John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; Nov 2020
So, you want to begin an intermittent fasting plan and embark on a leaner, healthier and longer life? You probably have already heard about this wildly popular health and fitness diet plan. Intermittent fasting continues to be one of the top google trending diet searches of the year.
The science is in—intermittent fasting has extraordinary health benefits. Intermittent fasting is the key that unlocks everything from sustainable weight and fat loss (especially that stubborn belly fat) to increased mental clarity and a serious boost in energy.
Simply by consuming all of your food within a designated time period, you can ramp up your metabolism, reduce the risk of disease, and supercharge your workout or diet program
No tedious calorie counting, weighing, measuring, or denying yourself your favorite foods. Too good to be true? No, but the trick—as with everything—is doing it in a safe and effective way and Intermittent Fasting For Dummies makes that easy, providing five of the most popular methods and 40+ recipes that will suit any lifestyle or diet.
Dr. Janet shows you how to choose the method that suits you best, as well as guiding you through the science behind intermittent fasting:
Wherever you are in your health journey—seeking weight loss or maintaining to promote disease prevention or build muscle—Intermittent Fasting For Dummies shows you how to make the science of "too good to be true" into a truly effective part of your regular, healthy routine.
No matter if you're a beginner or more advanced intermittent faster, Intermittent Fasting for Dummies gives you advice and instructions in plain English to help you incorporate an intermittent fasting program in your life.
Discover the top 5 most popular versions of intermittent fasting and decide which one is right for you:
The science is in. Mounting scientific evidence supports the health benefits derived from following a plan of intermittent fasting. Here are 12 of the benefits that have the most scientific support:
Intermittent fasting can help you lose weight and belly fat, without having to consciously restrict calories. Intermittent fasting also amplifies enzymatic fat breakdown (lipolysis).
Intermittent fasting can sensitize cells to insulin, reducing harmful insulin resistance and lowering blood sugar by 3 to 6 percent. Fasting insulin levels have been lowered by 20- 31% with intermittent fasting, all of which protect against type 2 diabetes.
Insulin secretion from the pancreas goes up due to an increase and regeneration of the beta cells of the pancreas (the cells that produce and secrete insulin).
When your blood sugar is constantly high, your insulin levels are constantly high. This leads to type 2 diabetes, which is a huge epidemic. Consistently high blood sugar levels (also known as hyperglycemia) cause damage to the insides of the arteries.
Hyperglycemia harms the vessels that supply blood to vital organs, which can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, kidney disease, vision problems, and nerve problems.
Research shows that a program of intermittent fasting reduces blood markers of inflammation, a key driver of many chronic diseases. Oxidative stress is one of the factors that accelerates aging and predisposes you to developing disease.
Several studies show that intermittent fasting boosts the body's resistance to oxidative stress. Intermittent fasting strengthens immune function and enhances the body's ability to repair cells and DNA.
Intermittent fasting improves multiple indicators of cardiovascular health in both overweight and normal weight individuals.
Intermittent fasting reduces the following risk factors for heart disease — the leading cause of death in American men and women:
In addition, intermittent fasting lowers inflammation and oxidative stress, both causative factors associated with heart disease.
Some research suggests that intermittent fasting helps fight cancer by lowering insulin resistance and levels of inflammation. Intermittent fasting may also reverse the effects of chronic conditions such as obesity and type 2 diabetes, which are both risk factors for cancer.
Researchers believe that intermittent fasting suppresses tumor growth and extends survival in patients with cancer. Intermittent fasting may make cancer cells more responsive to chemotherapy while protecting other cells.
Intermittent fasting also boosts the immune system to help fight cancer that is already present.
Intermittent fasting increases production of brain-derived neurotrophic (BDNF), an anti-aging protein thought to protect against Alzheimer's disease by helping the brain produce new healthy cells and strengthen existing ones, improving cognition.
Intermittent fasting causes the cells in the body to initiate the cellular cleanup process called autophagy.
Intermittent fasting improves eating behavior and mood. Intermittent fasting increases BDNF, the protein that aids in the growth of new nerve cells.
A deficiency of BDNF has been implicated in depression and various other brain problems. BDNF is food for the brain cells, keeping them flourishing, strong and healthy.
