How Intermittent Fasting Makes You Age Slower
Since the 1930s, researchers have consistently found that laboratory rats and mice live longer when placed on calorie restricted diets. In fact, they live up to 40 percent longer than rats and mice usual usually do when they consume a normal amount of calories. The rats and mice on a calorie restricted diet also appear to be more resistant to age-related diseases.
There are two main problems when translating this to humans. Firstly, just because a permanent calorie restricted diet works in laboratory rats and mice does not mean it will have the same positive impact in humans. In fact, it might even cause health problems.
The other problem is the level of calorie restriction that is required – 30 percent less than normal. That means a life of permanent hunger and, really, who wants to live like that.
Intermittent fasting is a promising solution. It delivers similar health benefits to full-on calorie restricted diets but without the complications of a life-long state of hunger.
How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?
A study by a team at the University of Southern California. found that periodically almost-fasting can slow aging and reduce your risk of suffering from diseases that are age-related. It is “almost-fasting” because you don’t go without food completely. Instead, you do five days on a severely calorie restricted diet – 50 percent less than normal on day one and 70 percent less on the other four days. For the rest of the month you eat what you want.
The health benefits are shown to include:
- Improved glucose levels
- Improved cholesterol levels
- Lower BMI (Body Mass Index)
Research experts say this approach works because the anti-aging effects of the diet kick in during the recovery period, not when you’re eating less than normal numbers of calories.
There is wide body of other research available that shows that fasting can have health benefits, including slowing the impact of aging. For example, fasting has been shown to help non-cancerous cells when cancer patients go through chemotherapy and it may help prevent chronic diseases.
Fasting and Losing Weight
One of the benefits of fasting is that you can lose weight. Why does this work, however? It has to do with what’s known as the fasted state.
When you eat, your body goes through a number of different states. This starts with the fed state where your insulin levels are high, moves to the post-absorptive state, and finally to the fasted state.
In the fasted state, your insulin levels are at their lowest. When your insulin levels are low, your body will burn more fat. This applies even if you don’t exercise any more than normal. In fact, you can still eat the same amount of food providing you can do so while getting your body into the fasted state.
The fasted state occurs about 12 hours after you eat.
How to Get Started With Intermittent Fasting
The method of intermittent fasting in the University of Southern California study mentioned above (where you eat a drastically calorie reduced diet for five days a month) is just one of the fasting methods.
Some are harder than others but the main considerations are how they fit into your daily routine and whether you will be comfortable. The latter is why so many people are taking notice of the previously mentioned study, i.e. you only have to go through five days of fasting a month before eating as normal again, making it easier to do.
Your family and work situation will also have an impact on which is the best approach, but there are a number of options to choose from.
Daily Intermittent Fasting Method
This method of fasting involves eating and fasting within the same 24 hour period. Like the scientific study mentioned earlier, the objective is to mimic the impact of fasting on the body, i.e. to get the body into the fasted state.
You achieve this by eating just two meals a day. For example, you eat at 1pm and then again at 8pm. After your 8pm meal, you don’t eat anything again until 1pm the next day. That’s 16 hours of fasting.
One of the things many people find attractive about this method is that you can eat the same amount and type of food that you do normally. The only difference is you only do it twice a day, plus you leave a considerable gap between your last meal one day and your first meal the next. As you can eat the same amount of food each day, this method of fasting is not a diet. Instead, it is way of scheduling your meals to achieve the body’s fasted state.
Weekly Intermittent Fasting Method
Another option if you don’t like the daily method is fasting for a slightly longer period of time (24 hours instead of 16), but you only do this once a week. The obvious benefit is you will get a respite from fasting compared to the previous option of daily intermittent fasting. In fact, this option is similar to the approach taken in the scientific study just on a slightly different schedule – instead of fasting five days a month, you fast one day a week.
The Warrior Diet Fasting Method
This approach to fasting aims to mimic the diets our warrior ancestors are likely to have eaten – one large meal in the evening and then no further meals until the large meal again the following evening.
ces. This makIt is a long time to go without food on a daily basis, but the creators of the diet say you can eat small amounts of protein, raw vegetables, and raw fruit during the fasting period each day. You can also drink fruit juices this option much more manageable for many people.
The Alternate Day Diet Method
This approach to fasting involves eating every day but on every other day you eat very little – about 20 percent of your normal calorie intake. The next day you eat as normal again before eating the calorie restrict diet again the following day.
So, as you can see, there are many options available to explore the benefits of fasting for a healthier, longer life. The most important thing is to discuss any health, diet, or lifestyle changes with your physician before initiating them.