There's been a lot of talk recently about the 'new craze' (that's actually been around for centuries..) know as Intermittent Fasting (IF) which is essentially the cycle of when you eat, and when you don't eat aka. an eating pattern. You eat the same food you would on a daily basis, just within your desired 'eating window'.
Generally speaking, I think the majority of us probably do this without realising. For example, if you finish eating dinner at 8pm and then eat breakfast around 8am, that's a 12 hour fast and is the most common IF eating pattern. Other patterns include 16:8 where you eat 8 hours and fast for 16, and 20:4 where you eat for 4 hours and fast for 20 (which I probably wouldn't recommend if you are busy and require consistent brain fuel throughout the day).
I wanted to discuss the benefits of incorporating IF into your routine where you can and how doing a realistic 12 hour fast such as 8pm-8am has been shown to assist with weight loss, cell regeneration and balance blood sugar- and all without cutting back on calories...yes really!
Some top benefits of IF include:
1. Weight Loss- When we fast, our levels of insulin decrease and our fat cells then release their stored sugar to be used as energy; we lose weight if we let our insulin levels decrease. I mean, it makes sense that if we are consistently putting fuel in our body every hour of the day our insulin will be continuously spiked and therefore our bodies will have no opportunity to use our fat reserves. Many of us have been told to keep fuelling our bodies every 1-2 hours but research is saying this isn't beneficial if you are looking to shed those last lbs due to the continuous insulin spikes.
2. Improved Brain Cell Generation- It has been suggested that fasting increases rates of neurogenesis in the brain; the growth and development of new brain cells and nerve tissues. Therefore by incorporating a minimum 12 hour fast into your daily routine, you are enabling your body to generate more brain cells, improving your brain power!
3. Reduces Inflammation- IF has been shown to decrease inflammation of the body which is a key driver in many chronic diseases. IF does this by stimulating autophagy; when the body destroys old or damaged cells and repairs itself, assisting the body to cleanse itself and therefore reduce inflammation.
These are only a handful of the amazing benefits which IF has on your body and your brain. Try incorporate a 12 hour IF into your routine and see if you notice any of the positive changes!