Intermittent fasting does not describe a specific form of typical fasting. The intermittent fasting (also called interval fasting), however, denotes a particular eating rhythm. You eat so – compared to the real fast – very well, only at certain times and especially only at certain intervals. You switch between periods of normal food intake time and the food waiting period. The risks for age-related illnesses are thereby reduced, the slimming succeeds more easily, and one lives longer.
Intermittent fasting: The dietary rhythm of our ancestors
For us modern people it is normal to have a continuous food supply available. After all, there is everything in the supermarket at any time, what our heart desires – and everything in abundance.
Of course, this was not the case for our ancestors who lived as hunters and gatherers. Before man became sedentary and learned to cultivate agriculture and livestock, there were always days when no solid food was available.
That sounds pretty dramatic in our today’s spoiled ears. But these involuntary fast days did not harm. On the contrary. They relieved the organism and made it more resistant.
Fasting days relieve and improve the health
Although over-nutrition is known to promote cardiovascular disease and is associated with an increased rate of disease and death, many people find it difficult to control or even reduce their food intake.
For this reason, the diet of our ancestors has again become the focus of much research. One would like to find out whether health-promoting effects of dietetic ways of life are possible even without reduced food intake.
Various studies conclude that only an alternating rhythm in food intake can minimize cardiovascular risk factors, protect against degenerative diseases of the nervous system and in many ways improve one’s health – and this alternating rhythm in food intake is called intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting – How does it work?
The execution of intermittent fasting is very easy. Periods of normal food intake are followed by periods when you eat nothing.
There are two basic variants of intermittent fasting, which in return allows numerous variations.
- One fasting day per week
For example, intermittent fasting could be done by fasting one day a week, so eating nothing. Some people also take two fast days a week, so they fast every Monday and Thursday, for example. Others eat and fast in a 24 hour shift.
The last-mentioned variant is, of course, the most intensive form of intermittent fasting. In this case, one eats ad libitum one day (at will), the next day one does not even consume any calories. To cover the need for liquids on the fasting days serve water and unsweetened teas.
In order to achieve a desired effect, such as weight loss or health improvement, it makes sense to use the intermittent fast days in the shortest possible time intervals. So should be daily or in the ratio 2 to 1 (2 days to eat, 1 day fast) to be changed.
This rhythm should be maintained until the desired fasting goals are achieved. If you have reached the desired weight, you feel better or show the blood pictures that everything is back in order, the fasting days can become rarer again.
- Daily fasting periods
However, intermittent fasting can also be done on a daily basis by fasting for 16, 18, or even 20 hours a day.
Especially beginners, this variant is often much easier than the first. You do not have to forego solid food for a whole day, but you can eat for 8, 6 or 4 hours, the rest of the time you do not eat any calorie-containing drinks or food.
Of course, you should not eat permanently in these 4 to 6 hours, but eat two meals and in any case avoid overeating.
For example, if you want to eat for 6 hours and fast for 18 hours, your daily routine might look like this: You take the first meal (a late breakfast or an early lunch) at 11:00 and have dinner at 4:00 pm. So you fast from about 17 clock (end of the second meal) until the next day at 11 clock. A third meal is canceled.
Intermittent fasting: no sugar!
Of course, meals should not contain sugar or other isolated carbohydrates (white flour, white rice). For then the blood sugar and insulin levels remain low and the body gains more energy from the burning of fats.
After the first meal is also a good time to take supplements such as antioxidants and vitamins (vitamin C, vitamin B complex, vitamin B 12, astaxanthin, OPC, etc.), amino acids and phytochemicals (such as nettle leaf powder, barley grass powder or whatever you have available).
Metabolism was excellently stimulated by the meal, and the micro-nutrients can now be easily absorbed by the intestines.
However, since the body was not burdened with a heavy and unhealthy meal at the same time and in the next few hours there are no constant snacks, the antioxidants in the following period undisturbed can detoxify the cells and tissues and repair damages to cell membranes and genetic material.
If you want to intensify this whole process, you can reduce the period of food intake to less and less hours per day – until you have two meals only between 11 o’clock and 15 o’clock.
Does intermittent fasting make you hungry?
At first, intermittent fasting is unfamiliar to many people, especially those who are constantly snacking or constantly sipping on any drink. They think they are hungry. But this is often not hunger, but appetite.
Even a blood sugar level that has gotten out of hand can initially trigger feelings of hunger. This is especially true in the past when somebody repeatedly consumed meals or snacks made from isolated carbohydrates (sweet bars, sweet drinks, rolls, biscuits, sweet particles, etc.).
Consuming these isolated carbohydrates causes a rapid increase in blood sugar and insulin levels. Hunger is the result, because the blood sugar value soon falls again excessively strong and the body signals the desire for sugar replenishment.
Intermittent fasting and sports
However, just by intermittent fasting and eating without isolated carbohydrates, the organism learns to regulate its blood sugar levels again so that it can withstand several hours without food, without any stomach growling or feeling weak.
On the contrary: The food breaks will develop into phases with the highest physical and mental performance in the future.
If sports or physically strenuous activities are integrated into everyday life, then it may make sense to do so a few hours after the last meal.
So the organism has enough energy and nutrients for anabolic (constructive) metabolic processes, but is not just busy with the digestion, as it would be the case immediately after the meal.
If you want to further support the anabolic processes and optimize the personal protein supply, then high-quality pure plant proteins (lupine protein, rice protein, hemp protein, etc.) can improve the synthesis of endogenous proteins.
