Today I would like to talk about Intermittent Fasting (IF) and its benefits it can have for all my Medford Boot-Campers. If you have never heard of (IF), it is a style of eating where a person alternates between periods of fasting (where they are consuming little to no Calories) and non-fasting or eating normally. The practice of intermittent fasting can take many different shapes and forms. From fasting for 14- 16 hours every single day, to every-other- day intermittent fasting where you fast on and off for 24 hour periods and finally fasting for 18 hours 6 days a week and eating for the other 6 hours.

All forms of intermittent fasting are highly effective ways to control your weight and to lose body fat, as long as calorie intake is not greatly increased during the times when you are not fasting.

During the first few hour after you eat your body first burns calories form the food you have recently eaten. Once you get into a true fasted state these calories run out and your body turns to your body fat stores as a fuel source, burning your fat stores as a fuel thus helping you lose body fat.

Despite what you may read in some nutrition and fitness magazines, when done properly intermittent fasting will not cause you to lose muscle mass or cause your metabolism (your bodies ability to burn calories) to slow down.

Below are some of the benefits from practicing (IF):

Reduce blood glucose and insulin levels – Modern science has long known that physical exercise increases insulin action, but recent research is finding that IF combined with exercise increases insulin sensitivity almost seven times! (Dela, 1996; Halber, et al., 2005)
Increase fatty acid oxidation – Adipose or fatty tissue responds to IF much more dramatically than lean body tissue. In fact, the energy stores in skeletal muscle were hardly affected at all by fasting while adipose tissue responded to the changes in the energy balance with higher concentrations of fat burning hormones. (Halber, et al., 2005; Stewart, Fleming & Robertson, 1965)
Rejuvenation of lean body mass/ muscles – IF combined with exercise has shown increase in lean body tissue with alternating periods of short, intense exercise and recovery/feeding periods. (Sakamoto & Grunewald, 1986)
Lower inflammation – studies have reported anti-inflammatory properties increased with IF. (Ahmet, et al., 2005; Sohal &Weinruch, 1996; Chandrasekar, et al., 2001)
Lower blood pressure and reduce risk of cardiovascular disease – IF improves the production of blood serum HDL and other blood chemicals in the body that prevent hypertension and risk factors for heart disease (Tikoo, et al., 2007; Askungar, et al. 2005; Mattson & Wan, 2005; Ahmet, et al., 2005; Caviezel, et al., 1986; Stewart, 2002; Hughes, et al., 1984; Fontana, et al., 2004; Walford, Harris & Gunion, 1992)
Reduce oxidative stress – The body has an amazing ability to naturally regulate oxidative stress without having to use supplemental antioxidants. IF causes acute oxidative stress that is actually beneficial to the muscles and the body produces chemicals necessary to compensate. (Tapia, 2005; Ahmet, et al., 2005; Sohal &Weinruch, 1996; Chandrasekar, et al., 2001; Wan, Camandola & Mattson, 2003)
Protects healthy kidney function – IF promotes the healthy production of factors in the body that protect the kidneys and resist damage. (Tikoo, et al., 2007; Fernandes, et al., 1978)
Resists cancer formation – restriction of calories, such as IF, have even been shown to resist abnormal growth or formation of cancer cells (Blackwell, et al., 1995; Mukherjee, et al., 2002; Varaday & Hellerstein, 2007; Descamps, et al., 2005; Rocha, et al., 2002; Siegel, et al., 1988)
Increase protection against neuro-degeneration – IF protects the neurons in the brain against genetic and environmental factors to which they would otherwise succumb during aging! IF increase the production of proteins, enzymes, and other factors that help the brain cells cope with stress and resist disease. (Martin, Mattson,& Maudsley, 2006; Halagappa, et al., 2006; Mattson & Wan, 2005; Bruce-Keller, et al., 1999; Yu & Mattson, 1999; Duan, Guo & Mattson, 2001; Lee, et al., 2006; Anson, et al., 2003)
Increases life span – studies have shown that restricted food intake similar to IF results in decreased aging and increase in the expected life span. (Ahmet, et al., 2005; Masoro, 2000; Weinruch & Sohal, 1997; Sohal & Weinruch, 1996; Goodrick, et al., 1983; Goodrick, et al., 1982; Ingram & Reynolds, 1987)
As you can see, (IF) has many benefits to our health and longevity. Its something you might want to try as some people find this type of eating very easy, as well as very difficult for others. Personally I find fasting everyday for 15-16 hours to be very easy and effective. My main concern when trying (IF) was losing muscle mass, but after giving it a try, I was very happy to find out for myself that there was NO loss in muscle and strength. I will be writing more in depth on specific types of (IF) coming up, but just remember whatever diet you choose to try, stick to it and give it time. The best diet will always be the one that you will stick to. Just always remember, to lose fat to must eat less and move more.