Have you ever tried fasting? Intermittent fasting is a hot topic in the weight-loss and wellness communities, but it’s not without controversy. Some medical professionals warn that fasting diets are nothing but a dangerous trend. But although there are some risks to be aware of, and fasting diets should be carried out with the approval and supervision of your doctor, they can be extremely beneficial to your health when done correctly.
Fasting is nothing new. People have practicing fasting since the beginning of time, whether for religious purposes or out of necessity during times of food scarcity. Now, research is indicating that this type of lifestyle actually had health advantages over the way we live today. Nowadays, most of us are accustomed to eating whenever hunger hits. We may snack all day and eat late at night. But our bodies are not meant to be in this constant state of digestion.
Those who warn against fasting often claim that it is unnecessary because our bodies have a built-in detoxification system. This is true, but most of us don’t allow it to work properly. Our bodies cannot digest and detoxify at the same time. When we’re constantly eating, we keep our bodies in a constant state of digestion. This can lead to numerous health problems, including difficulty losing weight, digestive problems, fatigue and sluggishness, joint pain, muscle aches, headaches, insomnia and other sleep problems, and a weakened immune system. We often think of these health issues as a natural part of getting older, but they don’t have to be. Resting your digestive system through periodic fasting can often clear up many of these health issues.
Fasting and weight loss
It may come as no surprise that fasting has been shown to promote weight loss. People often assume this is simply because you are eating fewer calories when fasting, but it’s more complicated than that. Fasting promotes changes throughout the body, such as healthy hormone levels, which help the body lose weight more effectively. In fact, studies have shown that a type of fasting known as time-restricted feeding can aid in weight loss, even when people consume the same total number of calories.
Time-restricted feeding is the practice of eating all of your food within a shorter window. For example, if you eat all of your meals during an 8-hour window, such as 10am – 6pm, this leaves 16 hours for your body to digest and detoxify. This type of fasting is often referred to as 16/8 intermittent fasting.
A study on the effects of eight weeks of time-restricted feeding on healthy males resulted in a decrease of fat mass, with no loss of muscle mass. Participants also experienced increased levels of adiponectin, a hormone that helps regulate processes related to glucose utilization and insulin sensitivity. Low levels of adiponectin have been linked to difficulty losing weight and a higher risk of type 2 diabetes.
Fasting and the risk of disease
Research has also shown that various types of fasting diets can reduce the risk of age-related disease and even promote cellular rejuvenation. Participants who completed three cycles of a fasting mimicking diet experienced several positive changes, including:
- A 5.9% decrease in fasting glucose
- A 15% reduction in insulin-like growth factor 1, a hormone linked to an increased risk of cancer
- A 3% reduction in body weight, with a major portion of fat loss coming from abdominal fat, which is linked to an increased risk of health conditions such as diabetes, stroke, heart disease, cancer, and even dementia
A fasting mimicking diet, also referred to as “fasting with food,” involves restricting calories for a period of at least 5 days and consuming only foods that are easy to digest, such as vegetable soup. This allows the body to enter into a fasting state without completely going without food.
At Garcia Weight Loss and Wellness Centers, we have found the ProLon fasting mimicking diet to be particularly beneficial at promoting weight loss and improving overall health. In clinical trials, ProLon was found to improve risk factors for disease, such as high cholesterol and C-reactive protein, a marker associated with internal inflammation. Using ProLon once per month over a three-month period has been shown to stimulate the removal of damaged cells and tissues, leading to numerous, significant health benefits.
Learn more about the ProLon fasting mimicking diet and find out if it’s right for you!