11 Proven Benefits of Fasting (No. 1 is Our Favorite)
Intermittent Fasting is becoming one of the hottest trends in the fitness industry today and for good reason. There are numerous health benefits of fasting and reasons why it may work for you.
The only problem?
There is quite a negative stigma associated with “not eating.”
People are still stuck in the mindset that eating 6 meals a day strokes some magical “metabolic fire” and helps burn more calories.
It doesn’t (studies).
What you’re left with is an incredible resource with tons of health benefits you’re going to love.
The benefits below are for both types of fasting: intermittent fasting (up to 16 hours – usually while you’re sleeping and through breakfast) and the 24 hour-method (not eating for 24 hours at a time).
11 Proven Benefits of Fasting
Helps you lose weight
Most people who try intermittent fasting do so to lose weight.
The good news: Fasting is a great resource for shedding a few pounds.
Not only does it help you naturally eat fewer calories, but when compared to calorie restriction diets, intermittent fasting has proven to be more effective (study).
Enhances the body’s resistance to stress
Chronic stress has been associated:
- Heart Disease
- Premature Aging
- Poor Skin Quality
- And just about every major disease known to man.
The good news? Fasting can help!
Multiple studies have shown that using intermittent fasting helps to enhance the body’s resistance to harmful stress (study, study). It helps to fight free radicals by improving the body’s protective chemicals.
May help prevent cancer
A bold claim, right?
I thought so until I saw the evidence behind it. The best study so far behind this claim is the positive effects fasting has on those going through chemotherapy.
People who received 4 cycles of chemo used 48-hour fasting protocols to minimize side effects.
Shockingly enough, the only negative side effects reported were lightheadedness and hunger (study).
That’s not all.
Various animal studies have also shown positive effects including:
Improves brain function
The nerves and synapses in our brains are important to care for. The more efficient they are, the better.
Fasting has been shown to increase the growth of new nerve cells in the brain (study).
This will improve how your brain functions.
Well, it’s not just that. It also increases the production of the brain protein (BDNF). This protein protects against Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s (study)!
Improves your immune system
So, fewer colds and a stronger immune system! Sounds good right?
Not only does fasting improve health in the short-term, but the long-term as well…
Can fasting help you live longer? Basic studies in mice say so. Intermittent fasting in rats extends their natural lifespan (study).
In some cases, rats that fasted lived up to 83% longer than those that didn’t (study).
Although unproven in humans (we live for a long time to study), intermittent fasting is a good place to start if longevity is a goal.
Helps to clear skin and get rid of acne
Fasting helps the body remove waste, particularly with damaged and dysfunctional cells.
Significantly raises growth hormone levels
Growth hormone is a popular topic in the “sport science” culture. When professional athletes get caught using performance-enhancing drugs, growth hormone is usually on the list.
This is because it has so many benefits:
- Reduces recovery time from injuries
- Better lean muscle growth
- Greater fat burning
- And a smattering of other benefits
The crazy thing is: Intermittent fasting has been shown to raise growth hormone by up to 2000% (study)!
Helps the body maintain lean muscle tissue when dieting
Lean muscle tissue = More burned calories at rest.
The problem is that when losing weight, muscle tissue is often lost. Intermittent fasting causes less muscle lost than a typical calorie restriction diet (study).
More fat burning and less muscle burning!
Lowers the risk of deadly diseases
Heart disease and obesity are the big killers in modern culture.
Intermittent fasting helps with these too:
- Lowers blood pressure (study).
- Decreases cardiovascular disease risk (study).
- Improves cholesterol levels (study).
Which we think are good things…
Finally, a big problem in today’s culture is that we have become very insulin resistant. Thankfully fasting also helps with this…
Improves insulin sensitivity
By making the body more insulin sensitive, it gets better nutrient absorption from the foods you eat.
Particularly with carbohydrates.
Most of today’s society has become very insulin resistant without even knowing it. It is also a big reason I talk about doing a carbohydrate detox when trying to lose weight.
During a fast, insulin is reduced by 20-31% (study).
This is very beneficial to those who are looking to lose weight or who have pre-diabetes/diabetes. This also helps to facilitate better fat burning.
I use these fasting principles in our popular program, the 21-Day Fat Loss Challenge.
People lose an average of 10-21 pounds in 21 days and absolutely love it! But even better than the weight loss is the feedback we get from people about how the program has taught them how to change their eating habits and find a diet that truly works for them in the long-term.
We have over 1,000 people in our private support group going through the Challenge together, and every day they are sharing experiences, results, motivation, and lots of recipes!
If you are ready to make some changes in your life, this is the ONLY place you should start. We will teach you exactly how to make the necessary changes in your diet and your lifestyle and how to keep them “beyond the diet.”
Leave a comment below if you enjoyed this article on the proven benefits of fasting or have any questions!
Lauren at Avocadu
Latest posts by Lauren at Avocadu (see all)
- How Gut Bacteria Affects the Brain and the Body - February 20, 2017
- 10 Warning Signs You Have an Unhealthy Gut and What to do About It - January 10, 2017
- 10 Best Health and Fitness Blogs for a Healthy 2019 - December 20, 2016