Intermittent Fasting – A Fresh Approach to Health and Weight Loss

Fasting has been used for centuries in health and religious practices, and intermittent fasting is now back in the headlines with emerging scientific research and celebrity endorsement. So, what exactly is intermittent fasting, and why might it work for you? Intermittent fasting (also known as IF) is the process of regularly allowing your body to go many hours without food. While this may seem like a major change from the three meals (plus snacks!) mentality of our society, research has shown that IF may actually have substantial health and wellness benefits. Aside from anecdotal praise for IF, several research studies have been conducted pointing towards its numerous health benefits. One such study by Valter Longo, the director of University of California’s Longevity Institute, looked extensively at this correlation between fasting and health. Throughout Dr. Longo’s research on the effect of fasting in mice, he discovered that fasting for two to five days each month dramatically reduced the likelihood of developing serious diseases, including cancer. Additional benefits of IF that have been linked to various scientific research studies include:

  • Reduced biomarkers for cancer, heart disease, and diabetes
  • Weight maintenance
  • Increased longevity
  • Improved concentration and energy

There’s no question that the science behind IF is intriguing, and there are three different ways you can go about trying it for yourself.

Fasting Mimicking Diet

Valter Longo’s Fasting Mimicking Diet is a plan where you cut daily calories in half for just four days. “It isn’t a typical diet because it’s not something you have to stay on,” says lead researcher Valter Longo of the University of Southern California. The diet “mimics” fasting because you’re not cutting out all food. Instead, researchers reduced the individual’s caloric intake down to 34 to 54 percent of normal for four consecutive days every two weeks. Researchers tested plan on humans, mice and yeast. And, the results remained consistent…increased lifespan, and reduced belly fat.

Learn more about the Fasting Mimicking Diet in my 30-minute interview with Dr. Longo 

5:2 Diet

Eat without dietary restrictions for five days (yes – that means you can still have pizza!), and then cut back to 500 calories for each of the remaining two days.

Alternate-Day Fasting

Eat 500 calories every other day, while consuming food without restrictions on the opposite days.

Time-Restricted Feeding

Consume all of your daily calories within six to eight hours, and then fast for the remaining 16 to 18 hours of the day. So which method is right for you? A good place to start is by following the time-restricted feeding method for a gradual introduction to IF. An example of your daily fasting plan would look something like this:

  • 11 AM: Breakfast
  • 1 PM: Lunch
  • 4 PM: Snack
  • 7 PM: Dinner
  • 7 PM – 11 AM: Intermittent fasting

There’s no better time than now to take charge of your health! The scientific research supporting IF is constantly growing and evolving. Although there is still much to be learned about the benefits of this method, it remains a well-established way to start getting your body on the track to health.


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