Here on Koh Phangan, there are many health and wellness centers where you can come and learn about new and different techniques in order to maintain good health.
One of them being fasting…
But what exactly is it? Read on to find out more.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting.
It does not say anything about which foods to eat, but rather when you should eat them.
There are a few different intermittent fasting techniques, all of which split the day or week into eating periods and fasting periods.
Some forms of intermittent fasting allow small amounts of low-calorie foods during the fasting period.
What are the Benefits of Fasting?
- Helps with weight loss (despite eating the same amount of calories):
Intermittent fasting simply allows the body to use its stored energy. For example, by burning off excess body fat.
This process, known as autophagy, or “self” (auto) “eat (phagy), is the body’s natural ability to clean out detox and recycle cells that are no longer functioning properly.
When we do not eat (intermittent fasting), insulin levels fall, signaling the body to start burning stored energy as no more is coming through food. Blood glucose falls, so the body must now pull glucose out of storage to burn for energy.
2. Lowers risk for disease:
Intermittent fasting can boost brain health and lower your risk for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. For one, it reduces obesity and can help protect against diabetes — both increase your risk for developing Alzheimer’s.
3. Protects neurons:
Intermittent fasting also helps the brain by protecting nerve cells from degeneration. A 2003 study found that intermittent fasting helped guard neurons in the brain from excitotoxic stress (neuronal death).
4. Improves memory:
Intermittent fasting improves learning and memory, another protective measure against erious neurodegenerative diseases. A 2009 study of 50 elderly adults found that three months of caloric restriction boosted memory (measured by their ability to recall words).
5. Promotes Longevity :
Another way it increases your lifespan and slows aging is by manipulating mitochondrial networks. Mitochondria are the power generators in your cells — they produce most of the energy that’s needed for a cell to survive. A 2017 study from Harvard University found that fasting kept mitochondrial networks fused together. That’s what keeps the mitochondria strong and able to do their job of processing energy — crucial for longevity and vibrant aging.
6. Use it as a detox, giving us more energy:
Due to your body using up its excess supply. It provides an opportunity for your body to remove itself for any unwanted, harmful toxins.
No matter how hard we try to practice clean living, modern life overloads us with toxins we can’t avoid. I am talking about pesticides, EMFs, cigarette smoke (second hand or first hand), chemical ridden skin care, sugar laden diets …
Fasting is the perfect way to ‘unclog the pipes’ and start again fresh.
And the list goes on …
Heaps of research can be found on intermittent fasting and all its health benefits. Which one appeals to you?
Case Study of Fasting
As an example, one study split mice into two groups; the researchers put one on an intermittent fasting regime, and they allowed the second to eat whenever it liked.
Both groups consumed the same amount of fat and calories; however, despite having the same energy intake, mice in the fasting group did not develop obesity or metabolic disorders as the other mice did.
The Different Fasting Techniques
The 16/8 Method: Fast for 16 hours each day, for example by only eating between noon and 8pm. You can do this by skipping breakfast, eating your first meal at noon and your last meal at 8 pm.
The 5:2 Diet: During 2 days of the week, eat only about 500–600 calories.
Eat-Stop-Eat: Once or twice a week, don’t eat anything from dinner one day, until dinner the next day (a 24 hour fast).
Will I be hungry?
Despite what you may think, intermittent fasting is actually fairly easy to do. Many people report feeling better and having more energy during a fast.
Hunger is usually not that big of an issue, although it can be a problem in the beginning, while your body is getting used to not eating for extended periods of time.
Proceed with Caution
While intermittent fasting has many proven benefits, it’s still controversial. A potential danger regards medications, especially for diabetes, where doses often need to be adapted.
Discuss any changes in medication and relevant lifestyle changes with your doctor.