Restriction was the default for our ancestors. They had to search for abundance to survive. Now that we’ve achieved abundance, we have to restrict ourselves again for better survival. Intermittent fasting is one of the best options.
The human body has a natural rhythm called the circadian rhythm. We also call this the biological clock and it’s highly influenced by light, food and exercise.
Restriction came naturally to our ancestors. They searched for abundance for better odds of survival.
Now that we've achieved abundance, we have to restrict ourselves and seek physical challenges for better survival.
— P. D. Mangan Coaching 🇺🇸 (@Mangan150) January 13, 2020
Regarding foods it not only matters what you eat, also when you eat. Dietists have invented thousands of different diets that all come down to one thing: eat less calories than you burn. So basically, eating is the pitfall.
Intermittent fasting is a diet that’s not really a diet but a pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. It doesn’t specify which foods you should eat but rather when you should eat them.
If you follow such a pattern you automatically eat less calories because of satiation. During the fasting window you can still take zero calories drinks such as water, coffee and tea.
The three most common intermittent fasting patterns are:
- 8 hours of eating and 16 hours of fasting, every day
- OMAD (One Meal a Day)
- 5 days of eating, 2 days of fasting
I’m following the first pattern myself, but with 10 hours of eating (between 9:00 and 19:00) and 14 hours of fasting (between 19:00 and 9:00) because I’m bulking. Otherwise I wouldn’t been able to eat enough. I don’t follow it too strictly though, if I have an event in the evening I’ll skip it. But in general I follow this pattern, because in the long term it makes a difference.
I think the first pattern is also the most practical and sustainable approach for most people. If you skip breakfast you can eat between 12:00 and 20:00, for example. You’ll get used to it quickly. And no, skipping breakfast is not bad. That’s just another fairy tale of Big Food.
So why might you want to follow such a pattern? Because intermittent fasting can have many benefits for your body and brain if your body doesn’t have to process food all the time.
We are wired to eat all day. From the moment we wake up, when we eat our yoghurt or toast, until we are going to bed, when we eat a late night snack, we are eating and our body has to process it all. This ensures that all organs have to be active all the time.
Besides weight loss, intermittent fasting improves:
- Insulin resistance
- Blood sugar regulation
- Stress resistance
- Effects of aging
- Verbal memory
- Executive function
Medical correspondent Dr. Natalie Azar explained it as follows at TODAY:
A review of past animal and human studies found that benefits go beyond weight loss. This is because when you fast, your body burns through all the energy that’s stored in the liver. Ultimately it transitions into burning body fat for fuel. That’s starts a whole signaling cascade in the body that helps to suppress inflammation, starts to repair damaged cells and has all these benefits on a cellular level that can contribute to all these potential health benefits.
Although there aren’t any long term studies on the potential benefits of intermittent fasting yet, I can assure you from my own experience that it makes you feel and look better. So I can’t see any good reason to not try it, except for when you are in one of the vulnerable groups or you became too lazy to achieve something.