The term "intermittent fasting" refers to taking a break from your normal diet in order to have a positive effect on your body and health.
Have there been any studies done?
Over the last few years many studies have been done on the effects of fasting. Due to the lack of food intake the lifespan of yeast cells in the test subject mice was prolonged. Scientists also found an anti-aging effect. Although initial studies in humans are still running, the results look very positive.
How long should you practice intermittent fasting?
A long fast is not necessary to achieve the positive effects of intermittent fasting.
When mice fasted for four days every two months, eating 50% less calories on the first day and 90% less calories on the next three days than normal. Through these regular fasts, these otherwise very susceptible animals had a 45% less chance of getting cancer than other animals. This was also the main reason why their life expectancy increased significantly statistically.
Fasting has a positive effect in many ways on the mice studied. Fasting was found to have positive effects on the immune system, as well as on their mental health.
Similar human studies were undertaken where people fasted for five days each month over a period of three months. The positive effects were similar to those in the study done with mice.
How does intermittent fasting work?
There is no clear answer to this question. There are many different fasting plans, but no one clear plan has emerged as the best. Let's look at a few plans in detail:
Here, alternatively you eat as normal for one day and fast for the second day. Only a few people would really like this variant as it requires a lot of discipline.
In this variation you fast for 20 hours a day. This means that you really have to watch your vitamin content and nutrients when you do eat for the final four hours. That can be overwhelming for your body.
Here, you fast for 16 hours and only eat during 8 hours over the period of the day. This might be the easiest plan to follow. If you skip one meal a day you can easily eat within 8 hours.
Which fasting plan works best for your body?
At the moment, there are many studies being done, but most recommend skipping breakfast from time to time. Thus, you can easily extend your fast to about 16 hours, which has positive effects on your health.
Note:always seek medical advice before you begin a fast! Fasting is not for everyone and not everyone reacts well to it. Always check with your doctor or healthcare professional to find out if the plan you are interested in is right for you.