If you want to be slim and healthy, intermittent fasting is the right choice. In addition to uncomplicated weight loss, it has many positive effects on health: for example, arteriosclerosis can disappear and the liver recovers.
There are different variations of intermittent fasting. However, one thing is always in the foreground: Eating is only allowed in a certain time window. The 16:8 method is particularly popular. Eating is allowed in a time window of eight hours, followed by 16 hours without eating.
Fasting can change the metabolism in the body. On the one hand, this dissolves fat deposits in the right place. On the other hand, intermittent fasting eliminates the most important risk factors for serious diseases, and some diseases could even be almost cured by it.
However, this type of diet is still relatively new and apart from studies with a small number of participants or animal studies, large, valid studies are rather rare. However, some significant effects of intermittent fasting on health are already considered to be certain.
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The so-called visceral fat, which accumulates directly in the middle of the body, is particularly dangerous for health because, among other things, it produces hormones and inflammatory substances like an independent organ.
The risky accumulation of fat is already recognizable from the outside as a tight, so-called beer belly or pot belly. In contrast, the fat belly, which is mainly expressed in hanging bulges, is also cosmetically unattractive, but not quite as dangerous to health because the fat is deposited under the skin and does not affect any organs.
Intermittent fasting reduces visceral fat as effectively as a sustained calorie-restricted diet, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Intermittent fasting is also useful in connection with diabetes prevention. This is important for those who are already overweight and at risk for type 2 diabetes. However, this type of diet is particularly recommended for people with prediabetes. This early form means that the blood sugar levels are elevated, but have not yet reached the level typical of diabetes.
Insulin resistance is often already present. This means that the cells no longer open to the energy supplier insulin, insulin and sugar accumulate in the blood and damage the vessels.
This is exactly where intermittent fasting comes in. It can increase the insulin sensitivity of the cells again and the blood sugar is broken down more quickly, which studies indicate. The formation of new insulin-producing cells in the pancreas could also stimulate intermittent fasting.
Fat deposits in the liver increase the risk of diabetes, arteriosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. Alcohol is often the cause of fatty liver, but more and more often too much fat and sugar in the diet. Every fifth German suffers from non-alcoholic fatty liver. Intermittent fasting attacks the dangerous organ fat of the liver, because with this diet the body switches from carbohydrate to fat metabolism. Fat is broken down particularly quickly as a result.
At the same time, hardly any toxic intermediate products are deposited in the liver, as is otherwise the case with constant eating. In addition, fasting for hours or days causes the liver to produce a protein that slows down the absorption of fatty acids in the liver. This protein can also repair cell damage. It is therefore obvious that this also supports cell rejuvenation.
A US study conducted on mice suggests that intermittent fasting could have an anti-aging effect, especially when it comes to memory functions. Accordingly, age-related brain changes, such as motor coordination, learning and memory skills, are delayed. In addition, the oxidative stress of the cells, which is known to be associated with signs of aging and diseases, decreases.
Whether this effect also applies to humans has not yet been sufficiently proven.
The combination of risk factors
are called the metabolic syndrome. Almost every third person living in Germany is affected and therefore at high risk of developing arteriosclerosis and the associated diseases, from kidney and eye weakness to strokes and heart attacks.
Intermittent fasting is an effective method of preventing and reducing metabolic syndrome, thereby preventing arteriosclerosis, as various studies have shown.
Elevated blood lipid levels drop, blood pressure can normalize and excess weight is reduced. This improves the health of the blood vessels, improves the flow properties of the blood and reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Of particular interest, however, are indications that the intermittent diet could prevent cancer and even have a beneficial effect on the course of cancer that has already manifested itself. Michelle Harvie, a British nutritionist who developed the principle of 5:2 intermittent fasting, tested this diet with breast cancer patients, among others. The focus was on the connection between obesity and breast cancer.
The test subjects were only allowed to eat around 600 kilocalories on two consecutive days a week. After six months, most of the women had not only lost a significant amount of weight, their tumor markers had also decreased.
With intermittent fasting you can not only lose weight. Alternating between fasting and eating can help prevent and treat common diseases.
However, this diet is not suitable for everyone:
should consult their doctor first.