August 15, 2019
America is the greatest country in the world, but boy does it have its fair share of crises.
We all know our banking system is broken, that our government has bucket loads of debt and our healthcare system is too expensive.
But beyond the catchy headlines, there’s a looming crisis which is far less obvious and rears its head years down the line.
And by that point, it’s too late.
The real national enemy doesn’t come from abroad, but from ourselves.
It’s what I call the ‘lifestyle crisis.’ The facts don’t lie: chronic conditions, heavily influenced by lifestyle, are set to take the biggest share of healthcare expenses in the country.
We don’t move enough, we eat rotten food and we don’t properly take care of our bodies.
And that gives the green light to obesity, diabetes, cancer and strokes.
It’s a tragic irony that it’s incredibly easy to reduce your risk of the most horrible conditions, but fundamentally a lot of it comes down to not just what you eat, but how you eat.
You see, your body is a finely-tuned machine, and what you put into it drastically changes your life.
This is where intermittent fasting comes in. It’s a way of eating where you only eat within a certain ‘window’ in your day.
Sounds strange? Well, it shouldn’t. It’s an extremely effective way to eat that can make you lose weight, improve your health and even halt the aging process.
Want to know more? Read on to find out…
1. Intermittent fasting helps you lose weight
The first reason why intermittent fasting helps you lose weight is through calorie control. I think the calorie explanation of obesity is vastly overrated, but you can’t deny it can cause some short-term changes!
There’s only so much space in your stomach, and if you only eat for a certain period each day, you can only consume so many calories in food.
It’s the continual grazing throughout the day that really lets the calories add up…
But it’s not just about the calories–it’s about how your body processes food too.
Every time you eat sugars or carbohydrates, your blood sugar goes up. Your body then produces the hormone insulin, which takes excess glucose (blood sugar) and converts it into glycogen. It then stores this in your muscles as reserve energy.
(Think of insulin as the ‘on switch’ for your body to become a carb-burning machine.)
After your body has processed all the glucose you’ve consumed, your body turns off the insulin switch. That’s when your body can start using its glycogen stores for energy.
But what happens if you eat again before your body has had a chance to process all of that glucose?
Your insulin switch just stays on, and your body just continues to take glucose and store it as glycogen in your muscles. But your muscles don’t have unlimited space, and so your body starts to convert the excess into fat.
So, naturally, the way to turn your body’s insulin switch off is by not eating, also known as fasting. Then, in the absence of insulin, your body can really get down to using your body fat for energy instead of food.
Yep, that’s right. Even if you don’t change your diet, you can still lose weight!
2. Intermittent fasting can halt aging
I’m not saying it’s the elixir of life, but intermittent fasting comes pretty close to stopping aging.
The reason? The science suggests that calorie restriction influences the very way your cells operate.
Our cells contain mitochondria, which are like the power plants of the cell. As we age, they change shape, which reduces their overall effectiveness.
As a result, we look older and our bodies don’t perform as efficiently.
For reasons we don’t quite know yet, intermittent fasting helps keep the mitochondria in their ‘young’ state.
When you realize how many billions of mitochondria you have in your body, that really adds up.
We’re constantly exposed to inflammation and oxidative stress in our lives, so who knew simply eating at certain times could counteract that aging effect?
3. Intermittent fasting simplifies your life
Let’s be honest, we all work far too hard, we’re chronically stressed and we spend half our time chasing things down.
Think of the time benefits you can save when you proactively restrict when you can eat.
It means no more waking up an hour earlier to have breakfast.
It means less time cooking when you could be doing things you want or need to do.
It means you don’t need to plan around eating throughout the day.
It means less time worrying about needing to eat something different three times a day out of boredom.
And the best part is you won’t feel like you’re making a sacrifice to gain more time. It’s controlled, good and healthy to restrict your eating window. Your body and your daily ‘to do’ list will thank you.
4. Intermittent fasting boosts your productivity
There’s a period just after lunch, around 2 pm, where productivity drops across the board. You feel lethargic as you digest your meal as if you need to slow down and focus on absorbing nutrients.
Most people will do the highest-priority and most important things the first thing in the day. So why would you ruin your focus by being full of breakfast?
If you’ve had a big meal in your eating window, the next morning you’ll be full of stored energy, but not sluggish and slow. You’ll be sharp, alert and ready to face the day!
5. Intermittent fasting can boost your metabolism
There’s a myth that’s floated around the weight-loss community for ages, and it’s that calorie restriction can tank your metabolism.
The idea is that it puts your body into ‘starvation mode’ and that makes you conserve calories in the form of fat.
Of course, our ancestors simply became obese couch potatoes when food was in short supply…
I’m joking, of course, but the logic is simply wrong.
Alternatively, if you have a carb-heavy diet and eat regularly, you might already be on your way to couch-potato status.
The reason is in that situation your body is an energy receiver. It’s dependent on glucose to stay burning. When you reduce that, it panics and stores fat.
Instead, when you fast, your body has to find an alternate source of energy, that being your body fat. When you eat regularly, your body doesn’t have a chance to clear out the insulin levels and it never looks to your body fat.
6. Intermittent fasting can help with type 2 diabetes
Diabetes is one of the ‘big bads’ of modern medicine. Type 2 diabetes is a condition that is entirely avoidable, and it’s closely linked to obesity.
And let’s not mess around: nearly 10 percent of Americans have type 2 diabetes, and a good 40 percent of us are obese.
And what’s the main culprit when it comes to type 2 diabetes? Insulin.
When you have type 2 diabetes, your body has become desensitized to it because it’s produced so much. So the body simply cannot produce enough in order to satisfy the needs of eating regular meals.
But intermittent fasting weans you off insulin–it trains your body to use alternate sources of fuel, instead of being trapped in an obesity-causing hormonal cycle.
7. Intermittent fasting reduces inflammation
Inflammation is something we associate with an infection, but it’s even more pervasive than that.
Inflammation happens whenever your body activates the immune system. An immune system that is constantly on alert makes you feel tired and makes you more susceptible to disease.
In fact, inflammation heavily contributes to heart disease, as your immune system can actually break off fatty deposits in your arteries and cause blockages.
And this also applies to other chronic conditions like cancer. It’s in the interest of your overall health to reduce inflammation as much as possible.
Aside from cleaning up your diet, intermittent fasting is a great way to reduce your inflammatory markers.
In fact, numerous studies on Muslim fasters during Ramadan have shown their markers to have reduced significantly.
Fasting isn’t some fad for Instagram influencers to scam you into a trendy lifestyle. No, even Western science is on board with its benefits.
With all the health problems modern America faces, intermittent fasting is the clear winner when it comes to the best results for the lowest difficulty.
If you take your body seriously, consider intermittent fasting. It doesn’t require any change to your favorite foods, and it’ll improve your waistline, your energy and your health.