Recent evidence is suggesting that intermittent fasting is a valid method of weight loss and of improving cellular health.
If combined with appropriate supplementation and resistance training, it can be very good for the body and will slow down aging.
HOW FASTING CAN IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH: THE BASICS
By restricting energy intake to certain periods of the day or by introducing time-controlled feeding, one can improve metabolic health and increase lifespan.
Intermittent fasting will decrease body weight, insulin levels, blood pressure, inflammation and even appetite. Intermittent fasting will improve cellular insulin sensitivity and also serum lipid profiles over time.
BENEFIT #1: HEALTHY AGING
Calorie restriction causes what is known as ‘healthy aging’. This means that there is an improvement in the metabolism of a cell.
In addition, there is the creation of new and healthy mitochondria to deal with this calorie restriction. This is a normal survival mechanism of humans.
By restricting caloric intake for longer than the normal physiologic periods of fasting (8-14 hours), you can limit the development of age-associated damage to the metabolic abilities of the cell. This calorie restriction also causes a reduction in cellular aging.
Time-controlled fasting (TCF) can reduce oxidative stress and also control the metabolic disturbances of the mitochondria. One mechanism of this effect is that intermittent fasting actually maintains proper levels of Atgl and therefore, fatty metabolism is still possible.
Normally, in the obese and DM2 situtations and with a persistent HFD, the production of Atgl is limited.
BENEFIT #2: MAINTAIN MUSCLE MASS
Basically, a high fat diet will cause an increase in body weight and an increase in blood glucose levels. There is a reduced ability of cells to have insulin-mediated glucose uptake. The glucose transporter Glut-4 is down-regulated in as soon as a month of a HFD.
Glut-4 is very much reduced in skeletal muscle, for instance the calf muscle (gastrocnemius). In fact, fast-twitch muscles like the calf muscle, which is essential to mobility, are the most affected by a HFD along with aging and the most damaged.
Atgl is protective for cells exposed to diets high in fat. A high fat diet will actually reduce the basal cell metabolic rate. This reduces overall oxygen consumption. As well, the length of mitochondrial DNA decreases in the face of a diet high in fat and this is one of the primary markers of aging. Thus, a diet high in fat will accelerate aging.
The normal effects of aging and DM2/obesity on skeletal muscle is atrophy and dysfunction. The muscle develops insulin resistance and there is wasting and weakness.
Persistent nutrient overload results in major changes to cellular metabolism and thus early aging. Too much nutrition also generally results in more ROS production and more oxidative stress damage to the cells. Time-controlled fasting (or intermittent fasting) can stop this.
BENEFIT #3: BETTER MITOCHONDRIAL HEALTH
Healthy muscle cells can be flexible to the nutritional needs of a person. These mitochondria can switch between the oxidation of fatty acids and glucose pretty quickly. Fasting can enhance evolutionary conserved mechanisms of longevity.
One of these is the cell’s ability to change metabolism from fat to glucose quickly; with this transition comes anti-oxidant production and glucose clearance as well. Fasting boosts mitochondrial function. Longer fasting periods seem more effective at this.
Time-controlled feeding will enhance gluconeogenesis from fat. This will enhance cellular mitochondrial abilities and also result in weight loss.
Intermittent fasting is an excellent way to improve your overall health while naturally and sustainably losing weight.
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