While health goals vary between individuals, one of the most common goals is weight loss. Whether these weight loss goals are for health reasons or simply to achieve changes in physical appearance, it’s important that any dieting you do is going to benefit your wellbeing in the long term. Unfortunately, many forms of dieting are designed to deliver short-term results with no consideration for sustainability or even meeting your body’s basic nutritional needs. Managing Director of Activated Nutrients, Blair Norfolk shares the hacks and facts of intermittent fasting.
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To illustrate this, we’re going to focus on one of the latest and most popular dieting trends, intermittent fasting. As with any trend, there’s plenty of hype around intermittent fasting, making it hard for people to get to the bottom of what it’s about, if there are proven benefits and if so, what those benefits are. Today, we’re cutting through the clutter to take a look at intermittent fasting from a scientific standpoint.
As a nutritional supplement brand, we always speak from a holistic standpoint when it comes to fasting and wellness. It’s human nature to look for a quick fix when it comes to our health, wellness and physical appearance. However, we can’t stress enough the importance of carefully monitoring what you do put into your body (micronutrients, minerals and co-factors like digestive enzymes) rather than focusing on what you don’t put into your body while fasting or doing a detox.
Fasting does have benefits – research proves it. But those benefits may not be as straightforward or lasting as managing weight through a healthy wholefood diet. Fasting, or restricting caloric intake over an extended period of hours, days or even weeks, can have a major biochemical effect on the body. This process is called ketosis and when your body is in ketosis, insulin and insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) levels go down because your body has used up all the glucose in your blood. Essentially, your body goes into survival mode, tapping into fat stores for energy.
According to University of Southern California’s Dr. Valter Longo, “When you have low insulin and low IGF-1, the body goes into a state of maintenance, a state of standby. There is not a lot of push for cells to grow, and in general the cells enter a protected mode.”₂
During ketosis, or “survival mode”, the body does two things. As we mentioned above, it burns fat instead of carbohydrates, which can help you lose unwanted body fat. Second, the body begins to heal itself as a primary function. While we’re all for meeting goals, point two is particularly exciting because the process of the body healing itself is fantastic for long-term wellness.
Another study undertaken at Bethel University₁ looked at the effects of “induced dietary ketosis” and found that, “The change over time from week 0 to week 10 was significant in the ketogenic group for weight, body fat percentage, BMI, HgA1c [glucose concentration in the blood] and ketones.” Those results are promising because all of those factors are crucial for long-term health.
When it comes to options for intermittent fasting, there are many ways to undertake this type of diet, varying from accessible to extreme. We’ll go through three of the most common formats.
First, the 5:2. This form of intermittent fasting was made famous by a BBC documentary called Eat, Fast and Live Longer; it involves two days with calorie restrictions (only consuming 500kcal/day) each week. This is considered a long-term fast, designed to be sustainable. A more aggressive version of the 5:2 diet is Alternate Day Fasting, which entails restricted calorie intake (500kcal/day) every other day; it’s far more extreme and is generally considered to be a less sustainable approach. Lastly, Time-Restricted Feeding. This method involves consuming all food for the day within a small window of 6-8 hours and fasting outside of those hours.
At Activated Nutrients, we look at health holistically. There are many contributing factors to health and vitality and we look at those factors as a whole rather than focusing on parts of the equation. We call this approach the Elements of Vitality and there are four pillars to this holistic approach:
Rest (quantity and quality of sleep)
Hydration (drink enough water)
Nutrition (balanced wholefood-based diet)
Movement (exercise and activity)
Considering all these elements in your daily life is the fastest and most sustainable approach to wellness and vitality.
We want to remind you that before undertaking a fasting diet, you should get medical advice. And if you do decide to give intermittent fasting a go, remember to supplement with micronutrients and co-nutrients; you’ll be cutting out many macronutrients as part of the fast, but your body can utilise the micro and co-nutrients to optimise healing and physiological processes. Again, speak to your doctor, but this may be achieved with a natural multivitamin supplant such as Daily Superfood by Activated Nutrients.
And lastly, make sure any diet you do is right for you. Every body functions differently and if a diet is hindering your work, social life or happiness, it may not be the perfect fit.
– NY Times
– Gibas MK1, Gibas KJ2. Diabetes Metab Syndr. 2017 Mar 28. pii: S1871-4021(16)30313-7. doi: 10.1016/j.dsx.2017.03.022.