With weight loss comes improvement in asthma symptoms and a reduction in airway resistance. Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disorder characterized by degeneration of the nervous system.
Recent studies in people with MS adhering to intermittent fasting programs saw reduced symptoms in as short a period as two months.
Intermittent fasting can extend lifespan in rodents. Studies showed that fasted mice lived 36-83% longer! Although it's a far cry from mice to men, intermittent fasting has become very popular among the anti-aging crowd.
The health benefits of intermittent fasting on aging, oxidative stress, metabolism, and cardiovascular disease have been demonstrated in both human and animal studies alike.
The gut microbiome refers to all the microbes in your intestines, which act as another organ, crucial for your health. More than 1,000 species of bacteria are in the human gut microbiome, and each of them plays a different role in your body. Most of them are extremely important for your health, whereas others may cause disease such inflammatory bowel disease, liver cirrhosis, and colorectal cancer.
Scientific research has shown that intermittent fasting restores microbe health and diversity in the gut by increasing the good microbes, augmenting tolerance against bad gut microbes, and rebuilding the integrity of the intestinal wall.
Experts have recommended that adults get about seven to nine hours of sleep per night for good health. Intermittent fasting positively affects your circadian clock, which exerts a powerful influence over your sleep. Intermittent fasting strengthens the 24-hour circadian clock.
A stronger, more synchronized circadian clock means an easier time falling asleep, staying asleep, and waking feeling refreshed on a regular basis.
A good night's sleep will help you function at your best, and to protect your health over time, and with age.
Intermittent fasting is one of the world's most popular health and fitness trends. Since intermittent fasting is a relatively a new phenomenon, you may have a host of questions that you want answered to help you determine whether intermittent fasting is right for you.
Here are some common questions and answers to help you make that decision:
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of short-term fasting and eating. There are multiple intermittent fasting diet plans circulating. All of them dictate when you should eat rather than what specific foods you should eat.
One popular version, called the 16:8 method, means you fast for 16 hours every day and eat during your chosen 8 hour eating window. You repeat this pattern of eating every day. However, for long-term health benefits, it is highly recommended that you don't ignore the "what to eat" part of this eating regimen.
As a nutritionist, it is suggested that you combine a plant-based, Mediterranean style of eating with your intermittent fasting plan of choice.
There are several different ways of doing intermittent fasting such as the 16:8 method and the 5:2 diet. The top 5 of the most popular plans are outlined in my book.
Numerous scientific studies have shown that intermittent fasting programs can have powerful benefits for your body and brain.
Here are just a few of the notable health benefits:
Intermittent fasting is safe for most people, but it's not for everyone. If you have a medical condition, you must get medical clearance to follow a program of intermittent fasting, especially if you have:
Intermittent fasting should NOT be practiced by:
In the beginning, you'll feel hunger pangs during your fasting periods. Most intermittent fasting newbies figure out how to accept, adjust, and dull hunger pangs, which typically dissipate after about a month on an intermittent fasting program.
Yes, but no marathons are required! All Americans need to move more for better health. Because you're entering into a lifestyle program aimed at improving your health, this one does indeed advocate daily exercise.
You'll see health benefits from fasts of from 14 hours to 36 hours. The ideal fasting window and ultimately fasting regimen will vary depending on you. What matters is the duration of fasting that works for your lifestyle.
Yes, you can during your eating windows, in moderation, and if you can drink responsibly. You should know that drinking any amount of alcohol increases your risk of seven different types of cancer.
One of the phenomenal attractions of intermittent fasting is the concept that you get lots of cheat days - built in. Technically, you can eat whatever you want during your eating windows. This simple idea of freedom in eating is very motivating — fast today for tomorrow you feast!
Yes, studies have shown that combining intermittent fasting with a program of strength-training designed to increase muscle mass will result in muscle gain and fat loss.
Yes, you must continue taking your prescription medications as directed (and should only practice intermittent fasting under the guidance of your personal healthcare provider).
If you need to take your meds with food, on a daily basis, choose an intermittent fasting plan that allows a daily window of eating for your medications.
Supplements, if they contain negligible calories, can be taken as usual. Check with your healthcare provider if you have any concerns.
If you are eating nutritious food and can maintain a healthy weight, you can eat this way indefinitely.