13 Surprising Benefits of Intermittent Fasting That Every Faster Should Know About

October 1, 2021

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Intermittent fasting has has many benefits, both obvious and less known. We’re breaking down 13 of the most important and interesting advantages known so far.

  • Intermittent fasting aids weight loss and helps to lose visceral fat.
  • It also promotes steady blood sugar and reduces insulin resistance.
  • Fasting fights inflammation in the body and reduces oxidative stress levels.
  • Your cardiovascular health may be improved by intermittent fasting.
  • Fasting may also aid cognitive health.
  • Intermittent fasting may reduce the risk of cancer.
  • It may also extend the lifespan and delay aging.
  • It has been proved that fasting induces autophagy.
  • Fasting may also increase HGH production.
  • May prevent cancer.
  • Intermittent fasting may also help prevent Alzheimer's disease.
  • Fasting is also linked to benefiting the skin.
  • Intermittent fasting simplifies your life and saves you money.
  • How to start fasting?
  • Are there any known side effects of intermittent fasting?

  1. Intermittent Fasting Aids Weight Loss and Helps To Lose Visceral Fat

One of the best benefits of fasting is how effectively you can lose weight. Using fasting and eating periods and limiting calorie intake induces metabolic switching into a state of ketosis, which makes your body burn fat. 

This is because the body switches from using sugar stores and begins burning fat, instead. The longer you stay in ketosis by fasting and time-restricted feeding, the better your body will function and boost your entire metabolism. Thus, more weight loss and burned visceral fat stores.

  1. Promotes Steady Blood Sugar and Reduces Insulin Resistance

Blood sugar levels are greatly affected by the number of carbohydrates and sugar in your normal diet, as the body processes them as glucose. 

And when glucose stores are too high, and the body’s insulin levels cannot effectively bring them down, it causes insulin sensitivity and resistance that harms the entire system. 

However, because fasting reduces insulin resistance and promotes low blood sugar levels, it’s a great way to prevent type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes, and can even reverse the need for insulin therapy in some cases.

  1. Fasting Fights Inflammation in the Body and Reduces Oxidative Stress Levels

While inflammation can be a natural response to healing a wound, chronic inflammation in the body can lead to a variety of chronic diseases, including cancer, asthma, arthritis, and more. 

Additionally, oxidative stress plays a further role in such health conditions— where there is an imbalance in the body between natural hormones and chemicals, leading to things like Parkinson’s disease, strokes, and chronic fatigue.

In both cases, intermittent fasting works to reduce both inflammation and oxidative stress levels, by optimizing the metabolism to regulate hormones and suppress the release of monocytes or inflammatory cells in the bloodstream.

  1. Your Cardiovascular Health May Be Improved by Intermittent Fasting

Heart disease and high blood pressure are rampant issues across the country. 

But when your body starts burning fat for weight loss, human studies have shown that blood pressure can lower significantly, reducing the pressure on your heart. 

In addition, intermittent fasting has proven to lessen cholesterol in the body, which also aids in cardiovascular health and actively prevents heart disease, strokes, and high blood pressure disorders. And the results of lowering your body weight to safe levels simply enhance these heart health effects.

  1. Fasting May Also Aid Cognitive Health

Brain function is a necessary tool for our daily lives, and many people can experience things like mental fog or difficulty focussing. 

But one of the many health benefits of fasting is for your neurological health, as scientific evidence shows that metabolic switching raises the level of neuroplasticity in your brain. This essentially means that your brain is able to optimize its functions and be much more resilient to any changes or even trauma.

And because of this, fasting can help prevent neurological damage, including dementia and other degenerative disorders, as well as improving mental clarity and cognitive abilities.

  1. Intermittent Fasting May Reduce the Risk of Cancer

Among other factors, cancer can be worsened by the level of inflammation in the body. And while fasting certainly has health benefits that assist with lowering inflammatory responses, this type of restriction and eating window cycle can actually reduce the risk of cancer even further.

