Abstaining from eating for a set period of time on a regular basis is a practice that has been adhered to since time immemorial. Our ancient ancestors would of only eaten when food sources were available, or when hunting proved successful, meaning going without for a length of time between feeds.
You could say that this is the natural way for us to nourish ourselves. However, along with almost all aspects of our lives, we are far removed from living naturally and in accordance with our biological requirements.
Society today has us eating all through the day and night. We rarely give our digestive systems a break, perpetuating feelings of hunger as soon as the high sugar, carb heavy intake dips. The average diet in the western world is a recipe for disease and that is precisely what we are seeing. To break away from an eating pattern that inevitably leads to illness, new concepts around how and what we consume must be considered. One such technique being fasting.
While fasting would have been a result of natural occurrences during the Paleolithic age, many cultures and religions have continued this practice throughout history. Now, scientific research can reveal some of the health benefits attached to intermittent fasting and people are increasingly incorporating various adaptations of fasting into their lives.
So, let's take a look at the scientific evidence surrounding fasting and whether or not it is an effective means to shedding excess weight.
When we stop piling food into our digestive tracts for a significant amount of time, be it 16 hours to begin with, our bodies respond in a number of ways. According to an article published on the Healthline website, the biggest initial change is the dramatic influx in Human Growth Hormone in the body. This makes stored fat more accessible and helps with muscle gain. Fasting also means that the body produces more of the fat burning hormone, norepinephrine, which is a response to stress in the body.
Weight loss as a result of fasting is therefore highly plausible. However, this is just one of many health benefits you can expect to see as a result of fasting. Try increased energy, better mental clarity, reduced inflammation and an improved immune system. For ways to implement a fasting approach to your diet, use this Intermittent Fasting 101 - The Ultimate Beginner's Guide.