When you think of the word “diet,” does it make you groan a little? If so, you’re probably thinking about impossible weight loss fads that offer a way to lose weight quickly, but not sustainably.
Though often considered a “diet,” intermittent fasting (IF) truly deserves its own category. At KOR, we like to think of IF as less of a diet and more of an “eating pattern.” Why? Because intermittent fasting allows you to enjoy all the foods you love while offering so many more health benefits than traditional crash diets.
Curious about the health benefits of intermittent fasting beyond weight loss? We reached out to the experts for why they love this eating pattern so much.
Can help to lower your risk of type 2 diabetes
High blood sugar levels, in the context of insulin resistance, is the main feature of type 2 diabetes and has become a very common diagnosis in recent decades.
Intermittent fasting has been shown to have considerable benefits in terms of warding off insulin resistance and can lead to a reduction in blood sugar levels, which can protect against type 2 diabetes.
In fact, a study on intermittent fasting showed that fasting blood sugar was reduced by 3-6% over the course of 8-12 weeks in people with prediabetes.
Rohan Arora, Founder and CEO, GainingTactics.com
May protect against Alzheimer’s
Outside of weight loss and the beneficial changes to blood lipids, heart health, and metabolism that go with it, intermittent fasting has shown a protective effect against Alzheimer's.
Alzheimer's is a progressive loss of memory and cognitive function that currently affects over six million Americans and is the cause of death for one in three seniors. There are currently no effective treatments.
Intermittent fasting has been shown to prolong the health span of the nervous system. By changing the way brain cells metabolize free radicals and respond to cellular stress, intermittent fasting helps to protect neurons through the process of aging.
A mouse study of Alzheimer's published in the journal Neurobiology of Disease showed that mice with a genetic form of Alzheimer's who engaged in intermittent fasting retained more curiosity and performed better in goal-oriented and survival-based behavior at advanced ages. Human testing on a large scale is still in the early phases but looks promising in an area with very few hopeful prevention strategies.
Given the ease of incorporating intermittent fasting into your routine long-term, the protection against one of the most terrifying diseases of aging seems near-miraculous. When you add that on top of the beneficial effects regarding heart disease, diabetes, and the potential for increasing your lifespan, there are too many great possibilities to ignore.
Amy Neuzil, ND, Naturopathic Doctor, To Health With That!
Linked to research regarding gut health and gut microbiota
According to a 2017 review, intermittent fasting can affect the gut microbiota. Studies suggest the cyclical changes in the gut microbiome from intermittent fasting contribute to increasing the diversity of gut microflora. Having a diverse gut bacteria is considered beneficial and desirable for digestive health and overall wellness.
Holly Klamer, MS, RDN, My Crohn's and Colitis Team
Shows promise for delaying the aging process
Intermittent fasting produces an anti-aging effect in the body that can help you live longer and look younger. Studies have shown that it can improve the biomarkers of health, both mentally and physically.
Intermittent fasting fights aging by keeping your cells and DNA healthy. It promotes autophagy in the body that literally causes your body to clean out damaged cells. These damaged cells can cause you to age faster and can even lead to serious health problems. As your body clears away the damaged cells, it can produce newer and healthier cells.
Hormonal improvements from intermittent fasting will also contribute to slowing the aging process. Studies have shown that intermittent fasting has a significant effect on lowering insulin and blood sugar levels. Inflammation levels also go down with fasting, which will contribute to fighting aging.
Josh Schlottman, Fitness Coach
Can boost athletic performance
Intermittent fasting can be helpful for athletes. This can also be referred to as fasted cardio. This takes place when the digestive system is void of food, which typically takes between six and eight hours to accomplish.
This makes the ideal fasting period, for those who subscribe to this form of exercise, to be around six or eight hours prior to exercise. For most people, this means hitting the gym on an empty stomach first thing in the morning, after a full night's sleep.
This is the part where you’re probably asking yourself, “Is working out on an empty stomach really a good idea?”
It can be! When you exercise fasted, your body burns more fat, because it is void of glycogen and carb stores to use for energy. Granted, at this point, studies are showing minimal difference between exercise in a fasted versus fed state. However, many note that their exercise performance and quality is improved when fasting. This could be a benefit for athleticism as the body is being pushed harder and potentially for longer periods.
Lisa Richards, Nutritionist, The Candida Diet
If any or all of these benefits speak to you, you may want to speak to your health care provider about giving intermittent fasting a try. You can always supplement your IF diet with KOR shots to boost your energy throughout the day.
Our favorite shots to pair with intermittent fasting include:
- Wellness: dropped into a glass of coconut water for an electrolyte boost
- Green Up: for amino acid-rich wheatgrass
- Gut Check: because a happy gut means a more energized YOU
- Focus Fuel: for a caffeine-free pick-me-up
- Intense Defense: for squeezing in important nutrients, like Vitamin D and Zinc
Make your diet work for you with KOR!