Inevitably diet stories are all about weight loss – how to lose it, how much you can lose and how quickly you can lose it. Indeed of the many benefits associated with regular fasting, it is the weight loss benefits we hear most frequently about.
The truth is though that there are many benefits of regular fasting that have significant benefits for our health and wellbeing long term, even if you do not want or need to lose weight.
Here are just some of them which may convince you to incorporate fasting into your weekly routine.
It gets your reacquainted with your hunger
When was the last time you felt really, really hungry? Human beings eat for many reasons and hunger is rarely one of them. One of the greatest benefits of incorporating a regular fast into your routine is that it gives you a chance to become aware of feeling really hungry again. When we eat only when we are really hungry it helps to reduce overeating, and also reduces the volume of food we need to feel full and satisfied which supports weight control long term.
It resets our hormones
Of the evidence available that has examined the physiological benefits of fasting, of the strongest is that fasting helps to reduce insulin resistance. Insulin is the hormone that controls glucose and fat metabolism and as we get older, many people develop insulin resistance leaving them less effective in processing their glucose levels. Long term insulin resistance is associated with increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. It appears that the simple act of fasting helps to reset insulin, improving its function over time and in turn supporting blood glucose control.
It helps to keep our heart healthy
The physiological benefits of fasting also extend past hormonal to heart health. Several studies have shown that both blood pressure and cholesterol levels are positively impacted by fasting with benefits seen within weeks of beginning a fasting regime. It appears that starving the cell of glucose for an extended period helps to reduce inflammatory markers in the blood which are closely associated with the health of our arteries and blood flow.
It may help you to live longer
Of the original studies completed that took a closer look at fasting, many of these studies were completed with rats, and a longer life span was one of the key outcomes from a number of these trials. While this is yet to be proven with a human population it is known that fasting helps to reduce cellular aging and damage that is associated with a number of disease states. It is also known that fasting helps to increase growth hormone production, which is associated with a number of positive health outcomes including optimising metabolism and preserving muscle mass and ultimately positive aging.
It is an easy diet to follow
As we know all too well most diets do not work long term as the average person is unable to follow them. One of the best and most underrated aspects of fasting is that it is a dietary approach that is relatively easy to stick to long term, whilst at the same time targeting a number of key variables that support metabolic functioning and weight control. Most appealingly, even if you can only manage to fast once a week, it is still good for you and that is the type of diet many of us are looking for.