Intermittent fasting has become a buzzword in the health industry, with countless nutritionists and health professionals praising it for its incredible benefits. While many people have tried at least some variation of intermittent fasting, few know the fascinating effects it has on our bodies. So today, we’ll be using some of our favourite trusted sources, such as Rhonda Patrick and Satchin Panda, to dive into the science behind its health benefits.
First up, a quick recap of what we mean when we say ‘intermittent fasting’. There are plenty of variations, but here are the most common types.
- Eat normally for 5 days of the week, and then, for two non-consecutive days, eat around 500-600 calories.
- Eating within an eight-hour window and fast for the remaining 16 hours.
- A long-term fast, typically between 2 to 4 days. This is not quite intermittent fasting, but is a very popular method with similar health benefits.
SO, HOW DOES INTERMITTENT FASTING WORK?
Now we know the common types of intermittent fasting, it’s time to dive into the knock-on effects this has on our bodies; a.k.a the health benefits.
SYNCING YOUR BIOLOGICAL CLOCK
Dr. Satchin Panda, a leading expert in intermittent fasting, talks about the intricate link between the timing of food and our biological clocks (or "circadian rhythms”). We found Panda's work fascinating, especially where he explains that within every cell in the body, from complex liver cells to simple hair follicles, there is a genetically encoded molecular clock. This essentially tells your body when to have downtime, where it can restore and repair DNA and cell damage while you’re asleep, and when to digest food and provide energy while you’re awake.
So, what does this have to do with fasting? When you consistently eat and fast at the same time every day, you reinforce a biological rhythm in your body. By doing this, all of your organ systems learn when food is coming and prepare when to be the most efficient. In other words, you eat when your metabolic rate is at its optimum. This has some fantastic benefits, from heart health to gut function, and increased muscle mass.
On the flip side, eating “around the clock” can have some pretty detrimental effects on your body. Let’s say you have a meal right before bed, you’re effectively resetting your body clock, so while you’re asleep your metabolism is at its best, and when you wake up it is misaligned. This can have knock-on effects from high blood glucose levels to your body storing fatty acids and adipose tissue rather than using them as energy, therefore causing higher fat gain.
SWITCHING YOUR METABOLISM
Similar to the keto diet, intermittent fasting has the ability to switch our body's metabolic state. How? Normally the body gets its energy from breaking down glucose, a process called glycolysis. During a fast, the supply of glucose depletes, forcing the body to burn fat for energy, which produces ketones. This metabolic switch has some incredible health benefits from reinforcing our circadian rhythms, as mentioned above, to reducing inflammation and increasing muscle mass.
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the science behind intermittent fasting, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to reach us at email@example.com, or text us at +1(844)983 5188. And if you want to try intermittent fasting out on keto, we’ve got tons of recipes to choose from on our keto recipe blog: https://ketohana.co.uk/blogs/recipes