Intermittent fasting can help lower your risk of diabetes and heart disease, advise experts
01/22/2022 / By Joanne Washburn / Comments
Intermittent fasting can help lower your risk of diabetes and heart disease, advise experts

Want to lose weight for better health? Try intermittent fasting – more specifically, time-restricted eating.

That’s according to a recent study, which reported that restricting your eating to only 10 hours a day could result in weight loss and a reduction in risk factors for serious health issues, such as heart disease and diabetes.

Intermittent fasting can lower diabetes, heart disease risk

Intermittent fasting has gained traction in recent years, but studies on its health benefits and risks are mixed. For their study, the researchers wanted to see what intermittent fasting would do for people with metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome refers to a cluster of conditions that occur together, increasing your risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

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The study involved 19 participants who all had metabolic syndrome, most of whom were taking cholesterol-lowering drugs, blood pressure medications or both. At the start of the study, the average eating window for the participants was over 14 hours a day.

The participants took part in a 10-hour time-restricted eating plan for three months. During the trial, they only had 10 hours to eat every day. They did not skip breakfast and dinner, merely adjusting those meals to accommodate their eating schedule. When not eating, they were encouraged to drink water.

After the trial, they all lost fat and body weight. They also saw a drop in their blood pressure levels and low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol levels. Their blood sugar levels improved as well.

The researchers weren’t sure what it was about the time-restricted eating plan that was causing the notable health improvements, but they believe it could be the effect of the eating plan on metabolism.

Metabolism refers to the complex chemical processes our bodies use for normal functioning and sustaining life, including breaking down foods into energy and repairing cells. Metabolism is linked to your body’s internal circadian rhythms – physical, mental and behavioral changes that follow a 24-hour cycle.

Studies suggest that aligning food intake with the body’s circadian rhythm results in a “healthier” metabolism. If you have a healthy metabolism, your body is able to burn calories efficiently. This is one of the reasons why having a healthy metabolism is so important for people with metabolic syndrome, who tend to be overweight.

By burning calories efficiently, people with metabolic syndrome can maintain a healthy weight as well as healthier blood cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels. As a result, they can enjoy a decreased risk for heart disease and diabetes.

Timing is everything

In another recent study, researchers found that timing is everything when it comes to healthy eating.

They arrived at this conclusion after looking into the science behind intermittent fasting, especially time-restricted eating, and reviewed previous studies on the subject.

They found that restricting eating to fewer than 12 hours a day improved sleep and reduced the risk for obesity, liver disease and other serious conditions. They also found that it improved overall quality of life.

According to the researchers, people who are trying to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle should pay extra attention to when they eat, not just what they eat.

The researchers also pointed out that restricting eating to just a few hours each day is easier and less taxing for people than counting calories or consciously avoiding certain foods.

How does fasting work?

Most fad diets focus on what to eat or what not to eat, whereas intermittent fasting is about when you eat.

With intermittent fasting, you only eat within a certain period, or an eating window. Intermittent fasting works by prolonging the period when your body has burned through the calories consumed during your last meal and starts to burn fat instead of sugars, which your body naturally exhausts after hours without food.

Past studies have shown that fasting for several hours each day or eating only one meal a day helps your body burn fat. This can lead to other improvements in different aspects of your health and may ultimately decrease your risk of developing serious health problems associated with being overweight or obese.

There are many different ways to do intermittent fasting, such as:

  • 16/8 method – This method involves fasting for 16 hours and eating for the remaining eight hours. Within that eating window, you can eat up to three meals.
  • 5:2 diet – This involves eating what you typically eat five days of the week. But for the last two days, you’re supposed to restrict your calorie intake to 500-600 calories only.
  • Eat-stop-eat – This eating plan involves fasting for 24 hours once or twice each week. For example, you could fast from dinner one day to dinner the next day. That amounts to a full 24-hour fast. You can also fast from breakfast to breakfast or lunch to lunch – the result is the same. You can drink water, coffee and other zero-calorie beverages during the fast.

Intermittent fasting has grown in popularity recently as a way to lose weight or keep it off, lower the risk of developing health problems and boost longevity. But there are lots of different ways to do it, depending on your goals or lifestyle. Just remember to consult a healthcare professional before trying a new eating plan.

Sources:

NaturalHealth365.com

PhillyVoice.com

Healthline.com

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