Fasting associated with improvements in metabolic and cardiovascular health
Intermittent fasting, which involves alternating between periods of fasting and eating, has associations with weight loss and other health benefits.
If you are like most people, you may be used to eating three meals each day. But there is little evidence that this is good for you. To the contrary, doing so may contribute to obesity and various health problems.
Multiple randomized clinical trials have shown that intermittent fasting can help reduce weight and improve metabolic and cardiovascular health.
The study’s co-author Krista Varady, a professor of nutrition at the University of Illinois, Chicago, told Medical News Today, “This study is essentially a review of review articles. It demonstrates that the different forms of intermittent fasting, i.e., alternate day fasting, the 5:2 diet, and time-restricted feeding, are all effective weight loss interventions for people with obesity.”
“This review also shows that intermittent fasting may be an effective means of lowering heart disease risk by decreasing blood pressure, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and triglycerides. The article also shows that these diets may help prevent type 2 diabetes by lowering insulin resistance and fasting insulin,” added Dr. Varady.
The study appears in the journal JAMA Network.
Intermittent fasting involves fasting for long enough durations to ensure the depletion of the sugar stores in the body, leading to the burning of fat to meet the body’s energy requirements.
Besides fat loss, fasting also promotes beneficial adaptive responses, such as increased insulin sensitivity and lower inflammation levels.
Fasting also changes the function of cells, genes and hormones. When you don’t eat for a while, several things happen in your body. For example, your body initiates important cellular repair processes and changes hormone levels to make stored body fat more accessible.
Intermittent fasting schedules can vary considerably. Commonly followed intermittent fasting regimens include alternate-day fasting, the 5:2 diet, and time-restricted eating.
Fasting is practiced in various religions, including Christianity, Judaism and Islam.
The holy month of Ramadan is a time when Muslims must fast from dawn to dusk, and are encouraged to pray and worship more than other months of the year.