The Benefits of Intermittent Fastingby Henry Hound on June 25, 2012
What “IF” you could be healthier and live longer just be eating less? Well that is what the proponents of Intermittent Fasting – or “IF” are saying, and it sounds to the hound that what they are saying makes a lot of sense.
For a long time science has known that reducing the amount of calories you eat can influence longevity. But there has also long been a downside to calorie reduction alone. While it could improve lifespan as indicated in numerous animal studies, reducing caloric intake to below that of the daily requirement does not come without a price — specifically loss of lean muscle, fatigue, difficulty concentrating – and not to mention always feeling hungry. So in other words, eating less than you should, could help you live longer than you would, but who wants to live a long and miserable life?
Recent studies seem to indicate that the answer could lie in Intermittent Fasting, or Intermittent Feeding – both called “IF” for short. IF could give all of the benefits of calorie restriction, without the usual negative aspects. In a published study on alternative day calorie restriction conducted by the Louisiana State University Medical Center researchers concluded: “Restricting caloric intake to 60-70% of normal adult weight maintenance requirements prolongs lifespan 30-50% and confers near perfect health across a broad range of species.” I hope that includes Hound Dogs!
Now I know what you are saying – as soon as you hear the word “fast” you think starvation – that is not what was done in the studies, nor suggested by advocates of IF. No one has to starve here, what is suggested by the technique is to eat a normal healthy diet within your required caloric range on one day, and alternate that with eating a significant amount less 30 – 70% of your daily caloric requirement the next day.
This is actually how our bodies were and are designed to survive. As early Hunters and Gathers in the wild… there was a lot of hit and miss. “Feast or Famine” was a truism and not just an expression. A tribal group could be flush with food one day, and then go for many days unsuccessful at obtaining food after that. It is only in modern society that we have indoctrinated ourselves to the idea of “Three Squares” every day.
The Skinny on Intermittent Fasting
The exact reasons why IF works are not 100% clear, but they are all related to various pathways and mechanisms that the body uses to deal with times of scarcity. Again since fasting, not necessarily by choice, was a way of life for our ancestors, our bodies have become well adapted to deal with the stressors of fasting.
Fasting, as it occurred regularly in the ancient past allowed our bodies to breakdown tissue without promoting concurrent inflammation. What that means is fasting actually was a “good thing,” a way for the body to do an “in with the good” and “out with the bad” kind of cleanse, eliminating old, damaged cells and replacing them with stronger cells, in effect making us live longer and stronger to hunt another day!
IF seems to:
• Reduce blood glucose and insulin levels thereby improving overall glucose metabolism
• Increase level of fat burning hormones in the blood, specially HGH, adrenaline and glucagon.
• Preserving lean muscle mass
• Increase health in general by lowering blood pressure, improving the immune response, decreasing inflammation and fighting metabolic disease conditions.
There is mounting evidence that if you really want to make IF work to improve overall health, maintain weight, and lengthen your life – you need to couple it with intense physical activity. Again just as hunting, gathering, and fasting were a way of life for our ancestors, so was high intensity working out, albeit not in a gym! We were born to live a “fight or flight” lifestyle and our metabolism reflects that. Our ancestors had to run constantly to hunt game, or run from it for their lives. Not to mention continuous warfare with other tribal groups – it was daily fight to just to survive! Believe you me; anyone fat and lazy was “culled from the heard” very quickly!
Looking at the skeletal record, anthropologists report that our most recent ancestors where much leaner, taller, and stronger then we are. It was this fight or flight IF way of life that lead to their very lean and strong musculature. Anthropologist believe that most men of generations past were less than 10% body fight, and even most women – allowing for more natural adipose tissue – were from 10-20% body fat. They believe the chief reason for this is the increase in the levels of HGH – Human Growth Hormone – that are produced in reaction to IF and intense physical activity. HGH not only improves cell growth, it is one of the factors that leads to reduced stress and longevity.
Researchers at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute found that Intermittent Fasting for 12 – 24 hours along with a high-intensity work out increased HGH levels in the body as much as 2000% in men and 1300% in women. Those are not typo’s – you read that right – those are increases in the Thousands!
So the bottom line is if you want to live long and well into the 21st century, you should take a page from our ancestors, and go a little “primitive” and try IF – it’s so simple a Caveman could do it – and in fact they did!
For More information on how intermittent fasting and exercise can transform your body, I what to introduce Caleb Lee. Caleb is one of those “under the radar” experts when it comes to getting a strong, lean body. He is one of “those guys” who has been obsessed with everything to do with health & fitness since he was about 12 years old!
Caleb has a great free presentation where he reveals 3 different types of foods that eliminate hunger, burn calories, and ignite fat loss for men and women. Plus, he even shows you why stomach crunches and situps are the LAST thing you should be doing if you want to lose inches off your waist (what he recommends instead is really surprising!)