Intermittent fasting can enhance longevity, weight loss, human growth hormone and protect brain health, say scientists.
Research shows people who intermittently fast lose weight more quickly and keep it off longer than those who follow conventional, linear diets where they’re constantly depriving yourself.
What’s more, IF has been shown to ward off diseases like cancer and dementia, as Celebrity Health Fitness reported.
With intermittent fasting, you alternate between days of “fasting” (very low caloric intake) and days of “feasting.” That’s the idea behind the bestselling book, The 5:2 Diet.
Aside from weight loss, regularly experiencing hunger has many disease-fighting benefits, say scientists.
While most people do intermittent fasting to lose weight, research from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) suggests intermittent fasting can also improve brain functioning, and help maintain lean muscle mass.
“Just as exercise makes muscles stronger, fasting makes the brain stronger,” said Dr. Mark Mattson, chief of the NIA’s neurosciences lab (see video).
Mattson said the chemicals produced by fasting also appear to boost people’s mood.
Intermittent fasting has skyrocketed in popularity, thanks to the runaway success of the Fast Diet (or 5:2 diet), which calls for fasting (500 calories a day) for two days of the week and eating whatever you want the other five days.
Another popular IF diet is the Every Other Day Diet, where you alternate every other day between fasting and regular eating.
Thousands of people say they lost dramatic amounts of weight quickly on both of these IF regimes.
Not only do most people lose weight quickly on these plans, but they say it’s easier to stick to their diets.
“If you know that tomorrow you can eat normally, you can make it through today,” said Dr. Mattson.
IF Boosts Human Growth Hormone Over 1,000%
Actor Hugh Jackman has credited intermittent fasting for helping him achieve his rippling Wolverine body, Celebrity Health Fitness reported.
Jackman said IF also gave him more energy and improved his sleep. Jackman said he was inspired to follow intermittent fasting after reading The 8-Hour Diet by David Zinczenko, the former editor-in-chief of Men’s Health.
Hugh’s 16/8 intermittent fasting protocol involves doing all his eating for the day during an eight-hour window and then not eating at all (except for water) for 16 hours.
Jackman typically consumes all his calories between 10 am and 6 pm. It’s an eating plan he follows even when he’s not training for a role.
Studies indicate periodic fasting stabilizes blood sugar, improves cholesterol, and dramatically increases human growth hormone.
Researchers from the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute said men who fasted for 24 hours experienced a 2,000% spike in HGH, while women saw a 1,300% increase.