Is Intermittent Fasting Good for Humans? (Facts and Studies)

Intermittent fasting could be the answer to reversing Western societies obesity problems. It could also help in the battle to increase the life expectancy of humans.

Since 2011 interest in IF has been steadily growing. You can see from this graph of internet searches over the last 6 years, that it shows no signs of slowing down.

Google Trends Data

Much of the interest can be attributed to a documentary that came out in 2011 called Eat, Fast and Live Longer.

Image: Flickr

If you can spare less than an hour to watch this documentary, it could change your life (and even extend it).

~ Michael Mosley's 'Eat, Fast and Live Longer' Complete Documentary {58:50} from Optimal Person on Vimeo.

What is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting is where you leave longer periods of time between your meals, than what is considered normal.

What are the Different Methods of doing Intermittent Fasting?

5:2

This is when you eat normally for 5 days, then fast for two.

16:8

Fast for 16 hours, eat in an 8 hour window. E.g you stop eating at 8pm and don’t start again until 12pm the next dy.

Eat:Stop:Eat

The eat stop eat method involves one or two fasts a week. The fasts involve having a complete break from food for around 24 hours.

An example of this could be on a Monday you would eat normally until 7pm. Then you would not eat again until Tuesday at 7pm.

This method should not involve fasting more than twice a week.

Alternate Day Fasting

When you follow this method, you fast one day, eat whatever the next. Fasting can also involve a reduced calorie day, rather than going without food altogether.

Studies Related to IF

Any kind of human diet study can be hard to take as proven science due to the overwhelming number of variables that can come into play.

One interesting study is the Hana Kahleova study that shows the effects of eating two larger meals a day, vs six smaller sized meals.

The results of the study showed that despite the earlier held belief that eating multiple meals a day was better for your health, the key indicators showed that 2 meals a day led to better results.

Is Fasting Safe?

Firstly we have to advise you to always get professional medical advice from your doctor before attempting any kind of fasting.

The longer you fast for, the more chance you have of running into complications.

So.. is it good for humans to fast?

According to the studies and literature available to us on intermittent fasting, along with our own experiences, yes it can be a good method to not only lose weight, but increase overall health.

Over a four week period in my own experiment, I not only lost weight but my resting heart rate dropped considerably as well.

My own implementation of IF involves the following process:

  • One 36-40 hour fast (water & black coffee only) per week (normally on Monday or Tuesday)
  • Weekdays a 16:8 fasting process with no alcohol
  • Weekends eat/drink anything

This has seen marked results for myself personally.

My weight loss

As long as I have been following my process my weight has seen a slow but steady decline.

My heart rate

With high blood pressure running in my family, I have been happy to see a steady decrease in my resting heart rate. This normally corresponds with a drop in high blood pressure.

I would really like to hear about your own experiences with IF, please share.

In a world where everything is supersized, and people don’t understand what it is like to go without, fasting can be a great way to bring things into perspective.

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