Eating 5 or more meals a day is great for weight gain, but not so good for weight loss, and is not optimal for good health.
We already know that increased meal frequency does not increase the metabolism or decrease appetite. In fact eating more than 3 meals each day can often lead to increased calorie consumption over time, because people eventually get bored and tend to begin to ignore their meal portions, which results in overeating.
Conversely, we know that fasting tends to decrease your appetite once you get past that first 6 hour fasting window. We also know that intermittent fasting lowers insulin resistance and blood pressure, and promote lightening-fast weight loss. Knowing those facts, here are a couple more great reasons to switch to an Intermittent Fasting lifestyle, for good health and efficient fat loss.
First, The Study Results
To keep you interested, we’ll talk about the research results first, then we’ll look at the studies.
New studies on periodic fasting by the American College of Cardiology have determined:
- periodic intermittent fasting seems to reduce the risk of falling victim to type 2 diabetes by 50%
- intermittent fasting also decreases your risk of developing heart disease
- HDL cholesterol increases during an intermittent fast
- triglycerides decrease during an intermittent fast
- human growth hormone (HGH) levels increase during a fast, leading to weight loss and muscle gain
- HGH increases by a factor of 20 in men and a factor of 13 in women, on average
Lead researcher Benjamin Horne notes:
“Your body goes into self-protection mode to preserve the integrity of cells and tissue until food starts coming in again, so it uses fats instead of glucose for fuel.”
In an earlier study, the American College of Cardiology had also previous found that those who fast for at least one day each month, have a lower chance of developing coronary heart disease.
This study included 200 Mormon residents of Salt Lake City, Utah. If you didn’t know, most Mormons tend to fast for 24 hours at least once a month for religious reasons, making them perfect long-term candidates for this study.
For a couple of the studies, including those measuring the probability of developing cardiovascular disease, the study participants who were chose, were not regular intermittent fasters. This gave the researchers a better indication of the immediate positive effects of fasting on cardiovascular blood markers like cholesterol. These subjects did not eat or drink anything other than water for 24 hours.
While there were many positive finding made about the usefulness of intermittent fasting for good health, Horne still made the observation that:
“Fasting is not a quick fix, it’s a long-term lifestyle that you integrate into your normal life and do it for the duration.”
Who Should Not Fast
Intermittent fasting is great for nearly everyone, however precaution should be taken with people who have a significant medical contraindication. For example children should probably not fast, and if they do, they should be closely monitored by a physician. Pregnant or lactating women should also avoid fasting, as they pretty much need any and all nutrients they can get,
Learn more about Intermittent Fasting with the Project Swole 3-part series, starting with the Intermittent Fasting Primer