Many people think of intermittent fasting as a weight loss strategy. But, this is one of the good consequences of this practice.
More than helping with weight loss, intermittent fasting has been associated with reducing the risk of several diseases by improving the practitioner’s metabolic profile.
Studies on intermittent fasting are not yet conclusive. However, there is already scientific evidence that it helps to reduce chronic subclinical inflammation and oxidative stress and optimize the glycemic and lipid profile, in addition to “resetting” the immune system.
So, let’s better understand how fasting acts on the body and which diseases it helps to prevent and control. Keep reading!
How Intermittent Fasting Works On The Body
When we eat, the pancreas releases insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells, where it is broken down to produce energy. After “feeding” the cells, the surplus is stored in the form of fat.
Insulin is a hormone that induces fat storage for this reason, in a process called lipogenesis. During fasting, this does not happen. There is a reduction in insulin levels, and the message to the body is to “release” energy stores (lipolysis), which will be used as an energy source.
Lipolysis Leads To Ketosis, Which Helps With Weight Loss
The release and use of stored fat as a source of energy is what characterizes ketosis. In this process, ketone bodies are produced from the transformation of lipids into glucose by the liver. It is an alternative energy source to glucose, which leads to the burning of excess fat and weight loss.
But this benefit is not the only one. The digestive process is one of the most exhausting for the body. This “rest” for the body, in addition to the reduction in insulin, is associated with the improvement of several other conditions.
How Intermittent Fasting Improves Health
The benefits are progressive, depending on the evolution of the practice, over days, weeks, months, and years. There are also different types of fasting within the evolution of practice.
The favored metabolic activities are:
- Increased autophagy (destruction and recycling of dead cells);
- Increased mitochondrial biogenesis, accelerating metabolism;
- Improvement of lipid profile (cholesterol and triglycerides)
- Improves insulin sensitivity, control of the glycemic curve, and reduces risk of diabetes;
- Hypertension control;
- More excellent production of the hormone Glucagon, stimulating lipolysis and weight loss;
- Reduction of visceral fat and abdominal circumference;
- Improved cognitive performance and alertness;
- Reduction of free radicals and oxidative stress;
- Improvement in hormonal modulation;
- Reduction of subclinical chronic inflammation;
- Regeneration of the immune system.
Of course, it is not enough to fast for one day or a week to benefit from these health improvements. Many of them are part of a months- and years-long strategy process.
You spent years cultivating bad habits, and it won’t be overnight that you will recover your health. But progressively investing in intermittent fasting can be a very valid path!
What Diseases Does It Help Prevent?
With the improvement of metabolism, glycemic, and lipid profiles, the risk of chronic diseases decreases.
The practice helps prevent or control:
- Arterial hypertension and cardiovascular diseases;
- Hepatic steatosis (fatty liver);
- Neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s);
Who Shouldn’t Practice Intermittent Fasting?
The success of intermittent fasting largely depends on the quality of the meals in the eating window. During this period, the body needs to receive the nutrients necessary for nutrition and satiety.
So, those who already maintain a healthy diet have an easier time getting started. Professional guidance is essential, especially for those who still follow a disordered diet.
Fasting requires an adaptation phase. Some people feel weak and have headaches and other alarming symptoms. The strategic eating plan helps a lot to control these initial complaints.
In any case, intermittent fasting is not suitable for everyone. There are some restrictions:
- Diabetes, anemia, high or low blood pressure and kidney failure;
- Eating disorders or weight below recommended;
- Some types of controlled medication;
- Some psychological disorders.
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