Intermittent fasting is the latest approach to healthy eating, and its popularity is increasing around the world. What makes intermittent fasting (IF) so attractive are its numerous benefits, and the list of these just keeps growing with new scientific findings.

Ideal for weight loss and metabolism-boosting

Fasting attracts many people with its promises of weight loss. So does it really work? Science says yes!
IF improves glycemic control, which helps you lose weight. A review that compares different diets illustrates that IF provides a loss of 4% to 10% of body weight over a period of 4 to 24 weeks. (1, 2)
In another review, people who followed an IF plan lost weight at a rate of 0.8 to 13.0% from their initial weight, even though they didn’t restrict their daily calorie intake. (1)
And another study showed that fasting plans restricting calorie intake during the hours of night significantly boost metabolism and weight loss. (1)
Research into alternating fasting has found that fasting does not significantly differ from the traditional calorie-restricted diet in terms of rate of weight loss; but on the other hand, it does help preserve more muscle mass. (1)
Although IF doesn’t focus on calorie restriction as such, it may have the unintentional side effect that you eat less. One study found that people who incorporated IF into their eating habits consumed 300-400 calories less during the day. (1)
But you don’t need to change the amount of food you consume, because IF helps with hormone regulation, which is the key to your metabolic rate and hunger. So finding your hormonal balance can lead to fat loss during your IF journey (1).

Fasting is the new botox

IF supports autophagy – a cellular renewal process in which your body removes the old cells to make room for new ones. (1)
This means IF contributes to cellular health and slows the aging process. Both animal and human studies have shown that following a time-restricted food plan prolongs life and decreases the health problems due to aging. (1, 2)
Fasting in the late hours of the day is particularly linked with a longer lifespan (1).

Your digestive system loves IF

Researchers believe that there has been a significant loss of diversity in our gut microbiome during the past 50 years, due to rising consumption of processed foods and monotonous types of nutrition. But your gut microbiome is the key to a healthy life and greater metabolic rate, and studies show that intermittent fasting with a diet rich in diversity can be a great way of improving your gut microbiome. (1, 2)
Fasting also gives your digestive system a rest by triggering the activation of migrating motor complex (MMC) – a cleaning process for undigested food, which works during the fasted state and between meals. (1)

IF can benefit your mental health

In recent research, people who practiced IF reported a better mood than the control group, who lost weight by a traditional calorie-restricted diet. The mood-boosting effect of fasting becomes most apparent towards the end of the fasting period. (1)
Also another study suggested that IF improves markers of oxidative stress (1)
Moreover, a recent study of depression patients suggests that intermittent fasting can improve the symptoms of depression. (1)
On the other hand, another study has found that intermittent fasting doesn’t influence depression symptoms but does reduce anxiety and confusion, and improves mood. (1)
Here too, however, there is evidence that the opposite view may be true, with some people reporting no mood improvement, or even deterioration in their mood. (1)
The key here, particularly if you have symptoms of depression, is to observe yourself, listen to the signals from your body and decide whether intermittent fasting works for you or not.

Other Health Benefits

Who should avoid Intermittent Fasting?

Although there are many benefits of fasting, keep in mind that it may not be appropriate for everyone. You should consult a medical doctor before starting IF if you:

There is always more to learn. If you’re looking for further information, check out:

Time-Restricted Eating May Reverse Diabetes & Obesity

Dr. Satchin Panda on Practical Implementation of Time-Restricted Eating & Shift Work Strategies

16:8 Intermittent Fasting

099 On Fasting, Keto, and Middle Aged Awesomeness with Larry Zimberg

Intermittent Fasting Made My Life Easier, and Happier