Despite its newfound popularity, fasting has had a significant role in many cultures and religions throughout history. Fasting is defined as abstinence from all or some food or drink for a set period of time. While more traditional forms of fasting might last anywhere from 24 to 72 hours, intermittent fasting involves cycling between periods of eating and fasting for a few hours or a couple of days of very limited caloric intake. This form of fasting has seen a recent surge in popularity due to its various health benefits.
Fasting gives your body time to detox and forces cells to adjust to a loss of energy. When undergoing short-term fasting, your body doesn't have its customary access to glucose, so your cells find other ways to produce energy by kick-starting gluconeogenesis. This metabolic process allows the liver to convert non-carbohydrates in the body—like amino acids and fats—into glucose.
Intermittent fasting works by placing mild stress on your body's metabolism, giving cells the opportunity to strengthen and improve their ability to cope. Ketosis is another process that happens later during a fasting cycle. During ketosis, your body begins to burn excess fat as a primary energy source.
Health Benefits of Fasting
Through animal research, scientists have studied how fasting works in the human body. Their studies have identified a few compelling health benefits of intermittent fasting:
- Fighting inflammation
- Enhancing overall heart health by improving blood pressure
- Boosting cognitive function
- Supporting weight loss
- Protecting the body from chronic illnesses such as diabetes and obesity
Who Can Participate in Intermittent Fasting?
While many attempt intermittent fasting as a diet or weight-loss method, others may benefit from this process to manage chronic conditions. You should consult your healthcare provider before adopting intermittent fasting since it may not be safe for everyone. Individuals who are under the age of 18, pregnant or breastfeeding, or have diabetes or other blood sugar issues should look for different methods for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Turn your passion for health into a career by pursuing a bachelor's degree in health and wellness with Tulane School of Professional Advancement. If you're currently in the field and ready to enhance your career, we offer an online MPS in Health and Wellness Management. Learn more about our health and wellness degree programs by requesting information today.