There are a number of benefits to fasting and reasons to apply it into your life. You may not experience all of these benefits the first time you fast. Fasting is like exercise, there is an adaptation that must take place before you really feel good.
I call this process, building your fasting muscle, because overtime you get stronger and more resilient to periods without food.
Typically, this will be 1-2 weeks of intermittent fasting before your body resets and your hunger hormones reduce and you adapt to your new eating schedule.
If you are trying out an extended fast beyond a day, the first time is usually the hardest and it typically gets easier with each successive fast unless you are under a lot stress.
Here is a short summary of the Top 12 Benefits of Fasting.
Stimulates Fat Burning: When you fast, your body needs to find an alternative fuel and it will first begin by burning up stored sugar called glycogen. As our glycogen stores go down, our body will begin burning fat for fuel and producing ketones.
Improved Energy Levels: When the body uses ketones for fuel and increases norepinephrine in response to the fast, you will notice more energy and mental clarity. This is all due to improved metabolic flexibility and energy efficiency.
Reduces Inflammation: Fasting has been shown in numerous studies to reduce the activity of inflammatory inducing gene pathways in the body and the number of inflammatory cytokines produced in the body.
Takes Stress Off of the Digestive System: Digestion is a very stressful and energy demanding process that our body must undergo whenever we eat.
By fasting, we take stress off of the gut and allow it to heal and repair itself. Fasting and liquid nutrition are key strategies to help heal intestinal permeability, otherwise called leaky gut syndrome.
Additionally, when we fast we are able to divert the energy that would normally go into digesting our meal towards healing and repairing the immune system, our joint tissue, brain cells and other regions of the body.
Stimulates Cellular Autophagy: Autophagy is part of the innate immune system, where the body breaks down old, damaged parts of cells and abnormally developing cells to recycle for energy. It then will use these raw materials to build new and healthier cells or to repair damaged organelles within the cells.
Improves Genetic Repair Mechanisms: Research has shown that
cells have a greater lifespan during times of famine and food scarcity. Fasting enhances cellular rejuvenation by acting on certain genetic repair mechanisms. We use less energy to repair a cell than to divide and create new cells. The main hormone responsible for this improved repair mechanism is human growth hormone (HGH), which goes up significantly as the length of the fast increases.
Stimulation of Stem Cells: Fasting has been shown to increase stem cell activity, giving our body very youthful cells that can provide a wide variety of benefits. Many people inject stem cells to help repair damaged joints. Fasting is a way to internally stimulate these stem cells to repair damaged areas of our body.
Improves Insulin Sensitivity: Insulin is a hormone that is responsible for putting sugar into cells and stimulating glycolysis and lipogenesis. These terms mean burning sugar for fuel and increasing fat storage.
In addition, high insulin levels from frequent feeding and high carbohydrate foods, stimulate inflammatory gene pathways. Fasting improves the use of insulin, so we need less of it when we consume food and therefore, we have less fat storage and inflammation.
Reduces Chronic Disease Risk: All chronic diseases are diseases that are characterized by chronic inflammation. Fasting is the most powerful nutritional strategy to reduce inflammation in the body.
When we reduce inflammatory levels, we influence our genes to express better health for all the systems, tissues and cells of the body. In so doing, we greatly reduce our risk of chronic disease and improve the condition of someone who is already dealing with a chronic disease.
Improved Relationship with Food: Most of us have caught ourselves eating mindlessly and have struggled with sugar, carb, dairy and other cravings. Fasting helps us to realize that these cravings are mental and emotional and can be overcome. Fasting also helps us to be more grateful and present with the food we do consume.
Improved Mental Health: As ketones elevate in the body, most people experience improved mood, mental clarity and creativity. Many people observe that they feel the most productive at the peak of their intermittent fast or after 3-4 days of extended fasting.
Improved Spiritual Health and Intuition:
Fasting has also been used throughout history as a way to elevate consciousness and experience a deeper relationship with our creator.
Additionally, fasting can help us tune out emotional urges and tune into our intuition which helps us make better decisions in life.