A great deal of research has been conducted which has sought to investigate the potential health benefits associated with fasting.
Previously, researchers have concluded that fasting, or intermittent fasting, could be the key to longevity and help to fuel improvement for a variety of illness an disorder.
A review article was recently published at the end of Dec, in The New England Journal of Medicine, which further supports the notion that fasting, or intermittent fasting more specifically, can help to potentially fuel great health benefits for the individual.
The researcher behind the recent article is a Johns Hopkins Medicine neuroscientist, M. Mattson, who has been studying intermittent fasting, IMF, for more than 20 years now. He himself has also been following IMF for more than a decade. Ultimately, he hopes that his new review article will help to shed some light and clarification on the science behind IMF, the clinical applications associated, and prompt a discussion about the different ways that doctors might guide their patients to try IMF if they are interested.
Mattson says that those doing IMF generally fall into 2 different categories, the daily time restricted group which narrows their eating window to roughly 6-8 hours per day, and the 5:2 group which eats one moderate sized meal 2 days per week. But there are other variations on intermittent fasting or interval eating as it has also been referred to as.
For many individuals today it is very difficult to change your diet completely and to start following an entirely new, healthier lifestyle. Most might try it for a few days or weeks, maybe months, but eventually people tend to fall back into old habits and prefer a quick fix to the problem.
The potential benefits associated with IMF are undeniable and fasting is a practice which various cultures and groups have been practicing for thousands of years for a myriad of reasons. A great deal of doctors today might not want to discuss the idea of IMF or fasting, it's common for people to fear monger over the idea of fasting, but there is more to it than simply assuming it has nothing more to offer than a slow death via starvation. Fasting isn't the inability to find food to eat, but rather the mindful eating approach to restricted consumption, it is an effort in self control and one that is very difficult to strengthen. Denying those cravings.
Researchers have suggested that alternating between resting and eating times, rather than eating small meals and snacks all day long, can potentially help to boost cellular health.
It is so common for people to be eating all day every day though, that for many people they don't experience enough of that rest time and they don't give their body that time to switch, suggests Mattson.
More and more, the scientific community has been embracing the IMF message.
"We are at a transition point where we could soon consider adding information about intermittent fasting to medical school curricula alongside standard advice about healthy diets and exercise," - Mattson.
There is still work to do though, as Mattson points out many researchers still do not understand the specific mechanisms associated with that metabolic switching
Fasting Is Hard
"[being] hungry and irritable is common initially and usually passes after two weeks to a month as the body and brain become accustomed to the new habit," - Mattson
And aside from the potential health benefits that come along, think about the other benefits associated with decreased eating such as less money spent on groceries, less of a mess from having to cook and clean up after the meal, less time spent waiting in line for food or for a delivery to show up, all of these reasons might help IMF to appeal to more individuals and could be why many try harder to stick to incorporating intermittent fasting into their healthy lifestyle.
To try and deal with the initial difficulty with fasting, Mattson has some tips, including the suggestion that those looking to follow IMF should gradually increase the duration and frequency of their own fasting periods. That they should seek to do this over several months rather than quickly rushing into it cold turkey.
This new review article adds to the body of research on IMF and Mattson admits that it is critical to the discussion because the science behind IMF is important for physicians to understand so that they can communicate potential any benefits, harms or challenges to their patients, to be able to offer better support and understanding.
The information that is posted above is not intended to be used as any substitute for professional medical advice, or diagnosis or treatment. The above is posted for informational purposes only.