Intermittent fasting is a very popular health trend these days, as more people are concentrating on wellness and boosting their immune systems. But what is it exactly? To understand the physical effects, benefits and types of intermittent fasting, it’s important to recognize how the body naturally stores and uses energy.
The human body, at any given time, is either in “fed” or “fasted” mode. During mealtimes, food gets broken down to be used for energy or stored within the body. Though there is limited storage space for carbs, the body can store almost an unlimited amount of fat. When not eating, the body uses this stored energy. If food is consumed from the moment you wake up until bedtime, there would be no time for the body to use up that stored energy.
Intermittent fasting restricts the times when you can eat — for example, every 12 hours — not necessarily what or how much you should eat. Fasting in this way reduces the insulin levels in your body, making it easier for you to burn stored fat.
One might wonder about the comparison between fasting and starvation. Though many fad diets might insist on limiting food intake, eating one large meal per day or surviving on extreme calorie deficits to lose weight, intermittent fasting is usually less about starvation and more about control.
The potential benefits of intermittent fasting extend beyond weight loss, and include decreased insulin resistance, reduced inflammation, improved gastrointestinal tract function and many more, depending on the person. As long as it’s done responsibly, intermittent fasting can be done in a way that meets the needs of most lifestyles and schedules. Learn more about intermittent fasting with our resource.
Author bio: Kara Kash, RD, LDN, is a registered dietitian at Factor — a premium weekly meal delivery service that fuses world-class culinary dishes with the latest in nutrition science to produce fully prepared meals that are as delicious as they are nutritious.