The quality and types of food sources you consume will influence more than just how much you weigh. Food consumed has a direct effect on your metabolism, insulin production, leptin hormone release and a multitude of other hormonal and chemical reactions. Scientists are also now examining how fasting affects cellular functions and longevity. They have discovered that the cells in your body react to fasting in much the same way as they do to physical activity. In other words, when the body is placed under stress, whether it be exercise or fasting, the reaction produces changes at the cellular level that seem to extend an individuals lifespan.
First of all fasting reallocates the primary fuel source for the body from using glucose to using fat, and being a proficient fat burner will totally benefit your health way beyond just weight loss. Although much of the research conducted is mainly on fasting or intermittent fasting, the newer term is sometimes referred to as time restricted feeding (TRF) which actually promotes the abstaining of food for a narrow window of time, typically six to eight hours.
Proficient fat burning promotes good health
Fat is by far a cleaner burning fuel than carbohydrates, and produces far less free radicals. Glucose is an essentially dirty fuel source and it produces far more reactive oxygen species (ROS) than fat. But to proficiently burn fat, your cells must be normal and healthy. Cancerous cells, for example, will not burn fat, and this is why a healthy high fat diet appears to be such a successful anti cancer approach.
We are only now starting to realise that mitochondrial dysfunction is at the heart of practically all diseases, and nutritional involvement, not only what you eat, but also how often you eat, is of great significance. Just to summarise, mitochondria health is encouraged by consuming nutrient dense food sources, avoiding meals at least four hours before bedtime, and sporadically fasting.
What actually occurs when you fast?
Fasting is a biological stressor with numerous astonishing health benefits, including normalising the leptin and insulin sensitivity, supporting human growth hormone (HGH) fabrication, decreasing oxidative stress and reducing triglyceride levels. Studies from a team of researchers at the University of Southern California believe they have discovered another benefit being the regeneration of stem cells.
At about fourteen to sixteen hours of abstaining from consuming food, the body will burn through almost all of the carbohydrate (glycogen) stores from the liver and muscles. Once the glycogen stores have been depleted, the body reverts to fat stores for energy. Intermittent fasting teaches the body to effectively burn fat for fuel.
Intermittent fasting regenerates the immune system
The similar stem cells found in organs and tissues are used by the body to regenerate. The most important role of these cells is to maintain and repair any damaged tissue found. Another astonishing effect of fasting is autophagy, which is dealing with the destruction of faulty cells throughout the body. When this crucial process occurs within the mitochondria it is called mitophagy. This is when your body begins to consume itself in an orderly fashion to remove damaged cells from the body.
Although it seems like something you would want to avoid, this particular process is normal and healthy, and assists in the cleansing of the body. According to a reputable radiation oncologist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre, think of it as a recycling program for the body. Autophagy allows us to be more effective by removing faulty parts, stopping cancerous growths, and preventing metabolic dysfunction like diabetes and obesity.
The mitophagy process occurs at the cellular level where the membranes break down and the body recycles the healthy tissue and uses the rest for energy, or to produce new parts. This process may also be responsible for controlling the amount of inflammation within the body. During tests when scientists engineered rodents incapable of autophagy, they became fatigued, overweight with higher cholesterol levels and impaired brain function.
There are three ways to promote the body’s ability to recycle damaged cells and regenerate new ones. The first is physical exercise, which places stress on the body, tears down muscle, and assists the body to rebuild new tissue. A highly effective way to improve mitophagy is with intermittent fasting. Some studies even suggest that intermittent fasting can increase cognitive function and brain structure.
Yet another way to imitate mitophagy is to use a high fat diet consisting of mostly high quality healthy fats with a reasonable amount of high quality protein and minimal non fibre carbohydrates. The idea here is to decrease the carbohydrate intake to a level where the body has no other choice but to burn fat for a viable fuel source. Recent studies have discovered that this type of diet will assist the body in fighting cancer, lower the chances of contracting diabetes, prevent certain brain disorders, and even decrease seizure activity in adolescents by fifty percent.
Keep in mind that watching your protein intake is just as important as reducing non vegetable carbohydrates. If you consume more protein than what your body requires, you will prevent the activation of functions associated with stem cell and immune system regeneration.