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Intermittent Fasting Can Improve Your Health: Fact or Fiction


Intermittent Fasting is another form of weight-loss strategy which is extremely prevalent these days. The simplified definition of the term is to plan your eating pattern in a way that revolves around fasting for a specific period of time and eating for the rest of it. Just like the other rampant dietary trends like Keto, vegan, weight watcher, and Mediterranean diet, people have mixed views about intermittent fasting.

Some research has shown that it helps in weight-loss significantly, some claim that it has health benefits attached to it and some say that it works as any other diet plan would. So the main question here is that, is intermittent fasting healthy? Or just like the previous trendy diet-restriction strategies, it promises more than it can actually deliver.

How Does Intermittent Fasting Work? 

To find out if intermittent fasting is healthy or not, we first need to grasp an understanding of how exactly it works?

Whenever we eat, a partial amount of food is ingested, which is used immediately. The rest of it is stored using a hormone called insulin in our body. The carbohydrates from the food are broken into separate units of glucose, which are stored in the muscles and liver. Once the capacity of storage reaches as there is very limited storage space for carbohydrates, the liver turns the surplus of glucose into fat, which is deposited into different parts of a person’s body. 

This entire process is reversed when we fast, the level of insulin hormones in our body drop significantly which leads to the body using up the stored glucose in the liver and muscle and once that is used up (which takes up to 24 to 36 hours) are body starts breaking down fat to use as energy. 

Ways To Do Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent is an umbrella term that covers many ways and approaches to fast. But here are the most popular approaches:

•             Daily time-restricted eating in which a person is supposed to eat within a specific period of time like 8 hours and fast for the rest of it. You can either skip breakfast or dinner to eat within the timeframe. 

•             The 5:2 diet or the Fast diet means a person can eat normally for days and fast or have a restricted calorie intake for two days. 

•             Alternate-day fasting means to eat regularly one day and fast or have one small meal the next day.

•             Eat-Stop-Eat which means a person fasts for 24 hours, once or twice a week. 

What Does The Research Tell Us?

There is a significant amount of research that supports intermittent fasting having health benefits. According to Mark Mattson, a senior investigator in the National Institute of Health (NIH), it is said to help in stress management and preserve learning and memory functioning. 

A study from the University of Alabama in which two small groups of obese men with pre-diabetes followed two types of time-restricted eating plans: one for 8 hours and the other for 12 hours and after 5 weeks the eight hours group had significantly improved insulin sensitivity and insulin levels in the body, along with lower blood pressure. 

Another study concluded that the impact of intermittent fasting on various biomarkers can eventually prevent severe conditions like cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and diabetes but it is important to know that this study was conducted on animals. 

A study from 2015 also showed enhanced parasympathetic activity mediated acetylcholine which leads to an increase in gut motility, which decreased heart rate and blood pressure.

The research and findings on intermittent fasting and its health benefits, although significant, are mostly in their early stages. Some of them are done on animals like rodents, rats, and monkeys. Researchers are leaning towards more human trials now.  Like any other diet-oriented strategies there are some restrictions attached to it like people aged less than 18 years, people who have or are prone to eating disorders, pregnant women, and breastfeeding mothers are advised not to go for this form of eating habit. 

Final Verdict

It’s also important to note that even on the days you are supposed to eat, the quality of food you eat matters a lot. If you end up eating junk food or adhere to unhealthy eating practices, you can’t expect a healthy outcome. 

Intermittent fasting, as evidence shows, impacts the cardiovascular system, the neurological system, and also the different health concerns that you might be facing like hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and even sleeping issues like insomnia. If you have the said health concern or any other health concern that you need immediate attendance to visit Manhattan Medical Arts. Our experienced team of doctors will ensure all your problems are catered without any compromises.

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