Intermittent Fasting Is Not a Diet – It's a Lifestyle

While most people would think that intermittent fasting is a fairly new approach to healthy living, this type of lifestyle has actually been practiced even during the early times. For example, our hunter-gatherer ancestors rarely had access to food 24/7 – this may mean that our genes are likely optimized to consume sporadic, intermittent meals as opposed to regular cycles of feasting. During the 1940s, the benefits of intermittent fasting have also been widely appreciated. There are also religious sects that consider fasting a tradition, even until today.
In my opinion, intermittent fasting is very different from fad diets that are widespread today. It's actually a lifestyle shift – it allows you to live and eat well, but without making you feel as if you are sacrificing too much.
There are three major mechanisms by which fasting benefits your body:
  • It increases your mitochondrial energy efficiency and insulin sensitivity. This helps retards aging and disease, which are both associated with loss of insulin sensitivity and declined mitochondrial energy
  • It reduces oxidative stress. The decreased accumulation of oxidative radicals in your cells helps ward off oxidative damage to lipids, cellular proteins, and nucleic acids
  • Increased resistance to stress, disease, and aging. It induces a cellular stress response that upregulates the expression of genes, helping increase your capacity to cope with stress and resist disease and aging
Aside from these benefits and the apparent weight loss, one of the most wonderful effects of intermittent fasting is its ability to eliminate your hunger and sugar cravings. You lose the desire to eat unhealthy processed foods – a definite advantage that will help you achieve your health and fitness goals.
Another boon of intermittent fasting that I would like to stress on: you're not going to starve yourself. You don't even have to restrict the amount of food you eat. However, please note that you have to be careful in choosing healthy foods. Avoid or minimize your intake of carbs and replace them instead with healthy fats like olive oil, olives, eggs, butter, coconut oil, avocados, and nuts.
It may take a few weeks for your body to shift to fat-burning mode, but once you become "fat adapted," your body will be able to burn your stored fat and you will not need to rely on new carbs for fuel.

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