Benefits of intermittent and prolonged fasting
If you thought Intermittent Fasting is a hack that bodybuilders adopt to lose fat quickly while maintaining a lean body; then you might have not really known the bigger benefits that intermittent and prolonged fasting holds. Before we discuss that further, let’s look at where this latest trend actually started.
Intermittent fasting is the name some nutrition experts give to the practise of occasionally going for extended periods without eating, which apparently we all do every single day while sleeping but don’t really give it this fancy name.
Early human settlements had to go and search or hunt for their food each day. So by the time they consumed their first meal of the day, it was around noon (or 12 PM). Post that they had to finish their last meal before sunset as it would be too dark after sunset.
“Early settlements had no fire available, so there was no source of light except for sunlight,” exerts Lalit Mohan Kapoor, Health and Nutrition Coach.
So genetically our bodies are used to eating only during the window of 12 PM – 6 PM (or before sunset based on your timezone). However, the development of electricity and the light bulb led to this window increasing from 12 PM – 9 PM. This meant the body was in continuous insulin production mode for longer periods. As access to food became easier, the food intake window further increased from 7 AM – 9 PM. This left the body with very little time to fast and heal itself.
When your body doesn’t receive food for a long period of time or you do intermittent fasting the insulin levels of your blood drops significantly, which facilitates fat burning. Also, the blood levels of growth hormone may increase as much as 5-fold, which further facilitates fat burning and muscle gain. The fasting also helps the body induce important cellular repair processes, such as removing waste material from cells and also changes gene expressions.
In other words, intermittent fasting works on both sides of the calorie equation. It boosts your metabolic rate (increases calories out) and reduces the amount of food you eat (reduces calories in).
But to achieve an apt weight loss, Mr Lalit suggests that, “We should eat whatever we want to eat and as much as we want to eat, but we must eat it in a narrow window, preferably of eight hours or less and this eating window can be like you have your breakfast at 11 and finish your dinner by 7.”
Interestingly, intermittent fasting has been shown to have major benefits for insulin resistance and lead to an impressive reduction in blood sugar levels.
In human studies by the University of Alabama, it revealed that this fasting also lowers blood sugar levels by 3-6%, while fasting insulin has been reduced by 20-31%.
Having said the above, in order to get a better understanding of how this function, please listen to our video where Mr. Lalit speaks about intermittent and prolonged fasting in detail.