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How Intermittent Fasting Can Work for You

We see it all the time - websites and articles that promote one diet over the other for optimal health: the Mediterranean Diet, the Zone Diet, Weight Watchers, and more. We see advice coming at us from every angle – eat three square meals a day, six small meals a day, always eat breakfast, skip breakfast. So which of these methods is right for you? Perhaps you should think a little differently, and give intermittent fasting a try.

What is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting is not necessarily a diet itself, but a dieting tool or routine. At its core, it is self-explanatory. You go through periods of eating normally, interspersed with periods where you fast, or don’t eat. People do this in many different ways. Some people eat one day and then skip meals the next day. Some people follow the “5:2 Diet” version, which consists of normal eating for five days of the week, and fasting for separate days.

How Can Intermittent Fasting Be Beneficial?

It seems to go against everything we thought we knew about healthy eating, which was to never go hungry lest your body go into what was called “starvation mode” where it would save up every little calorie in your stores of fat just in case you were actually starving and couldn't find food.

But intermittent fasting does not have those effects. In fact, before the diet became popular, studies of intermittent fasting in animals showed that the practice might have preventative effects with conditions such as chronic disease.

In humans, intermittent fasting and the 5:2 diet may lower insulin resistance, reducing the risk of Type II Diabetes in adults. It may also lower blood pressure, and have other positive effects on the heart such as reducing hypertension. Some believe that it even reduces the risk of neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer's.

So How Can it Help Me Lose Weight?

The first, most obvious reason that intermittent fasting and the 5:2 diet can help with weight loss is that you will be consuming fewer calories overall when you skip days of eating, as long as you don't go overboard on the days on which you do eat.

But intermittent fasting may have other benefits as well. Some people say that it increases oxidation of fat stores, helping you get leaner. It may also help the protection of lean muscle mass. It may also help with keeping up your metabolism.

Intermittent fasting and the 5:2 diet may even go so far as to protect us on a genetic level. We all have these things called telomeres, which are casings for our genes, protecting them from harmful outside factors. Intermittent fasting can increase the literal length of these telomeres, increasing our genetic protection and, in fact, our lifespan.

These are just a few of the many storied and investigated benefits of intermittent fasting and the 5:2 diet. If you are looking to lose weight consistently, or just looking to “detox” or improve your overall health, intermittent fasting may be the right way to go for you.

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