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What Is Intermittent Fasting? Explained in Human Terms

What Is Intermittent Fasting? Explained in Human Terms

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Humans have actually been fasting for thousands of years.

Sometimes it was done out of necessity, when there simply wasn’t any food available.

In other instances, it was done for religious reasons. Various religions, including Islam, Christianity and Buddhism, mandate some form of fasting.

Humans and other animals also often instinctively fast when sick.

Clearly, there is nothing “unnatural” about fasting, and our bodies are very well equipped to handle extended periods of not eating.

All sorts of processes in the body change when we don’t eat for a while, in order to allow our bodies to thrive during a period of famine. It has to do with hormones, genes and important cellular repair processes (3).

When fasted, we get significant reductions in blood sugar and insulin levels, as well as a drastic increase in human growth hormone (4, 5).

Many people do intermittent fasting in order to lose weight, as it is a very simple and effective way to restrict calories and burn fat (6, 7, 8).

Others do it for the metabolic health benefits, as it can improve various different risk factors and health markers (1).

There is also some evidence that intermittent fasting can help you live longer. Studies in rodents show that it can extend lifespan as effectively as calorie restriction (9, 10).

Some research also suggests that it can help protect against diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and others (11, 12).

Other people simply like the convenience of intermittent fasting.

It is an effective “life hack” that makes your life simpler, while improving your health at the same time. The fewer meals you need to plan for, the simpler your life will be.

Not having to eat 3-4+ times per day (with the preparation and cleaning involved) also saves time. A lot of it.

Bottom Line:

Humans are well adapted to fasting from time to time. Modern research shows that it has benefits for weight loss, metabolic health, disease prevention and may even help you live longer.

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