muscle mass. \nGiven below are some other health benefits of Intermittent Fasting: \n\nBetter Endurance and Wind \nBetter Metabolism \nPhysical fitness \nMental Performance \nPsychological \nSpiritual \nTherapeutic \nAnti-aging\nDisease prevention \nFat loss \n\nGiven below is a detailed description of the above-mentioned benefits: \nFat Loss\nWith intermittent fasting, your body learns to adapt to follow the process of fat oxidization for energy. Since you won't eat during a specific window of time, your insulin level drops, which allows your fat cells to emit fatty acids. \nAs a result, the higher levels of glycogen and glucose enables your body to convert the fatty acids into energy instead of using the fatty acids stored in the fat cells. \nActually, your body ends up using fat rather than adding it to storage. \nAnother important factor for Intermittent Fasting adheres as it helps you lose weight. \nBased on many studies, it's proven that people regain weight a few years post a diet. The reason is that they ignore the rules of the diet they are on. This is not something surprising as it's extremely hard to stick to a diet for the long term. \nIn contrast, intermittent fasting requires less effort to sustain and reduce caloric consumption and achieve a weight loss goal.\n \n\nDisease Prevention\nAccording to recent studies, Intermittent fasting can help lower blood glucose levels, which can improve the health of people with type 2 diabetes. \nWord Journal of Diabetes published a report that revealed IF can reduce body weight significantly. Intermittent fasting can:\n\nBoost lipid levels and glucose circulation, which lowers the risk of heart disease, cancer, and neurological disorders. \nReduce blood pressure and inflammation \nImprove stress resistance\n\n \nAnti-aging\nIn the west, aging is the number 1 enemy. They are looking for ways to fight the aging process to live a longer, healthier life. And intermittent fasting can help them do just that. \nStudies are being done to find out more about the anti-aging capabilities of Intermittent Fasting. So far, many studies have shown that IF can decrease fat mass, boost glucose uptake, trigger insulin sensitivity, fight against oxidative damage and reduce blood pressure. All of these factors can help enjoy a longer, healthier life. \nThere are many biological stressors that can trigger autophagy, which is a powerful process that removes underperforming or dead cells and boosts the regeneration process of damaged proteins. \nAs a matter of fact, autophagy is an important natural process. It can play an important role if you want to prevent many diseases like liver disease, autoimmune diseases, cardiomyopathy, diabetes, neurodegeneration, and cancer, just to name a few. \n \nTherapeutic benefits\nPhysical\nAside from managing diabetes, IF is as effective as the drugs used to reduce seizures and the brain damage they cause. Besides, IF is shown to heal rheumatoid arthritis. \nIn addition, many research studies have been done to show the positive effects of this approach to reduce the side-effects of chemotherapy and reduce the morbidity rates linked with cancer.\nSpiritual\nToday, fasting is on the list of popular spiritual practices. In fact, fasting has an important place in all the religions of the world. Here, it's interesting to know that all of the religions are different from each other, but all of them promote the practice of fasting to promote health.\nSome people may argue that intermittent fasting is a type of punishment. In some religions, it's a form of penance, which is a means to achieve a goal, such as well-being, self-love, peace, and forgiveness.\nPsychological\nSince fasting promotes the self-control muscle, it improves your willpower. Actually, it's your conscious decision. So, you take control of your mind and train it the same way you train your muscles at a gym. \nThis training teaches you to control your eating habit and develop your willpower to control the rest of your life aspects. According to a recent study, women who observe intermittent fasting enjoy a higher sense of control, reward, price, and achievement.\nWith stronger willpower, you can enjoy a higher sense of self-esteem and accomplishment. Many studies have proved that self-control is on the list of many factors that can help you lead a happy, successful life.\nAlso, breaking your fast after a whole day can give you a sense of gratitude for what you eat.