Doing a mini-fast every so often—such as skipping a meal or eating less—could help you live longer and reduce your chances of developing a chronic disease, researchers say. Although most of us couldn’t live like that every day, the occasional mini-fast could have almost the same health benefits as fasting every day. Occasional fasting, where a meal is skipped or you eat less one day, seems to raise the amount of SIRT 3 genes, which promote longevity and also protects cells, say researchers from the University of Florida. The little-but-often approach to fasting seems to trigger small stress responses in the body, which build protective pathways and bolster the immune system. Intermittent fasting also lowers insulin levels, which could have an anti-diabetic effect as well. To test the benefits of the mini-fast, the researchers recruited 24 adults, whose diets switched from eating just 25 per cent of their daily calories one day and then 75 per cent more than their daily intake the next. For the average male, this means eating 650 calories on the ‘fast’ day and then 4,550 calories on the ‘feast’ day.
(Source: Rejuvenation Research, 2014; 141229080855001; doi: 10.1089/rej.2014.1624)
The Many Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting has been show to prevent disease and extend life span. Here is a list of some of the health benefits seen in research studies:
- Enhancing cognitive function in mice
- Lowering glucose and insulin levels
- Lowering oxidative stress (a cause of aging and disease)
- Decreasing inflammation
- Reducing body fat
- Reducing blood pressure
- Preserving nerve function in rats
- Lowering LDL cholesterol
- Promoting weight loss
- Protecting heart function
Who knew fasting could do this much?
How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?
When you drastically limit your calories (called caloric restriction), it causes a change in your gene expression. “Good genes” that slow down the aging process are turned on. Studies show intermittent fasting can trigger similar physiological effects as caloric restriction. Among the good genes are the SIRTUINs, which regulate life span and cell death. All animals possess these genes which turn on during times of famine. Caloric restriction has been shown to extend the lives of several species including yeast, flies, worms, dogs, and monkeys. It has also been shown to visibly slow the signs of aging. Okinawa, an island off the coast of Japan, has some of the longest living people in the world. Worldwide, they have the largest concentration of centenarians. The Okinawans practice a calorically restricted diet, consuming a low-calorie diet, of around 1,200 calories a day, and eating only until they are 80% full.
I do intermittent fasting on a weekly basis myself. I typically will eat in a 7 hour window from 12pm-7pm and will fast for the rest. And for the coffee lovers out there you can still have a cup of coffee in the morning too. I’d suggest to switch it up and do a Ketogenic style coffee though. Mix 1 tbsp. of extra virgin coconut oil in 7-10oz of coffee with no sugar or cream added. If you like the creamy taste in your coffee then add 1 tbsp. of grass fed butter in your coffee and mix it all in a blender and you’ll be surprised by how much it taste just like regular creamer. Doing a ketogenic coffee gets your body started into a fat burning mode. Enjoy