IF (also called Restricted Eating) is a way of eating that employs a fasting window of 24 hours or less. IF has been used to facilitate weight loss, build lean muscle mass, improve digestion, decrease inflammation throughout the body as well as to increase energy levels.
IF is a way of life, not a diet. Our bodies are designed to fast and feed in regular cycles – our first meal of the day is after all called BreakFast! We are all very good at the feeding part but we miss the opportunity to take full advantage of the fasting part. During fasting hours, our bodies continue working and when not overwhelmed with the work of digesting food, our bodies can focus on repairing cells, healing illness as well as detoxifying our blood. More on the benefits of IF later.
Employing IF as a lifestyle choice facilitates our physiological organism to function at a more optimal frequency, thereby impacting our health and well-being in a plethora of ways – from digestive health to emotional balance, it all begins (and ends!) in the gastrointestinal track.
Overall calorie intake is lowered
Studies show that IF increases our glycemic control as well as our metabolic functions. Moreover, some studies show that IF does not promote loss of lean muscle mass, in fact they have shown that IF reduces inflammation, promotes weight loss as well as reducing certain risks of cancer associated with obesity and inflammation. Even if you choose to follow the least restrictive IF program, calorie intake overall is reduced in all types of IF practice.
Hunger is good
IF helps us to recognize real hunger versus emotional or habitual eating. We tend to habitually reach for food at certain times of the day, during certain events or as a way to calm and comfort ourselves. IF allows us the opportunity to understand what hunger actually feels like. We are addicted to eating and many of our processed foods act like drugs on our bodies; we can kick these addictions by practicing IF regularly.
Improves insulin sensitivity
Insulin is released by Beta cells in the pancreas. It helps sugar move from our blood stream and into our cells where it is used as energy. If the sugar is not used as energy, it is then stored in the liver in the form of Glycogen. When fasting, our bodies burn this excess glycogen for energy.
After 24 hours of fasting, our bodies’ insulin levels can drop by up to 50% and this, in turn, improves our insulin sensitivity, allowing us to better process the sugar into energy.
Increases our levels of Human Growth Hormone
Many studies show an increase in HGH during fasting. HGH is sometimes called ‘the fountain of youth’ as it helps to determine overall muscle mass as well as regulating our fat burning capabilities. HGH levels naturally decline after the age of 50. IF, along with quality sleep and high intensity activities, can help boost HGH levels in our bodies.
Regular IF practice could ...
Suppress inflammation throughout the body
Improve cardiovascular functions
Help to improve brain function
Help to maintain a healthy heart
Help to fight certain cancers
Help to maintain a healthy body weight
Help with Alzheimer’s
Help in the growth of new nerve cells
Help in the production of HGH
Always remember ...
A key component to successful IF is your nutrition during your feeding window. Be sure to focus on nutrient dense foods to ensure your body receives the vitamins and minerals it needs to perform optimally.
Remember – IF is a lifestyle choice, one that can be practiced each and every day of your life. Explore the IF options and find the one that fits best into your schedule and preferences. Please click here to learn about the four primary types of Intermittent Fasting.
Keep at it … it has taken some time for your body to learn its current feeding schedule, allow it time to adjust to a new schedule now so that you can fully reap the health benefits of IF.
NOTE: This post was originally published on our blog in 2021