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The Benefit of Fasting Diet

15 August 2019

Introduction

The prevalence of obesity is increasing worldwide. This prevalence varies between different countries. In the UK, over the past 15 years, the prevalence of obesity rose from 6% to 17% from 1980 to 1995. Other European countries, for example, Netherland has observed an approximately 6% increase in obesity. Obesity is also increasing rapidly in Asia


The number of calories that people ingest has a direct effect on their bodyweight. If you are is consuming and burning the same number of calories, your body weight remains constant. But if you consume more calories than you burn your body weight increases.


Scientific studies have shown that different types of food patters save your body from certain diseases, such as diabetes, heart diseases, and some chronic conditions. These foods also control your body weight such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts. But there are some foods that may enhance the risks of acquiring diseases such as sugary drinks and refined grains.


To maintain good health, the kind of fat is more important than the amount and it also helps in weight control. In a health study, the consumption of unhealthy fats contributes to weight gain.


Fasting diet or intermittent fasting has been a very famous strategy in recent years to reduce weight and get rid of obesity-related problems. It helps to reduce weight, improve metabolic health as well as extend lifespan. Due to its high effectiveness, different methods of intermittent fasting have been introduced. The effectiveness of every method depends on the physiology of any individual.


Fasting is the most effective method to gain more energy as well as lose weight. It also helps to improve memory, reduces the risk for diseases just making small changes in your diet. 


Benefits of Fasting Diet

Despite recent popularity, fasting is a famous practice in different religions and cultures for thousands of years. There are several ways of fasting in which people avoid drinking and eating foods for a defined period of time. This time period may vary in different methods and cultures.

Similarly, intermittent fasting involves cycling periods of fasting and eating, ranging from hours to days at a time. Experts have claimed that a fasting diet exhibits various health benefits, from enhanced weight loss to improvement in brain function.


Some of the health benefits of fasting diet have been discussed below:


1. Controls Blood Sugar Level

Several studies have shown that fasting diet is very beneficial in certain health problems such as diabetes. It improves the blood sugar level and reduces the risk of diabetes. Alternate-day fasting and intermittent fasting have controlled the calorie intake effectively and have shown significantly reduced blood sugar levels. It also reduces insulin resistance.

Reducing insulin resistance can enhance the body’s sensitivity to insulin. It helps to transport glucose from the blood to different cells more efficiently. It prevents sudden crashes and spikes in blood sugar levels.

Some studies have found that fasting may exhibit different impacts on blood sugar levels for women and men. For example, a 3-week study found that alternate-day fasting affects blood sugar levels in women but it showed no effects in men.


2. Fight Inflammation

Inflammation is a normal function of the immune system to fight infection. In the case of chronic inflammation, there can be some severe health hazards. It may lead to certain chronic conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, heart diseases and cancer. Experts claim that fasting assists in reducing inflammation level and promote better health. Studies have found that intermittent fasting for one month and fasting 12 hours a day significantly reduces levels of inflammatory markers.

Another animal study showed that following a very low-calorie diet to mimic the effects of fasting decreased levels of inflammation. It was also very beneficial to treat certain chronic inflammatory conditions such as multiple sclerosis.


3. Improving Blood Pressure and Heart Health

Heart disease is one of the major causes of death globally. It accounts for almost 31.5% of deaths around the world. Change in lifestyle and diet is the most effective way to decrease the risk of heart disorders. According to some studies, incorporating fasting into your daily routine is very beneficial for your heart health. It reduces the levels of blood triglycerides and bad LDL cholesterol by 32% and 25% respectively.

Another research was conducted in 110 obese adults. It found that 3 weeks fasting under medical supervision reduced the blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, and levels of blood triglycerides significantly. It also reduces the risk of diabetes and coronary artery disease that leads to heart complications.


4. Boost Brain Function

Fasting has numerous beneficial effects on brain health and prevents various neurodegenerative disorders. A study has found that intermittent fasting for 10 months improves both brain structure and brain function. It protects the brain health and enhances the generation of nerve cells to increase cognitive function

As fasting relieves inflammation, it also prevents certain neurodegenerative disorders. An animal study has shown that fasting is very beneficial for patients of certain brain disorders including Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. However, different studies are being carried out to determine the effects of fasting on human brain function.


5. Boosting Metabolism and aid weight loss

Obesity is one of the leading causes of certain health disorders such as diabetes, metabolic disorders, and heart complications. Fasting is the most effective, easy and quick way to shed a few pounds. By avoiding beverages and certain foods, you can reduce your overall calorie intake that results in enhanced weight loss. Intermittent fasting for only 12-24 weeks increases the level of neurotransmitter that boosts the metabolism and decreases weight by up to 10%.

Another study has shown that intermittent fasting over 4–12 weeks is more effective in decreasing weight than continuous calorie restriction and it reduces fat mass and body weight by up to 16% and 8% respectively.


6. Growth Hormone Secretion

Human growth hormone (HGH) is a protein hormone that plays a crucial role in various aspects of your health. It is involved in metabolism, muscle strength, growth, and weight loss. Various studies have claimed that fasting for 24 hours can naturally enhance HGH levels significantly.

Another small study in 9 people showed that fasting for 2 days results in a 5-fold increase in the HGH production rate. It also aids to maintain insulin and steady blood sugar level throughout the day. Maintaining an increased level of insulin may decrease HGH levels.


7. Delay Ageing

Researches have indicated significant lifespan-extending effects of fasting. An animal study on rats has shown that fasting decreased the rate of aging and rats lived 83% longer than rats that didn’t fast. Fasting is effective in enhancing survival rates and longevity. However, current research is still limited to animal studies. Further studies are required to understand how fasting may impact longevity and aging in humans.


8. Cancer Prevention and Enhance the Effectiveness of Chemotherapy

Several animal studies found that fasting can be beneficial in the prevention and treatment of cancer. It helps to block tumor formation. It also enhances the effectiveness of chemotherapy on tumor growth and cancer formation. However, most research is limited to the effects of fasting on cancer formation in animals and cells. Further studies are required to understand how fasting may prevent cancer formation in humans.


Conclusion

Although fasting has countless beneficial impacts on the human body, there are some side effects that are also associated with this practice in certain conditions. For instance, in case of low blood sugar level or diabetes, fasting may result in crashes and spikes in your blood sugar levels, which could be serious. It’s best to consult your physician first if you are planning to fast for more than 24 hours or you have any health conditions. Additionally, fasting is not usually recommended to underweight individuals and older adults without medical supervision. If you are planning to try fasting, be sure to stay well-hydrated and fill your diet with nutrient-dense foods during your eating periods to maximize the potential health benefits.

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