We know that fasting increases HGH (human growth hormone) which leads to increased longevity. Fasting normalizes many of the body’s hormone levels (insulin, leptin, ghrelin) and lowers oxidative stress. Animal studies show that intermittent fasting increases longevity. There have not been enough studies to absolutely confirm that in humans. However, there are several that show great results.
When we fast, our bodies convert its energy source from glucose to ketones. We are burning fat for our daily energy needs. Ironically, the brain prefers ketones to glucose for fuel. Human studies of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) correlate highly with those previously performed on animals. BDNF levels were significantly increased with IF. Intermediate fasting on alternate days, with severely restricted calories (around 600 calories) eaten on fasting days, resulted in increases of 50 percent to 400 percent BDNF.
Fasting can actually mean a lot of things – from eating nothing to eating much less than normal while fasting. IF can be every other day or just one or two days a week. People who commit to intermittent fasting seem to prefer the alternate day approach – eating normally on one day and severely cutting back on the fast days. Success has been achieved more often when one meal is consumed on a fast day rather than eating two or more small meals. I personally fast 18 hours each day and eat a nutritionally balanced meal – sometimes two.
Our bodies burn fat (ketones) slower than glucose. When we put ourselves into ketosis (the condition in which your body is living on its fat as its primary fuel), we don’t experience the ups and downs associated with glucose as a fuel source. It is easier to maintain this type of lifestyle. Testing has shown that certain body conditions/parameters stabilize when we adapt this type of intermittent fasting:
● Blood pressure
● Hormone levels
We should make healthy food choices during any type of fasting program we pursue. Personally, I find it easy to eat my meals aligned with the Wahls Protocol. I know I am getting balanced nutrition and my caloric intake is considerably less than it was when I was not on any eating strategy.
Fasting, intermittent or otherwise, is not for everyone. Please see your physician before undertaking any kind of dieting protocol. Nutrition is of utmost importance when undergoing any type of fasting program.