\n \n\nSuperior mental performance\nAccording to doctors, intermittent fasting can help improve your cognitive function and increase brain power. \nActually, intermittent fasting tends to trigger neuronal autophagy that boosts the recycling of your brain cells, which promotes optimal function eventually. \nMany studies have provided strong evidence that the interference in neuronal autophagy may result in neurodegeneration. As a result, your brain may not function properly and you may not be able to give your best performance. \nIntermittent fasting also increases the amount of brain-derived neurotrophic factor aka BDNF, which is a type of protein in your brain. \nThe role of this protein is to communicate with other parts of your brain that are responsible for controlling your cognitive function, memory, and learning. Experts claim that BDNF provides protection for your brain, in addition, to help grow new ones. \nIntermittent fasting boosts ketogenesis allowing your body to burn fat for energy. In other words, it metabolizes fat to produce ketones that have no problem bypassing the barriers and providing your brain with energy. As a result, your brain can work better and you feel increased energy and a higher level of productivity. \nIf you combine IF with a healthy whole-food diet, you can control your blood sugar levels triggered by a diet rich in carbs. We know that a high-carb diet in diabetic patients may cause low mood issues and brain fog.\n \n\nBetter physical fitness\nIf you are worried about your physical fitness, know that IF can help you there as well. Given below are some common benefits that you can enjoy. \nBetter Metabolism\nIF helps you train your digestive system and mind to eat during a specific period of time. So, you eat the right amount of food providing your body with enough calories. If you fast and follow a keto diet at the same time, you can avoid binge eating. \nUnlike the popular belief, IF can't have a negative impact on your metabolic system. \nIn fact, fasting supports your metabolism, which enables your body to get the most out of fats and glucose. \nBetter Endurance \nTypically, athletes, such as football players develop and maintain their wind and endurance through cardio exercises and running. \nIn the fitness world, VO2 refers to the maximum amount of O2 an athlete consumes in a minute per kg of their body weight during intense activity. \nAs the intensity of your exercise goes up, you need more oxygen. VO2 is the measure of how fit you are. Top athletes have double the capacity of inexperienced people. \nIn a research study, researchers did an experiment to test the max VO2 levels of a group of people who didn't have their breakfast. Another group was tested an hour after they had their breakfast. \nThe starting VO2 levels of both the groups was 3.5 L\/min. This is a regular figure for untrained people. The participants went through training. After the test, the group that fasted had a higher level of VO2 capacity than the ones who were tested after breakfast.\n \n \nIntermittent Fasting and Bodybuilding\nAccording to some people, intermittent fasting allows them to feel and train better. Reduced hunger is one of the primary benefits of intermittent fasting. Delays occur but you have one or two larger meals instead of 4 to 6 meals in 24 hours. Most bodybuilders claim that they are happy with two larger meals instead of several small ones. \nHowever, you still need to keep an eye on your protein consumption if you are struggling to build your muscles. \nIf you consume a lot of protein at once, you won't be able to get the energy you need for the day. The max amount of protein you can have at a time is 20 grams. So, you can't enjoy any additional benefits by consuming 40 grams of protein at once. It won't work. \nSo, what you need to do is evenly distribute your protein consumption throughout the day when you are training. You can also have supplements based on your needs, such as the products found on Nowketo\nBCAAs\nBCAAs refer to branched-chain amino acids. They provide protection against muscle damage, boost recovery, reduce the breakdown of protein and curb the feelings of depletion when you are involved in intense physical activity. \nWhy the emphasis?\nActually, BCAAs provides you energy just like protein, which means you are not fasting. However, it's not the same when you are training as BCAAs work like a solid energy source.; \nCreatine\nIf you take e to 5 grams of creatine supplements on a daily basis, you can build your lean body mass, strength, and power. Although you can have creatine supplements before or after breakfast, it's better to have it after you have trained. \nBeta-alanine\nActually, the role of beta-alanine is to boost your endurance as it raises the carnosine levels. The carnosine is a type of buffer between the hydrogen ions and your cells. If you have beta-alanine, you can have a higher level of energy. So, you won't get tired so quickly. \nRemember: Your fasting approach should be based on the type of physical training you do. That's the reason there are many types of Intermittent Fasting. You can choose the right method to boost your performance and maintain health.