One of the most popular new health diets out there today is intermittent fasting. The idea behind this diet is that you only eat during specific periods of time, usually around six or eight hours, and then spend the rest of the day fasting. According to some researchers, this could help the body to “flip” the metabolic “switch,” allowing for better burning of fat and preserving muscle mass.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Proponents intermittent fasting hold that humans in modern society don’t eat in the way our bodies expect us to. Thanks to the plentiful nature of food of in our society, we tend to just eat whenever we’re hungry. On average, this means that you’ll eat around three meals in the day.
According to advocates of IF, this is nothing the type of eating our metabolism likely evolved to handle. In a more primitive environment, a human might not be able to eat every day, let alone every six hours. This is where diets like Paleo, Keto and intermittent fasting attempt to address the issues of the human metabolism. Some nutritionists argue that the way we’re eating isn’t great for us, no matter how healthy our intake is.
Is IF Good for You?
Some research suggests that eating during a six-to-eight-hour window can have some noticeable health benefits. Remember, of course, that this is all preliminary, and you should always discuss any dietary changes with your doctor before making a lifestyle switch. However, a paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that intermittent fasting may play a role in preventing obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and neurologic disorders.
“The evidence is accumulating that this metabolic switch triggers a lot of signaling pathways in cells and various organs that improve their stress resistance and resilience,” says paper author Mark Mattson. Mattson, who is the adjunct professor of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Medicine, continues, “If you eat three meals a day plus snacks spaced out… you may never have that metabolic switch occurring.”
Many celebs have jumped on the intermittent fasting train, with stars like Jennifer Anniston and trainers such as Jorge Cruise noting the diet’s supposed health benefits.