Longevity | Integrative functional medicine blog

"Any fool can Know. The point is to understand" - Albert Einstein

Intermittent fasting, should you be doing it?

Intermittent fasting for weight loss and longevity

As long as human have been on earth we have always fasted. Whether due to lack of food, season variations, religious or spiritual reasons. Its even in the bible. If God says fasting is a good thing, its has to be true.

And we are finding out more and more that intermittent fasting can be really good for us, and its becoming very popular for a variety of reasons. Among those are for weight loss and the anti-aging benefits one can experience

Intermittent fasting, or IF, makes fasting an everyday part of life versus something you do once or twice a year. Although longer fasting a few times a year has some other benefits as well.

Many people use it successfully for weight loss and inflammation as well as to improve brain function and insulin sensitivity.
See my previous blog on Alzheimers and type 3 diabetes.

The promise of increased longevity is another reason people choose to fast regularly. Its can slow down the shortening of your telomeres - those shoelace like structures at the end of your genes that determine how long we can potentially live.

So what are the different types of intermittent fasting? There is not a one size fits all solution. I recommend doing a little experimentation to find which of these types of fasting you can do and which agrees most with your body.

Keep watching and I will tell you which form I like best and which one I use for most patients.
Different forms of intermittent fasting.

So here is a breakdown of the different types of intermittent fasting

#1 This is what is called the 5:2 diet — In this plan you eat normally five days per week, and either fast completely, or severely restrict calories (500-600 calories) the other two days, typically on the weekend or whatever days you have off. Many times with this type of fasting it can be done every week but this is one of the more difficult ways to fast so many times people do it 1-2 times per month.

#2 - Alternate day fasting — This type of fasting plan includes normal eating for 24 hours and zero, or very low calories (500-600) for the next 24-hour period, alternating every other day. These 24-hour periods typically begin at dinnertime so that in any one day you may miss one or two meals, but not all three.

#3 This type of fasting is either a 16:8 or 14:10 — Also known as the “eating window plan,” this plan has you eat during an 8- or 10-hour window and fast the remaining 16 or 14 hours of each 24-hour period. For example, you stop eating at 7 p.m and do not eat again until 14 hours later at 9 a.m. the next morning. That would be the minimum time. Many people often will fast until noon of the next day.

Intermittent fasting for weight loss

Restricting caloric intake can lead to weight loss, but intermittent fasting seems to help with weight loss in more ways than that. For one thing, studies show intermittent fasters have better insulin sensitivity and glucose regulation. Among other things, this makes a person crave less sugar and use glucose more efficiently for energy production instead of being stored as fat. Intermittent fasting also causes your body to burn more fat. Because it depletes glycogen, the storage form of glucose, your body switches over to burning stored fat for energy.

Intermittent fasting for brain function

Studies show intermittent fasting can benefit brain function and potentially even stave off Alzheimer's disease, Take a look at my previous post on Alzheimers and type 3 diabetes. It helps by regulating insulin control as well as in the production of ketone bodies for fuel. Ketones provide a ready source of clean-burning fuel for the brain that leave behind fewer free radicals than glucose does. Free radicals are the reason we take antioxidants. High-fat ketogenic diets have also long been used to help prevent seizures.

Other benefits

Intermittent fasting has been shown in trials to reduce blood pressure, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and insulin-like growth factor, a hormone that is linked to cancer and diabetes.
There is still a lot we have to learn about intermittent fasting and new studies are being done all the time.

Who is intermittent fasting NOT for?

Children, teens, pregnant women, people with eating disorders, as well as those with hypoglycemia should not fast. That seems pretty self explanatory don't you think? Also, diabetics taking insulin should ONLY attempt this diet under supervision of a doctor.

Women often find less stringent forms of intermittent fasting are more suitable for them. For example, a woman might start by trying a 12:12 eating window plan and potentially lengthen her fasting time gradually, or not, as it suits her.

Intermittent fasting can be difficult often due to the hunger pangs we often get. Some herbs and supplements that can sometimes help reduce your appetite and satisfy your leptin hormone (another issue) are listed below.

Check out the links for the products that can be helpful.

5 - HTP
Organic Fennel Tea
Green Tea Extract

Until next time, Im Dr. Craig Mortensen
Be healthy, Be happy.

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