Intermittent Fasting: A Technique for Better Health?

Fasting. Not sure how that word originated as there is nothing fast about a fast.  Or, I would imagine so, as I have never participated in one.  Yes, I would think fasting would go by S L O W L Y.  Yes, ever so slowly.

Imaginative hunger pangs, languid pace, energy dips and all, I am intrigued.  Especially with the new kid on the block (or at least to me): intermittent fasting.  Now, THAT fast is fast . . . or at least, fastER.  An intermittent fast is a technique that schedules a short fast into your life to improve your health.  For example, one would abstain from food one day a week or one day every other week. Just 24 hours or maybe even a little less. I just might be able to handle that. Not too heavy on the deprivation part and maybe not headache inducing for me. Besides, I keep thinking of the savings on my grocery bill . . .

Benefits to Intermittent Fasting

Here is why I am curious about this practice:

Fasting may add to your longevity and reduce your cancer risk.  Studies show intermittent fasting can keep your telomeres nice and long. That is a good thing.  Our chromosomes have this protective coating, telomeres, at the end of the thread, and the longer the telomere, the longer you may have.  Fasting has shown positive effects on lowering triglyceride levels and normalizing insulin as well.

Fasting fuels fat burning.  Depriving oneself of solid food can get your fat stores working hard to supply you with energy.  Toxins that we build up are stored in our fat so they are released as well. The fat burning with intermittent fasting can help take a few pounds off if done regularly or maintain weight loss.

Fasting clears some pathways. Moving that fat along can help with atherosclerosis, clogging of arteries by fat particles.

Fasting gives the digestive organs a well-deserved break.  During fasting, the digestive organs rest. They are on vacation for a bit, but, stomach acid is still produced.  This is a reason why those with ulcers, should say no.

Fasting may help protect the noggin.  Some studies show that fasting helps with brain diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

Fasting gives you extra time and a bit more in your wallet.  Think of the time and productivity you will gain on fasting day by not preparing meals, eating them, and shopping for them. And, the grocery bill has to be lower.

Intermittent Fasting Defined

Intermittent fasting runs along a wide trail. The variations consist of many combinations. Some skip breakfast; others, dinner. A few may stop eating at 7 p.m. and then not eat again until a late lunch the next day.  You may intermittent fast once a week, once a month or every fourth day.  Aim for a minimum of 18 hours to reap the benefits.

Remember, fasting does not mean depriving yourself of water, tea or other low calorie beverages. Dehydration is not a benefit to anything.

Who Should Skip A Fast

But wait.  Not so fast.  Here are some individuals that should pass on the fast:
  • Those who are unlucky enough to suffer migraines 
  • Those with frequent heartburn or ulcer
  • Those with kidney or liver issues
  • Those with heart rhythm concerns
  • Pregnant women or nursing moms
  • Malnourished individuals or those coming off an illness
  • Children

Need More?

Want more information? Here is a recent radio show with the latest on intermittent fasting.  Click and give a listen.  Or, prefer the written word?  Click on the green link for more details as well.

I will post or tweet my experience if I decide to undertake intermittent fasting, but, please post in the comments your experiences and share so we can all hear your thoughts on the subject!

bowl: photo credit: <a href="">Brian Auer</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>
clock: photo credit: <a href="">leoplus</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>
digestion:photo credit: <a href="">april-mo</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>