One of the newest discoveries in the world of medicine is that fasting for 14-16 hours of the day and fitting in your day’s worth of calories into short 8-10 hour windows can help you lose weight.
This behavior is known as intermittent fasting.
And intermittent fasting has is gaining popularity as a proven and desirable weight loss method.
What’s interesting about intermittent fasting isn’t just that it helps people lose weight.
It’s the fact there are a number of other therapeutic benefits associated with it.
Among these are the significant discovery that fasting can help fight aging, cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and more.
The way intermittent fasting does this isn’t all that complicated. When a person fasts, many body processes are enhanced. This includes elevated hormone levels, balanced blood sugar, improved blood pressure, reduced markers for inflammation, and improved digestion.
All of these work in combination to improve your body’s ability to fight disease.
A recent study by the Journal Cell Metabolism shows the underlying physiology behind this:
Italian researchers created a diet called the Fasting Mimicking Diet (FMD) to see how fasting affects the body.
This diet requires subjects to go 5 days a month consuming a restricted amount of protein and calories, thereby helping the body revert to burning stored reserves of fat.
The diet described in the study — isn’t quite as extreme as actual fasting.
It works like this:
For 25 days out of the month, dieters can eat as they normally would — the good, bad and in-between. Then, for day one of the diet, they would eat 1,090 calories: 10 percent protein, 56 percent fat and 34 percent carbohydrates. For days two through five, 725 calories: 9 percent protein, 44 percent fat, 47 percent carbohydrates.
In the study, participants consumed a lot of vegetable soup, kale crackers, and chamomile tea. The calories consumed are 54 to 34 percent of what a typical person might eat in a day.
What happens when the body is subjected to this kind of forced caloric deprivation? It responds favorably.
“Co-author Valter D. Longo, who studies longevity, described the idea behind fasting as a way to “reboot” a person’s body by clearing out damaged cells and regenerating new ones.
“‘It’s about reprogramming the body so it enters a slower aging mode but also rejuvenating it …’ he said. ‘It’s not a typical diet, because it isn’t something you need to stay on.’”
This qualifies intermittent fasting not just as a reasonable diet to pursue weight loss, but to help promote better overall health.