That’s because cancer cells thrive on blood sugar and use glucose to fuel their spread in the bloodstream. By limiting your calories consumed and eating a healthy diet, you can limit the amount of carbs and sugar that feed cancer cells, not only slowing its spread but preventing it from taking hold in the first place.

  1. May Also Extend Lifespan and Delay Aging

Many studies have examined the anti-aging properties of intermittent fasting and its health benefits, and so far the results are positive. According to scientific evidence, animal studies have shown promise for extending the longevity of short-lived creatures like mice. 

Additionally, more proof on the importance of intermittent fasting, circadian rhythm, and mitochondrial cellular structures has circulated in health news.

In this case, the ability of intermittent fasting’s effects of rejuvenation actually improve the resilience of mitochondria over time and can delay the effects of aging within your cells— and thus, extend to the rest of your body, including skin, organs, and bones.

  1. Has Been Proved That Fasting Induces Autophagy

And speaking of autophagy, it’s actually one of the key stages of intermittent fasting and one that should never be overlooked as part of a healthy lifestyle. 

Autophagy occurs after ketosis when the body is able to finally use enough energy to detox itself completely and remove damaged cells and waste, essentially rebooting your entire system on a molecular and cellular level.

This is an essential health benefit of fasting and does a lot of work for preventing disease and purging damage from the body.

  1. Fasting May Also Increase HGH Production

HGH, or the human growth hormone, is a natural bodily secretion responsible for maintaining healthy brain and organ tissues, as well as repairing your muscles and lean tissue deposits. And fasting is a great way to increase HGH production.

Additionally, it helps boost the metabolism and decrease fat stores, leading to quicker and more permanent weight loss. And while this is advantageous by itself, don’t forget all the associated benefits that come with lower body weight and healthy living that we have previously mentioned!

  1. May Prevent Cancer

Because fasting removes glucose levels from your blood that cancer can use to spread and also reduces levels of inflammation and oxidative stress, it’s great for preventing the disease. 

However, another aspect of intermittent fasting, written about in terms of breast cancer, is that calorie restriction can help cancer treatments be more effective, and prevent the further spread of it. 

In particular, an internal medicine review that provides supporting research suggests that short-term fasting or even plans like the Leangains diet that mimic fasting and use a reduced calorie intake reduces antitumor immunity for patients.

  1. Intermittent Fasting May Also Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

We already touched upon how intermittent fasting helps with cognition and brain health, but one of the other benefits of fasting is its effects on neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, fasting lowers instances of neuroinflammation, and through autophagy, allows the brain to heal and repair itself. Further, fasting can be seen as a therapeutic treatment for vascular dementia and can proactively guard against further neurodegenerative ailments.

  1. Fasting Is Also Linked To Benefiting the Skin

Not only does fasting help reduce toxins throughout the body and level out hormone fluctuations that can cause acne, but studies also show that a fast diet decreases sebum secretion by nearly half. 

Sebum is the substance that forms an oily, wax-like coat on the skin and traps dirt and grease inside the pores, leading to acne, skin infections, and other dermatological problems. And by decreasing sebum levels, fasting allows the skin to clear up and heal itself. 

  1. Intermittent Fasting Simplifies Your Life and Saves You Money

Necessarily, continuous calorie restriction during fasting periods involves eating less. So, because your meal plans are constrained, you not only can save money on groceries and expensive junk food, but you can also plan meals well in advance and simplify your entire eating schedule!

How To Start Fasting? 

If these benefits of fasting sound enticing to you, why not give this lifestyle a try? Keep on reading for the top intermittent fasting types and some tips to help you get started with your new well-being journey!

  1. Get Familiar With Various Intermittent Fasting Types

There are many types of intermittent fasting, depending on how long you want to remain in a calorie deficit and ketosis. And while you see results with each, some fasting plans are stricter and more effective— just build your way up to them!

