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Posted on / Dr. Yousef Mohammadi

The Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

As a physician focused on optimizing health and longevity, I'm always exploring the latest science-backed approaches. One practice that has been picking up momentum in recent years is intermittent fasting (IF). There's no shortage of diets and health trends out there, but IF stands out with compelling research behind its potential benefits.

From reducing inflammation and oxidative stress to promoting weight management and metabolic flexibility, IF is an intriguing strategy worth considering. In my years of study and clinical practice, I've seen an increasing amount of evidence pointing to the advantages of time-restricted eating patterns.

Whether you're already familiar with IF or just learning about it for the first time, I'll cover the science, practical tips for getting started safely, and insights into who can benefit most from this dietary approach. Let's explore the facts and strategies behind this increasingly popular practice.

What is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting involves restricting your food intake to a specific window of time each day. One common approach is to stop eating early in the evening and postpone your first meal until late morning, allowing your digestive system an extended period of rest and recovery. While this can be challenging if you have an active social life, you can keep your fast going in the morning and stay hydrated with calorie-free beverages like black coffee and clean, sugar-free electrolytes (that also work to optimize cellular health).


The Science Behind Intermittent Fasting

Studies have shown that even a 20% reduction in food intake can decrease oxidative stress in the body and slow age-related decline in hormones and the immune system. This can contribute to a lower risk of autoimmune conditions and improved brain function. In animal studies, IF has been linked to reduced neurodegeneration, while in humans, it has shown potential benefits for seizure disorders and even a reduced risk of breast cancer when practiced with a 13-hour fasting window. 

After about 12 hours of fasting, your body enters a state of ketosis, where it starts burning fat for energy instead of glucose (tapping into ketones, energy molecules directly utilized by the brain as fuel). This metabolic flexibility can aid in weight loss and improved overall metabolic health. Typically individuals will begin to see results between one to three months including improvements in weight, sleep, cholesterol and inflammation markers.


Getting Started with Intermittent Fasting

To successfully implement intermittent fasting, it's helpful to make a few changes in your kitchen environment. Remove visible snacks or food that might tempt mindless snacking, and increase your water intake to avoid confusing thirst with hunger. It's also important to distinguish emotional eating from true hunger – a helpful mnemonic is "HALT" (feeling hungry, angry, lonely, tired, or bored).

While intermittent fasting can simplify weight loss without strict calorie counting, it's still essential to respect your body's circadian rhythm and work with a knowledgeable dietitian to ensure you're getting adequate nutrition, especially if you're an athlete or have specific dietary needs.

As with any dietary change, there are potential risks to be aware of, such as the risk of malnutrition in vulnerable populations like children and the elderly. Additionally, as your body burns fat during fasting periods, toxins stored in fat cells may be released, necessitating a detox protocol to avoid side effects.

Overall, when properly monitored and tailored to your individual needs, the benefits of intermittent fasting can outweigh the risks, offering a promising approach to optimizing health and longevity.

Ready to Try Intermittent Fasting? 

Download LifeScape's Intermittent Fasting Protocol Guide HERE for practical tips to help you get the most out of this approach. There are also apps like Fastic that help you stay on track and encourage you to get to your goals in intermittent fasting.


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