This not only strengthens the muscles, but also the collagen connective tissue, which is responsible for the firmness of the skin and tissues.
The vegetable proteins are consumed as a shake immediately before or after meals. Of course you can also integrate them into the meals, such as by mixing them in the bread dough and bake a carbohydrate bread.
Intermittent fasting: the sooner the better!
In general, the better one integrates this form of nutrition into one’s life, the higher the positive effects of intermittent fasting on the body’s resistance and the prevention of age-related illnesses.
The first noticeable changes, such as more energy and greater well-being, occur already in the first weeks after the beginning of intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting: fasting crises stay off
Fasting crises, as they are known from fasting (complete absence of calorie-containing food for at least 5 days to several weeks), do not occur during intermittent fasting.
This is because the organism does not surround the mode of energy production as long as regular food arrives, even if it arrives at longer intervals as in intermittent fasting.
The body therefore continues to use its glycogen stores (stored carbohydrates) for energy. When these are used up, he starts burning fats. The burning of fat runs so leisurely, but sustainable and healthy.
In therapeutic fasting, on the other hand, after a few days, the body reverses its mode of energy production. With no more glucose coming in, it can no longer create glycogen stores and begins to break down body fats and proteins.
In these degradation processes, there is an intense release of metabolic products such as ketone bodies and purines. At the same time, stored slags and poisons dissolve.
All these substances are in the fasting increased in the blood, must now be further divided by the liver and excreted by the kidneys, which is an immense burden on the body, which can then be manifested as a so-called fasting crisis with all sorts of unpleasant symptoms.
Intermittent fasting: The consequences
Weight loss therefore lasts longer with intermittent fasting than with fasting, but – as explained above – it is sustainable and healthy.
Of course, there is no loss of weight, if on the dining days or during mealtimes huge amounts of unhealthy food are consumed and you do not have a more active lifestyle.
The intermittent fasting is certainly not a miracle diet, which can make tumble the kilos without additional measures, but rather as an additional highly interesting measure to evaluate, which fits perfectly into a healthy lifestyle and reinforces their successes.
Intermittent fasting regulates the blood sugar level
The beneficial effects of intermittent fasting on health are due to complicated biochemical processes.
The intermittent fasting first leads to the previously mentioned reduced blood sugar and insulin levels, which alone represents an indescribable health improvement.
Because a blood sugar level that has gotten out of hand can have so many negative consequences for the health that books could be filled with. Whether acne, cancer, hormonal imbalances, depression, chronic inflammation or whatever – in most cases, blood sugar fluctuations are involved in those enumerated problems.
Intermittent fasting lowers high blood pressure
In the course of intermittent fasting, in many cases too high a blood pressure levels off again.
High blood pressure together with excessively high blood sugar and insulin levels are among the most important risk factors for cardiovascular diseases and infarcts.
In experiments with rodents and other species carried out since the beginning of the 20th century, it was repeatedly confirmed that intermittent fasting leads to the improvement of all these values.
Uniform studies in humans have not been carried out to the same extent, but similar observations have been made in random studies of fasting people.
Intermittent fasting regulates cholesterol levels
Comparative studies are also used, which were made in fasting Muslims during the fasting month of Ramadan.
This is basically also a kind of intermittent fasting. One eats only after sunset, whereby the time of the food intake – here for religious reasons and less for health reasons – limited to only a few hours per day.
For example, reduced levels of potentially vascular-damaging LDL cholesterol and increased vascular HDL cholesterol levels were found in fasting.
This suggests that in addition to the above values (blood sugar and blood pressure), the blood lipid levels can be favorably influenced by intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting protects against diseases of the nervous system
Studies have also shown that intermittent fasting (ideally in conjunction with calorie restriction) can improve the health of the nervous system by favorably influencing basic metabolic and cellular signaling pathways.
Decreased blood sugar and insulin levels during fasting stimulate the production of protective proteins and antioxidant enzymes. They all help the cells to deal better with today’s ubiquitous oxidative stress.
Intermittent fasting also promotes the release of so-called neurotrophic factors. These are proteins that are released by mature nerve cells in the central nervous system. Its mission is to control the growth, differentiation and health of emerging neurons. Nerve cells that are sick or poorly performing are thus discarded by the neurotrophic factors.
Neurotrophic factors are responsible for the quality of our nerve cells. Without neurotrophic factors, adequate learning processes and repair processes in the nervous system are therefore impossible.
Intermittent fasting leads through all these mechanisms to the protection of the nervous system, to the protection of all cell membranes and to the protection of the DNA (genetic material).
As a result, the natural aging process is significantly slowed down and the risk of developing degenerative diseases of the nervous system, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, is reduced.
Try it out!
The intermittent fasting is well worth it. Try it! Start relaxed, with a 16-hour fasting period. Take your first meal at 10 am and your second meal at 5 pm.
Design your two meals according to the bases excess diet, eat slowly, chew thoroughly, consciously enjoy every moment, and drink only water or an aromatic alkaline herbal tea between meals.
Desire for fasting
And if you want to practice real fasting, this book will help you: The Complete Guide To Fasting. There you will read about the health effects of fasting on body and mind. You read about the fasting cure, learn what happens in the body during the fasting and get a guide to fasting.
With this type of fasting drink you drink – after one to three days of relief with a light diet – only water, some juice and vegetable broth. After the three to seven days of fasting cure you start with the days of building up and then go on to a healthy base excess diet.