  • 12:12 Fast— One of the easiest methods, you essentially sleep through most of the fast, but still allow your body to enter ketosis (which happens after about 10-12 hours of restriction) for weight loss and health benefits.
  • 14:10 Fast— When fasting for 14 hours, you can expect to lose plenty of weight quite easily, including lower blood pressure and insulin, too. It’s a great starting point for beginners.
  • 16:8 Fast— This fast is great for regulating the circadian rhythm and letting your neurological processes reset for 16 hours, with 8 hours left for fueling yourself.
  • 18:6 Fast— You can typically fit two full meals into the 6-hour window, leaving 18 hours for extended ketosis and all its benefits.
  • 20:4 (AKA “The Warrior Diet”)— A tough but effective method, you can lose weight and control blood pressure by only eating within a 4-hour window per day, and fasting for the rest.
  • 23:1 (OMAD - One Meal A Day)— As the name suggests, eating once a day allows for prolonged ketosis and a significantly increased fat burning rate.
  • 24-Hour Fast— Though daunting, going for a full day without food actually allows your body time to repair itself and regulate gut enzymes, which is crucial.
  • Alternate-Day Fasting— Essentially an alternation between fasting for 24-hours and then fueling for a day, this method produces huge results for lowering BMI.
  • 5:2 Fast— Fasting for two non-consecutive days of the week with under 500-600 calories, and eating normally for the rest shows excellent fat reduction and heart health results.
  • 48-Hour Fast— As you fast for two days, you experience maximum autophagy and ketosis, leading to massive weight loss and better cognitive ability.
  • Random Meal Skipping— Not a strict plan to follow, but skipping meals during the week can also be beneficial for those with a busy schedule.
  1. Create Realistic Goals Before Starting a Fasting Journey

While your long-term goals might be substantial, it’s important to manage them and set achievable steps and milestones for yourself. For example, don’t go into intermittent fasting expecting to lose 15 pounds in the first week— it’s unsustainable and you will end up feeling defeated.

Instead, set S.M.A.R.T. goals— make them specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. This will help you stay within realistic goal boundaries and stay honest with yourself!

  1. Get a Fasting App That Takes off the Pressure of Managing and Tracking All Aspects of Fasting and Eating Windows

Take the hassle out of fasting and eating windows by using the DoFasting app that does all the work for you. The app has timers and notifications to alert you when a fasting period or eating slot begins and ends, which helps you to stay on track and accomplish your goals.

You can also log your meals, find recipes for nutrient-dense foods, track your water intake, and start an exercise regimen, all from your smartphone.

  1. Seek Online and Offline Support That Would Make the Beginning of the Intermittent Fasting Journey Easier

Instead of craving high-calorie junk food or dreaming about when you can next eat lunch on your own, reach out to others who know what you are experiencing. Friends online and in the real world are essential to sticking to intermittent fasting, and sharing struggles and success stories.

Check out the DoFasting Facebook page or Reddit group to make some supportive connections and ensure you won’t have to smash your goals alone!

Are There Any Known Side Effects of Intermittent Fasting?

Fasting is generally safe for most individuals, though it is known to have a few short-term, non-threatening side effects. These include headaches, fatigue, and irritability, but will often pass quickly.

Additionally, there are certain groups of people who should not attempt fasting without medical supervision or a professional who can provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, including those with:

  • A history of eating disorders.
  • Breastfeeding, pregnant, or trying to conceive.
  • Chronic diseases.
  • Diabetes.
  • Heart problems.
  • Insomniacs.
  • Struggling with pre-existing, chronic conditions.
  • Taking prescription medications.
  • Under the age of 18.

Conclusion 

Intermittent fasting is a popular diet, but it’s much more than just deciding to skip breakfast or avoid sugar for a few days. Instead, it can change your whole life for the better.

Among other benefits, you can produce energy for longer periods by fasting for several days a week, experience more fat loss and better overall health, and your entire body will thank you for leading a healthy lifestyle.

Check out some of our intermittent fasting types and see which fits your schedule today.

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