Intermittent fasting (IF) has become increasingly popular in recent years as a dietary strategy for weight loss, improved health, and increased longevity. But what is IF, and why might it be beneficial from an evolutionary biology and human physiology perspective?
As busy individuals, we often prioritize work and other responsibilities over our health and well-being. However, intermittent fasting (IF) is an effective and time-efficient way to improve our health and longevity outcomes.
First, let’s dive into the science behind IF. Our ancestors evolved to survive periods of feast and famine, meaning our bodies are designed to function optimally even when food is scarce. During periods of fasting, our body shifts into a state of ketosis, where it burns stored fat for energy instead of glucose from carbohydrates. This not only helps with weight loss but also improves metabolic health by reducing insulin resistance and inflammation.
From an evolutionary biology perspective, IF may be beneficial because our ancestors likely experienced periods of food scarcity and had to adapt to survive. Our bodies evolved to be able to store excess energy as fat, which could be used during periods of food scarcity. By restricting food intake for short periods of time, we may be able to tap into these stored energy reserves and improve our metabolic health.
Research suggests that IF can have a number of benefits for human physiology. For example, fasting has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity, which can improve blood sugar control and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Fasting may also promote the production of ketones, which can be used by the brain and body as an alternative fuel source.
One of the biggest benefits of IF is its ability to increase lifespan and promote longevity. Studies on rodents have shown that fasting can extend lifespan by up to 50%. Additionally, IF has been shown to improve brain function and cognitive performance, as well as reduce the risk of age-related neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
But what about energy levels? Contrary to popular belief, fasting does not make you feel sluggish or tired. In fact, when our bodies are in a state of ketosis, we often experience increased mental clarity and focus, as well as sustained energy levels throughout the day.
So, how can busy individuals incorporate IF into their routine? One popular method is the 16/8 method, where you fast for 16 hours and eat during an 8-hour window. For example, you could have your last meal at 8 pm and then not eat again until noon the next day. This can easily be incorporated into a busy work schedule, as it allows you to skip breakfast and have more time in the morning to focus on work or other tasks.
Intermittent fasting is a time-efficient and effective way to improve your health, longevity, and energy levels. By incorporating IF into your routine, you can prioritize your health without sacrificing your busy lifestyle.
Intermittent fasting (IF) and calorie restriction (CR) are two dietary strategies that have been studied for their potential health benefits and impact on longevity. Here are some of the potential benefits of these strategies:
- Improved metabolic health: IF and CR have been shown to improve markers of metabolic health, such as blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity. This can reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers.
- Weight loss: Both IF and CR can lead to weight loss, which can improve overall health and reduce the risk of obesity-related diseases.
- Improved brain function: Studies suggest that IF and CR may improve cognitive function, including memory and attention, as well as potentially reducing the risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
- Increased longevity: Studies in animals have shown that both IF and CR can increase lifespan, although more research is needed to determine if these effects are seen in humans as well.
- Increased energy: Some individuals report increased energy and improved physical performance when practicing IF or CR, although this can vary based on individual factors such as age, activity level, and overall health.
In conclusion, combining intermittent fasting with proper resistance training and a real food nutrition is not only a sustainable approach to achieving long-term weight loss and improved health outcomes but also the best strategy to awaken your genetic capability of being lean, strong, and healthy. By utilizing the ancient wisdom of fasting and the cutting-edge science of resistance training, you can achieve your fitness and health goals without sacrificing your busy lifestyle. So, start incorporating these lifestyle changes into your routine today and unlock your full potential for a healthy, vibrant, and fulfilling life.
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Marcelo Mesquita -Exercise Physiologist / Director
Sure, here are some studies that support the statements made in the blog post about the benefits of intermittent fasting:
- Anton SD, Moehl K, Donahoo WT, et al. Flipping the Metabolic Switch: Understanding and Applying the Health Benefits of Fasting. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2018;26(2):254-268. doi:10.1002/oby.22065
- Mattson MP, Longo VD, Harvie M. Impact of intermittent fasting on health and disease processes. Ageing Res Rev. 2017;39:46-58. doi:10.1016/j.arr.2016.10.005
- Patterson RE, Sears DD. Metabolic Effects of Intermittent Fasting. Annu Rev Nutr. 2017;37:371-393. doi:10.1146/annurev-nutr-071816-064634
- Tinsley GM, La Bounty PM. Effects of intermittent fasting on body composition and clinical health markers in humans. Nutr Rev. 2015;73(10):661-674. doi:10.1093/nutrit/nuv041
- Longo VD, Panda S. Fasting, Circadian Rhythms, and Time-Restricted Feeding in Healthy Lifespan. Cell Metab. 2016;23(6):1048-1059. doi:10.1016/j.cmet.2016.06.001
- Varady KA, Hellerstein MK. Alternate-day fasting and chronic disease prevention: a review of human and animal trials. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007;86(1):7-13. doi:10.1093/ajcn/86.1.7
- Horne BD, Muhlestein JB, Anderson JL. Health effects of intermittent fasting: hormesis or harm? A systematic review. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015;102(2):464-470. doi:10.3945/ajcn.115.109553