intermittent fasting can improve health

How intermittent fasting can improve health


When we wrote about intermittent fasting (IF) six years ago in this blog, few people had heard of it. But since, IF has become extremely popular. Promoted as a good way to lose weight, and many other health benefits are claimed. Fortunately, many of these claims seem to be valid.

Our next post will discuss why IF is so healthy, with practical ways for you to try it yourself. But first:

Health benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Weight loss

Studies have shown that people on an IF diet will typically lose 3 to 8% of their body weight after 6 months. The main reason is they are taking in fewer calories, assuming they don’t overeat during the eating periods.

Belly fat is a particularly difficult problem for many people, and some studies show that IF may help target belly fat better than other diets.

IF also appears to speed up a person’s metabolism, and burn calories faster. Finally, IF decreases a person’s insulin levels, which leads to the second advantage:

Lower risk of diabetes

Insulin helps fat cells absorb glucose, and if our insulin levels are lower, we form less fat. While fasting, when our insulin levels are the low, our fat cells are more likely to release their stored sugar for the body to use as energy. After starting IF, studies have shown a 3 to 6% improvement in blood sugar levels, which, in terms of insulin metabolism, is a big advantage.

Lower glucose and insulin levels mean a lower risk for obesity, a prime risk factor for diabetes.

Better heart health

Animal and human studies have shown that IF can lower blood pressure and heart rate, as well as the cardiovascular disease markers cholesterol and triglycerides.

Better brain health

Animal studies have shown that after starting an IF diet, mice have improved learning and memory. The reason may be that IF also lowers inflammatory blood markers, and neurologic disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease may in part be an inflammatory process. Human studies will be done to see if this benefit holds true for people as well as mice.

Possible lower risk of tumors

Again, a lower level of inflammation in the body should lower our risk for cancer. This is what some animal studies are showing. The most recent research was just presented at the ENDO 2019 conference in New Orleans. The researchers injected breast cancer cells into two different groups of mice.

One group had unrestricted access to food, and the others were restricted to eating during an 8-hour window each day. This last group of mice (basically on an IF diet) had much less tumor growth than mice with unrestricted access to food. This and other studies are encouraging, but again, human studies are needed to see if people get the same benefits.

Our next post will suggest easy and practical ways for you to try intermittent fasting for yourself.

To find a doctor, of any specialty, anywhere in Brazil, check out our website:

See also in ProcuraMed:

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Esta postagem também está disponível em: Portuguese (Brazil)

Recommended doctors

This post is related to specialty Endocrinology and Metabolism. Below is a list of some physicians related to this specialty.